Should Supreme Court Justices be elected or appointed?

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the legal hierarchy. The system in which Supreme Court justices are elected or appointed may shape how they act and decide on rulings. Even though justices are usually appointed, some argue that elections should be held to ensure an independent judiciary.

Supreme court justices should be elected

Elections are the basis of direct democracy. They ensure that citizens have choices from all spectra of judicial leanings instead of one-party nominating like-minded justices. Elections avoid the possibility of a politicized judiciary.

An elected Supreme Court would be more diverse

Judicial elections give citizens a variety of choices across the spectrum of judicial leanings and backgrounds. Judicial appointments yield power to a small group of elitist White male lawyers.

Judicial election is a requirement for democracy

Basic principles of the democratic theory suggest that public officials should be selected by those over whom they hold power. Judicial elections are a part of direct democracy.

An elected Supreme Court yields higher judicial accountability

Judicial elections make justices more accountable for their decisions to the public. They allow people to ensure that the Constitution remains aligned with public opinion.

Supreme court justices should be appointed

Appointments of Supreme Court justices ensure that all justices are qualified for the job. Unlike elected justices, appointed justices do not need to worry about the popular view. They can base their decisions on legal correctness rather than political popularity.

Judicial appointment helps produce a higher caliber of independent judges

Judicial appointments ensure that only independent justices with necessary qualifications can serve in the Supreme Court. Elected justices can be extremely unsuited to the job.

Appointed justices can focus on implementing the law rather than satisfying the popular view

While an elected judiciary would be most concerned with the popular opinion to secure places in the re-election, an appointed judiciary only needs to worry about the rule of law.
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This page was last edited on Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 10:55 UTC