Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 14, 2018

The Judge and His Hangman: Judicial Selection and the Accountability of Judges in the US

Bertrand Lemennicier and Nikolai Wenzel
From the journal ICL Journal

Abstract

Who gets to determine rights and justice? Which mechanism of judicial selection and accountability is optimal? There is no easy answer. If judges are independent experts, nominated and evaluated by their peers, they will be immune from the pressures of electoral rent-seeking, but unaccountable to the people. If judges are elected, they will be democratically accountable, but subject to the redistributive pressures of the ballot box. If judges are nominated and controlled by politicians, they will face the temptations of bureaucratic self-interest and will not be democratically accountable, but they will be shielded from the Public Choice problems of elections. This paper uses the death penalty in the United States to measure and compare the impact of different methods of judicial selection. In the end, there is no optimal solution – at least not within a state judicial monopoly.

Published Online: 2018-11-14
Published in Print: 2018-11-27

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston