"This is the strongest argument I have heard yet against judicial elections, the very existence of which undermine confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary. Any judge who has to beg future litigants for votes, or who has to promise her constituents that she will employ a particular doctrine or ideology, is tainted. And any defendant whose life or liberty or property depends on the objectivity of a judge pandering to constituents has been deprived of basic fair-trial rights. It's bad enough that judicial elections taint civil justice in states such as Texas. That they taint life-or-death decisions in Alabama is simply deplorable."
Justice Sonia Sotomayor (AP photo)
That passage comes from an op-ed today in the Los Angeles Times
written by Andrew Cohen, who opines about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor and the prevalence of federal judges in Alabama to ignore life sentence jury recommendations in favor of death sentences.
As Cohen writes, this issue is deplorable. That others around the country and at the Supreme Court are noticing Alabama's failure is notable in itself.-- Phillip Tutor