'Law is the Mere Continuation of Politics by Different Means': American Judicial Selection in the Twenty-First Century

79 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2006 Last revised: 23 Dec 2008

Herbert M. Kritzer

University of Minnesota Law School

Abstract

This paper examines changing patterns in the politics of judicial selection in the United States. Central to the discussion is that judicial selection in the U.S. has always had a strong political element. Recent changes in the politics of judicial selection reflect a shift from the politics of patronage to the politics of policy. Part of the analysis updates research on the relationship between partisanship and voting in judicial elections. Partisanship has always been strong in states using partisan systems, and that has not changed. Some states that use nonpartisan elections have seen an increase in the partisanship of voting patterns while other states have not seen such an increase. The two states using a mixed partisan (nomination)/nonpartisan (election) system have seen an increase in partisanship, particularly in the post-1990s period. The paper concludes with a discussion of alternative selection systems but emphasizes that no system would eliminate politics, only shift the nature of the politics.

Keywords: judicial selection, judicial elections

Suggested Citation

Kritzer, Herbert M., 'Law is the Mere Continuation of Politics by Different Means': American Judicial Selection in the Twenty-First Century. DePaul Law Review, March 2007; Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1032; William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 71. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=949946

Herbert M. Kritzer (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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