A Reader Proposes Making Federal Judges Responsible By Electing Them

Re: Peter Brimelow’s article SCOTUS, Obamacare, And The Limits Of Litigation



From: BD [Email him]


I read VDare.com almost every day, and I enjoyed Peter Brimelow's thoughtful article about judges today.  I agree with what he said, but I was surprised he didn't raise what seems to me an obvious solution—electing federal judges.  


Virtually all state judges have to stand for election periodically, either directly or through some sort of Missouri-plan arrangement.  Federal judges have tenure in the same way that university professors do—they cannot be fired for poor performance or for holding and promoting unpopular views, only for extreme misconduct, which happens rarely.  Lifetime tenure with absolutely no accountability is always a bad idea.  


So why not have federal judges stand for election as state court judges do?  The judges would still be free to decide as they choose, but they know that one day they will have to answer to the voters.   


Our Founding Fathers created this system in response to the abuse they experienced under the colonial judiciary.  The king appointed the judges, and if he didn't like their rulings, he got rid of them and appointed men more to his liking.  


So an "independent" judiciary is fine in theory, but in practice it is subject to the abuses you describe. It is interesting that none of the states followed the federal model for appointing and retaining judges.  


So elect them all!  Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges could be elected from each judicial district, with others on a state-by-state basis.  And throw in term limits to boot.