Accountability and Independence

Schotland, Roy A. “Iowa’s 2010 Judicial Election: Appropriate Accountability or Rampant Passion?” 46 Court Review No. 1 (2011). (SSRN)

February 17, 2012

This article addresses the issue of judicial accountability by analyzing the election in which three Iowa Supreme Court justices were defeated as a consequence of their participation in a unanimous decision upholding gay marriage.

Streb, Matthew J., Brian Frederick, and Casey LaFrance. “Contestation, Competition, and the Potential for Accountability in Intermediate Appellate Court Elections,” 91 Judicature 70 (2007).

December 20, 2011

This empirical study analyzes 942 intermediate appellate court (IAC) elections held from 2000–2006, finding that while IAC judges are rarely challenged, challengers often prove difficult opponents and incumbents do lose in both partisan and nonpartisan elections.

Peters, C. Scott. “Canons of Ethics and Accountability in State Supreme Court Elections,” 9 State Politics and Policy Quarterly 24 (2009). (Sage)

December 20, 2011

This article argues that four out of the five canons of judicial ethics aimed at constraining campaigning make it less likely for challengers to incumbents to win contested elections.

Carrington, Paul D. “Judicial Independence and Democratic Accountability in Highest State Courts,” 61 Law & Contemp Probs. 79 (1998).

December 20, 2011

This article argues that judicial elections, in the manner they are currently conducted, involve risks to public confidence in state high courts; the author proposes measures to reduce such risks, including disqualification rules, expenditure limits, and extended term limits.

Dimino Sr., Michael R. “Accountability Before the Fact” 22 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol’y. 451 (2008). (HeinOnline)

December 20, 2011

This essay argues that judicial terms of office should be long and non-renewable such that there are neither reelections nor reappointments, and that the initial selection of judges should be by election for high courts and by appointment for lower courts.

Shepherd, Joanna M. “Money, Politics, and Impartial Justice,” 58 Duke L. J. 623 (2009).

December 20, 2011

This article presents empirical evidence that elected state supreme court justices are sensitive to voter and contributor preference when making rulings and suggests possible reforms for restoring judicial independence.

Shepherd, Joanna M. “Are Appointed Judges Strategic Too?” 58 Duke L. J. 1589 (2009). (SSRN)

December 20, 2011

This article provides empirical support for the argument that appointive systems pose an even greater threat to judicial independence than do elective systems.

Huber, Gregory A., and Sanford C. Gordon. “Accountability and Coercion: Is Justice Blind When It Runs for Office?” 48 American Journal of Political Science 247 (2004). (JStor)

December 20, 2011

This empirical study analyzes sentencing data from 22,095 Pennsylvania criminal cases in the 1990s, concluding that the judicial election process leads judges to become more punitive as the election season approaches.

Hall, Melinda Gann. “Justices as Representatives: Elections and Judicial Politics in the American States,” 23 American Politics Quarterly 4, 485 (1995). (Sage)

December 20, 2011

This empirical study uses death penalty votes in state supreme courts to show that personal as well as policy considerations affect the goals of judicial actors and that the pursuit of these goals is furthered or hindered by different types of institutional arrangements.

Hall, Melinda Gann. “Electoral Politics and Strategic Voting in State Supreme Courts,” 54 Journal of Politics 2, 427 (1992).(JStor)

December 20, 2011

This empirical study suggests that state supreme court justices who face competitive elections may vote in a manner consistent with constituent opinion even when their own views differ, and that single-member districts, experience seeking reelection, and narrow vote margins, among other factors, encourage such strategic voting.