Judicial elections, democratic appointment (e.g., senate confirmation), and the Missouri Plan (a/k/a "merit selection")

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Politics, Ideology and State Supreme Court Justices

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith L. French, an appointed Republican seeking to retain her seat in the Nov. 4 election, said at a GOP rally “I am a Republican and you should vote for me. You’re going to hear from your elected officials, and I see a lot of them in the crowd. Let me tell you something: The Ohio Supreme Court is the backstop for all those other votes you are going to cast. Whatever the governor does, whatever your state representative, your state senator does, whatever they do, we are the ones that will decide whether it is constitutional; we decide whether it’s lawful. We decide what it means, and we decide how to implement it in a given case. So, forget all those other votes if you don’t keep the Ohio Supreme Court conservative,” French said.

I like the frank recognition that state supreme courts can overrule the legislature and governor and the implicit acknowledgement that a justice's political philosophy can influence her rulings. I elaborate on these points in Originalism, Balanced Legal Realism and Judicial Selection: A Case Study

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