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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83820 Find in a Library
Title: Effects of Judicial-Selection Reform - What We Know and What We Do Not (From Analysis of Judicial Reform, P 79-91, 1982, Philip L DuBois, ed. See NCJ-83815)
Author(s): M L Volcansek
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: D C Heath and Co
Lexington, MA 02173
Sale Source: D C Heath and Co
125 Spring Street
Lexington, MA 02173
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The effectiveness of the elective and merit selection systems for selecting judges are assessed.
Abstract: Much of the conventional wisdom about the problems of elective systems for selecting judges has been confirmed; however, some of the alleged fallacies in the system (low voter participation, absence of competitiveness, and lack of meaningful voter cues) have been exacerbated by attempts at reforms such as nonpartisan ballots and nonconcurrent scheduling. Additionally, the literature on judicial elections suggests that races for judgeships are not significantly different from other subpresidential elections. Systematic jurisdictional comparisons with State, congressional, and local races regarding competitiveness, voter awareness, voter information, tenure, visibility, and voter participation might provide insight into the viability and desirability of an elective system. Although the merit selection system, whereby a nominating commission is expected to guarantee the professional merit of appointees, is expected to improve the quality of selections, it is criticized for its sparseness of input from the public. Studies comparing the effectiveness of the two systems are limited in quantity and scope. Further, the methodological difficulties in cross-State research have resulted in a minimal contribution to knowledge about the different effects of different selection systems. Four notes and 35 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Evaluation criteria; Judge selection
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