Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


This article is excerpted and adapted with permission from "The Majoritarian Difficulty: Elective Judiciaries and the Rule of Law" (University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 62 No. 2, 1995). All references have been omitted. Readers who wish to obtain a copy of the original should contact the LQN editor.

Legal academicians are typically preoccupied with the work product of judges appointed for life. While the preoccupation may be understandable, it clouds a fact that may be surprising: A majority of all cases in the United States are decided by judges whose continued tenure is contingent upon elections. This fact is attributable to another: Most judgeships in the United States are elective offices. More than surprising, these two facts are curious, even anomalous, for judges are elected on a similar scale in no other consitutional democracy in the world.