Free «The Problem of Electing Judges in Partisan Elections» Essay
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In Texas, the election is conducted through partisan election which implies that judges can run for office as democrats or republicans. The process is similar to those members of the legislature go through. The election of judges in a partisan way is an inappropriate way of choosing judges because such a system makes them less independent. In fact, such a system is coupled with inherent drawbacks that question its credibility.
Problems of Electing Judges in Partisan Elections
The dynamics of partisan elections compels judges to make promises that will lure the voters to vote for them. This is inappropriate because the former ought to make decisions that are in accordance with the law as opposed to the voters’ sentiments (Tarr, 2013). Conforming to such a protocol in the selection of judges is unprofessional because they will be selected based on their ability to appeal to the public. However, it is unfair because election of judges should take place by adhering to a protocol that considers legal proficiency. Partisan elections are more costly than non-partisan ones because of the financial resources that aspirants spend on campaigns (Baum, 2011). The system is also unfair because the voters will have to rely on promises and manifestos that candidates put forth.
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This is opposed to non-partisan elections where aspirants do not have to campaign while voters rely on their independent research on the credibility of every candidate. Additionally, this raises a concern on lack of knowledge on part of the voters because they rely on campaign promises of the candidates (Jillson, 2011). In fact, it is the lack of knowledge that may compel some voters to select judges based on their names or party affiliations. Similarly, judges take advantage of this by mentioning what voters want to hear in the quest of winning their votes (Tarr, 2013).
Another aspect is that judges will have to run for re-elections which needs money. Therefore, some of them will be compelled to solicit donations from various sources which makes them less independent. Soliciting contributions can undermine impartiality and judicial independence. In fact, partisan elections might lead to more campaign contributions which increase partisanship among judges. This explains why most states have been recently digressing from partisan judicial elections. The judges chosen as a result of partisan elections tend to be corrupt and incompetent because they embrace unfair practices that entice the public. Eventually, the judicial arena loses credence because aspirants now have to focus on their political aspects as opposed to the legal professionalism. In fact, judges understand that only voters can keep them in office. This is also inappropriate because the process of judicial elections should be controlled by politically active lawyers and not voters. Such a perception gives judges the impression of laying emphasis on their portfolio in respect to voters and not their portfolio in respect to their legal principles.
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Partisan election is also coupled with a lack of minority representation on the bench. This is because only few individuals will be granted the prerogative of sitting in the bench. Female representation will also be low (Jillson, 2011). Partisan election will be inappropriate because low representation of minorities will reduce the quality of justice as well as the legal understanding of their implications.
Partisan politics should not be considered in judicial elections because judges should be true to the law and not campaign contributors or political parties. The system also forces judges to act as politicians and solicit political contributions. Partisanship does not belong to the judiciary and the selection of judges should be based on other merits. Such election process is imperfect and produces bad results.