We discussed the extremely funny John Oliver in class for a little bit this past week, and coincidentally he did a segment recently covering the elections of state and local level judges. He explains that many states allow their entire electorate to vote for judges on state level courts, and goes on to highlight the serious economic and ethical costs that arise because of these elections. Hilarity of course ensues, but he brings up serious points on the merits of appointing judges versus the merits of electing judges, and the serious concerns of money and interest groups in judicial campaigns.
So what is the best way to select judges? Should we elect them, and make the process as democratic as possible? Or should we consistently use the Supreme Court method wherein a Governor appoints a judge and the state legislatures confirm them? Or is there a better alternative that we have yet to consider? Whatever the best option is, John Oliver opened my eyes to a problem in our states’ judicial systems, and I hope this can begin a serious debate on how to better select judges to these extremely significant, powerful, and serious positions.