Law and Politics of Selecting State Judges (formerly Selecting State Court Judges)
J.D. Seminar 207
| 1 credit hours
State judges are the overlooked engines of the rule of law. They handle more than 98% of litigation in America. They decide hot-button cases involving social issues, civil rights, federalism, criminal, corporate, tort and tax law.
How should state judges be picked? How did American political history produce our current patchwork of appointment and election methods? How do politics play out in each system? What effect do judicial selection systems have on the fairness, quality, diversity and independence of our courts? What constitutional issues do they raise, including due process, First Amendment and equal protection litigation?
This seminar will explore the law and politics of selecting state judges, including:
how appointment, election and merit selection/retention election systems evolved, how they function
how legal scholars and political scientists analyze judicial selection and judicial behavior
the contemporary politics of appointment systems and the explosion of money and interest group spending in judicial elections
constitutional jurisprudence that affects judicial selection, including judicial campaign conduct and campaign reform
disqualification and recusal rules, including the Supreme Court’s decision in Caperton v. Massey and state supreme court rulemaking proceedings
voter behavior, and voter education tools like judicial performance evaluations
how judicial selection affects diversity on the bench
The syllabus will also include a visit with former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor at the U.S. Supreme Court.
This two-credit seminar will be taught by Bert Brandenburg, Executive Director of Justice at Stake, a national partnership of organizations working to protect the independence of the courts. Student evaluations will be based upon seminar papers that examine constitutional, legal, and policy issues in judicial selection. Participants will also have opportunities to work with staff at Justice at Stake on research issues.
||Room / Days / From-To
|This course is not currently scheduled.