American Judges Association


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Published in Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association, 43:2. Copyright © 2007-2008 National Center for State Courts. Used by permission.


The subject of the selection of state court judges has many aspects, including the choice of the selection system, the design of the selection system, the comparison of alternative modes of selection, and the effect of the system on judicial performance or decision making, including “judicial independence.” This article addresses many of these aspects and takes as its starting point a unique symposium of articles published in a special issue of the Fordham Urban Law Journal in the Spring of 2007, preceded in time by a daylong symposium with the authors held at Fordham Law School on April 7, 2006.1 The symposium investigated judicial selection systems by appointment and asked if a well-designed appointment system is the best way to select judges, what should that system look like? As the organizer of the symposium, as well as both a participant and an observer, I will synthesize many of its themes. To provide context to the discussion, the article will also elaborate on some of the problems associated with judicial elections, the principal alternative mode of judicial selection.

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