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Argument: Elected judges are effectively forced to join political parties

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Supporting quotations

Dirk Olin. "Judicial Selection: Does Any Method Work?". Judiciary Reports. April 9th, 2008: "Electing judges puts enormous control into the hands of a few party leaders, who (by definition) are unmitigated whores. The political process of becoming a party nominee reflects the worst of all worlds, internal favoritism by paying off political debts or favors with a judicial nomination without regard to merit, or even basic competence. Licking envelopes for a party boss is not a primary qualification for being a judge. It is, however, for being a judicial nominee."


"Judicial Elections Still Fair and Balanced?". Carnegie Reporter. Spring 2006: "Political parties in many states have long been involved in selecting judges, either appointed or elected. “When I started practicing law in Chicago [in 1952],” recalled Abner Mikva, longtime Congressman and federal appellate judge, “it was a patronage operation. [Y]ou became a judge by kowtowing to the powers that be. It was not at all unusual for police captains to call a judge and tell him how to rule in a case.”

Even though most judicial elections are nonpartisan, parties are often involved in providing contributions, organizational resources, and public visibility. For example, when the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 overturned state laws that forbade candidates from voicing their positions on issues that could come before them, it was a party that filed the challenge (Republican Party of Minnesota v. White).

By freeing candidates and supporters to comment on issues and to criticize their rivals, the White decision helped open the floodgates to increasing amounts of special interest money from such sources as trial lawyers, labor unions and businesses."

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