The Power and Politics of the Judicial Branch
Why not cut out the hypocrisy of letting the people elect the judges? The people don't know who he is, or what kind of judge he is.
David Solomon, Helena lawyer, 1979
Who says politics should be totally removed? You want judges who care about people. Otherwise, how can you make laws that everybody can abide by?
Justice Darrell Hickman, Arkansas Supreme Court, 1977
In the past, state judicial systems were considered to be above the ordinary pulls and pressures of politics, and therefore beyond the legitimate concern of political scientists. In recent decades, that antiseptic approach has been almost entirely displaced by a more realistic recognition that judges and courts are deeply rooted in a state's political system and have many strong linkages to it. Some of these linkages have already been mentioned. In chapter 7 it was noted that opposition to judicial reforms in the proposed new 1970 and 1980 constitutions ran deep among some judges, who were among the most articulate and effective opponents of the documents. The "do nothing" bills described in chapter 9 are often those that particular legislators sponsor in behalf of "their" judges or for other court personnel in their constituencies.1
Assuredly, and fortunately, there are laws, canons of ethics, and general proprieties that preclude judges from some of the more overtly political activities commonplace in the executive and legislative branches. Judges do