The Collision of Courts, Politics, and the Media

Bench Press, Forthcoming

27 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2007

See all articles by Keith J. Bybee

Keith J. Bybee

Syracuse University - College of Law; Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs


Federal court confirmations in the United States have become openly political affairs, with partisans lining up to support their preferred candidates. Matters in the states are not much different, with once sleepy judicial elections changing into ever more contentious political slugfests, replete with single-issue interest groups and negative campaign advertising. Once on the bench, judges at every level find themselves dogged by charges of politically motivated decisionmaking. In Bench Press, a first-of-its-kind collection of essays, figures from the academy, the bench, and the press reflect on the state of the American judiciary. Using the results of a specially commissioned public opinion poll as a starting point, the contributors examine the complex mix of legal principle, political maneuvering, and press coverage that swirl around judicial selection and judicial decisionmaking today. Essays examine the rise of explicitly political state judicial elections; the merits of judicial appointments; the rhetoric of federal judicial confirmation hearings; the quality of legal reporting; the portrayal of courts on the Internet; the inevitable tensions between judges and journalists; and the importance of regulating judicial appearances. The Two Faces of Judicial Power is the introduction to Bench Press. It assesses popular conceptions of the courts and provides an overview of essays in the volume.

Keywords: Judicial Independence, Judicial Elections, Politics, Media, Public Opinion

Suggested Citation

Bybee, Keith James, The Collision of Courts, Politics, and the Media. Bench Press, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Keith James Bybee (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - College of Law ( email )

321 Eggers Hall
Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY 13244-1030
United States
315-443-9743 (Phone)

Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs ( email )

400 Eggers Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
United States

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