Monday, March 14, 2005

selecting judges

What you think of how Illinois selects judges?

The Rockford Register Star has an editorial urging Blagojevich to veto a bill creating judicial sub-circuits, ostensibly to increase the number of Blak and Latino judges.

I don't like electing judges. It makes it too easy for organized crime to cut deals with political bosses to get judges on the bench that are sympathetic to criminal organizations. And, more importantly, it allows a number of dufuses on the bench.

The argument I hear from liberals usually centers around elections getting woman and "people of color" elected. But when you get into the specifics, the women and "people of color" elected have something in common with the "White" guys elected. They're mostly political hacks, not people of encyclopedic legal knowledge or the wisdom and temperment of Solomon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, but who gets to decide who has the wisdom of Solomon? An Ivy Leaguer's classmate? I've practiced law against the bluebloods, and they are not any smarter than a local law school grad - they just had better connections or more money to get into the better schools. Don't fall for the "merit" selection argument. It's just exchanging judge selection from mob rule for an oligarchy.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

I would create selection committees that were broad-based and drew members from a variety of sources.

I would create a number of functional constituencies. For example, "religious institutions", "community organizations", "criminal defendents", "traffic court defendents", "academics, non-legal", "unions", etc. Each of these functional constituencies would submit names. Then a some names would be pulled at random and they would organize themselves into hiring committees. They would review applications, interview candidates and check references. I would be fine with creating quotas for the judiciary to reflect the county as a whole.

This system is not elitist, but it's well-insulated against any interest group sneaking its lawyers onto the bench.

8:21 AM  

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