Appointed or Elected: How Justices on Elected State Supreme Courts Are Actually Selected
36 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2022
Date Written: June 27, 2022
During at least part of the post–World War II period, the constitutions of thirty-six states called for the popular election of the judges of the states’ highest courts. In practice, only slightly more than half of those judges (excluding strictly interim appointees) initially obtained their positions by election. This article examines the likelihood of initial election in actual practice, how it has varied over time, and various factors that might be related to election versus appointment (e.g., type of election, mandatory retirement). It concludes that state norms play a substantial role in determining patterns of actual selection.
Keywords: judges, judicial selection
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