How Do Appointed Judges Compare To Elected Ones?

November 2, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

In the United States judges can either be appointed by an elected official, or directly elected by the voters themselves. Brian Palmer looked at how the different types of judges compare:

  • Appointed judges make fewer rulings. This might be because they don’t have to justify their tenure to voters by pointing to the number of rulings they have made.
    • America’s Supreme Court – which is entirely appointed – is indicative of the trend. In the past 30 years the number of cases they’ve made rulings on has shrunk by 50%.
  • While the number of rulings might be lower, appointed judges produce higher quality rulings. Their rulings are more likely to be cited by others.
  • Some studies suggest that elected judges are more partisan – although other studies disagree. Even if they are though, this is not necessarily a bad thing since the judiciary shouldn’t be entirely independent of its constituency.

Read more of Palmer’s fascinating musings about the merits of elected versus appointed justices over here.

Source: Slate