March 05, 2004

Electing Judges

I love talking to acculturated Romanians about politics. They show surprise at so many things that it really brings to life the exceptional nature of the US government. I was speaking to a romanian ethnic political science graduate student. She was hearing all sorts of high level poli-sci terms but nobody had ever sat her down and given her the basics of how things worked and she was missing a lot of the subtext of lectures. So while I was occupied in fixing the DSL line that, among other things, lets her surf the web, we talked US political basics. She absolutely couldn't understand how the US judicial branch survives with elected judges.

People don't understand the law, she maintained, how can they choose good judges? The reason, I replied, dated back to colonial days where certain judges simply made stuff up as they went along. After the revolution, the newly independent americans decided that they would never have that happen again and would elect judges in order to be able to have an ultimate check on a judiciary run amok. On the way back home, I recalled that a great many people opined that the old danger of a judiciary that just made stuff up was long gone with the british and it was time to do away with an elected judiciary.

They all swore it would never happen again.

Look around and tell me with a straight face that you can say that today. Whether it's the US Supreme Court permitting gross violations of freedom of speech in politics, pro-gay rights judges ignoring the law and permitting gay marriages to go forward in San Francisco by refusing to issue an injunction, or any of a dozen abuses that have angered both left and right, it's becoming clear that the time is come that we start electing more, rather than less judges.

Posted by TMLutas at March 5, 2004 07:12 PM