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Why do we have judicial elections? A democracy without elections for the legislature and executive (or, in parliamentary systems, for the executive as the leadership of the elected legislators), would be simply inconceivable. But no one would deny that eleven of our states, or many other nations, are democracies even though they do not elect judges. It might follow from that irrefutable, fundamental difference between elections for judges and for other offices, that judicial elections should not-or more to the point, need not-be conducted the same as other elections. Before we soar into debate, let us lay a foundation with elements of fact: first, the historical facts about why we have judicial elections; second, how well or poorly those facts-that is, the very purpose of having judicial elections-have been taken into account by the courts that have stricken efforts to treat judicial elections differently.


Copyright 2002, the Trustees of Indiana University. Reprinted with permission from the Indiana Law Review.

Publication Citation

35 Ind. L. Rev. 659-667 (2002)