Fordham Urban Law Journal

A bimonthly legal book published by the law school at Fordham University. Each issue focuses on a single topic, and publishes original research, critical pieces, and long-form essays related to that topic.

Articles from Vol. 34, No. 1, January

A Cancer on the Republic: The Assault upon Impartiality of State Courts and the Challenge to Judicial Selection
The story is a familiar one. On September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, citizens gathered outside Independence Hall as word spread that the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention had concluded. Seeing Benjamin Franklin emerge from the building,...
A Comparison of the Criminal Appellate Decisions of Appointed State Supreme Courts: Insights, Questions, and Implications for Judicial Independence
Of all the systems used to select judges in the United States, appointment systems are the most widely used. (1) An appointment system is one in which the state's governor, with or without the input of a nominating commission, chooses candidates to...
Appointing Judges the European Way
I. INTRODUCTION American politicians deride an undefined "judicial activism," but political scientists study a more precise phenomenon that reflects the growing expansion of judicial power, the "judicialization of politics." (1) Judicialization...
A Role for Disciplinary Agencies in the Judicial Selection Process
All fifty states and the District of Columbia have a judicial disciplinary entity responsible for investigating complaints of ethical wrongdoing by judges and, where appropriate, disciplining or recommending discipline for those judges found to have...
A View from the Ground: A Reform Group's Perspective on the Ongoing Effort to Achieve Merit Selection of Judges
INTRODUCTION "[J]udicial reform is no sport for the short-winded," (1) has always been a catch phrase used to demonstrate that those seeking judicial election reform must be patient and must persevere. This description captures not only the lengthy...
Beyond Quality: First Principles in Judicial Selection and Their Application to a Commission-Based Selection System
INTRODUCTION Scholars of judicial selection have written a large volume of work regarding the concept of judicial quality and how to achieve it through the selection process. (1) The idea seems to be that if we can find some way to measure judicial...
Careful What You Wish For: Tough Questions, Honest Answers, and Innovative Approaches to Appointive Judicial Selection
Judicial selection is a perennially hot topic. (1) For as long as there have been judges, there have been controversies about the way they are selected. (2) The longstanding interest in judicial selection makes perfect sense given the central role...
Designing an Appointive System: The Key Issues
A leading scholar of state judicial elections has estimated that more than eighty-seven percent of state judges go before the voters at some point in their careers. (1) This figure, endlessly repeated in the literature, has fostered a perception of...
English Reforms to Judicial Selection: Comparative Lessons for American States?
I. INTRODUCTION It is often said that Britain (1) and America are two nations divided by a common language. (2) Although the American common law system was derived from England, many fundamental differences exist between the American and English...
Enhancing Diversity in an Appointive System of Selecting Judges
I. INTRODUCTION Any system for selecting judges must be legitimate, and it will not be perceived as legitimate if it excludes certain members of the bar or if it makes it difficult for different groups to get its members on the bench. For an appointive...
Enriching Judicial Independence: Seeking to Improve the Retention Vote Phase of an Appointive Selection System
[I]ndependence of the judges is ... requisite to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals from the effects of those ill humors, which the arts of designing men, or the influence of particular conjunctures, sometimes disseminate among the...
Help Wanted: Is There a Better Way to Select Judges?
Fights over the courts, and how to select our judges, have been with us since our nation's birth. (1) The Declaration of Independence charged King George with making colonial judges dependent on him alone. (2) There were great debates in the Constitutional...
How the Pickers Pick: Finding a Set of Best Practices for Judicial Nominating Commissions
States and municipalities still seek to build upon and improve the judicial selection methods used by prior generations. Like most institutional arrangements that are responsive to the needs of society, judicial selection demands an on-going...
Judge Marilyn Hall Patel: A Dedication
This issue of the Fordham Urban Law Journal presents the Fordham Law School symposium, "Rethinking Judicial Selection: A Critical Appraisal of Appointive Selection for State Court Judges." The extraordinary collection of professors, scholars, judges,...
Judicial Performance Review: A Balance between Judicial Independence and Public Accountability
Judicial performance review in Colorado is the most sophisticated method in the nation for providing information to voters in judicial retention elections. (1) Colorado has had a commission-based appointive system for judges--with the judges subject...
Keynote Address Fordham University School of Law: Friday, April 7, 2006: Why We Seek Reform
KEYNOTE ADDRESS FORDHAM UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 2006 I appreciate very much the opportunity to speak at this program on what makes for a good appointive system. My involvement with the subject of judicial selection comes from...
On the Validity and Vitality of Arizona's Judicial Merit Selection System: Past, Present, and Future
This Article demonstrates that merit selection is functioning commendably in Arizona and, for the most part, provides the public with a judicial selection process far more informative and generally superior to "traditional elections." (1) Part I of...
Rethinking Judicial Nominating Commissions: Independence, Accountability, and Public Support
Of all the difficult choices confronting societies when they go about designing their legal systems, among the most controversial are those pertaining to judicial selection and retention. (1) I. INTRODUCTION There is no one best way to select...
The Judicial Independence through Fair Appointments Act
AS OF FEBRUARY 21, 2007 Minnesota has chosen to select its judges through contested popular elections instead of through an appointment system or a combined appointment and retention election system.... If the State has a problem with judicial impartiality,...
What Makes a Good Appointive System for the Selection of State Court Judges: The Vision of the Symposium
I. The Vision of the Symposium A. Introduction B. The Context 1. Concerns About Elections 2. "No Anomalous Political Mugging": The Second Circuit's Decision in Lopez Torres v. New York State Board of Elections ...
Wyoming's Judicial Selection Process: Is It Getting the Job Done?
INTRODUCTION The rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution to the citizens of our country mean little without an independent judiciary to enforce those rights. As Alexander Hamilton commented in THE FEDERALIST PAPERS, the method by which...
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