Thursday, May 13, 2010

Elected judges not "more biased or incompetent than their appointed counterparts"

That's the position taken by Eric Posner, the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, in the May 17 issue of Newsweek.

Professor Posner writes that ongoing research, in which he and colleagues from Duke and New York Universities are engaged, supports this conclusion. Elected state court judges, says Posner, are more productive than their appointed brothers and sisters (as measured by the numbers of opinions produced), "nearly as professionally respected (as measured by citations per opinion), and no less independent (as measured by their willingness to disagree with judges in their own party)."

Posner's bottom line: "[A]s long as judges, like politicians, have the power to shape law through their decisions and interpretations, they must be accountable to their communities."

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