Partisan elections — Is there a worse way to select judges? That’s the question Judge Vowell of Birmingham asks in a recent article.
Alabama’s partisan judicial elections have been among the costliest in the United States. Does anyone really believe that the influence of money and partisan politics in elections has no impact on our judicial system? In a prior post, I discussed the shadow that big money casts over our judicial system. In another series of prior posts, I discussed the recent saga in Huntsville where a political party basically selected a judge for us through a series of closed meetings.
Judge Vowell also raises an additional problem created by partisan elections. As he noted, many good judges lost in our most recent election simply because of the party designation next to their name on the ballot. This is not the best way to select a judge. We should be focused on choosing the best judges possible. This choice should involve a consideration of the person’s legal skill, ethics, and temperament. The choice should not simply be a vote for the candidate with the right party designation at the right time and in the right place.