American Judges Association


Date of this Version

December 2006


Published in Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association, 42:3-4 (2006), pp. 16-20. Copyright © 2006 National Center for State Courts. Used by permission. Online at


Today, myriad approaches for selecting judges exist and few states—if any at all—use identical schemes. In many states, the selection methods vary depending on whether the judge is a trial or appellate judge, or an initial selection or an incumbent. As will be seen, the vast majority of state judges are elected. Recently, judicial campaigns have become increasingly controversial while traditional restraints have fallen to the wayside. This article will address the variety of election methods, the challenges that recent constitutional decisions have presented to the ABA Code of Judicial Conduct, and whether innovations, such as public financing, offer a solution.

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