Instructor Esmail October 23, 2018
With federal judges being appointed for a life term, most of the state judges are just elected for shorter terms. Conventional wisdom holds that appointed judges are superior to elected judges because appointed judges are less vulnerable to political pressure (Choi 2007). Over time this has shown very little evidence. By using data of a high state court, they started to construct certain measures and divide them up into three categories; effort, skill, and independence. These measures test the relationship of their performance and the four primary methods of the state high court judge selection that include the partisan election, non-partisan election, merit plan, and appointment (Choi 2007). These results do not typically show the appointed judges performing at a higher level than the elected counterparts. The appointed judges have higher quality opinions than the elected judges do, however, the elected judges write more opinions and the evidence shows that the elected judges don’t show to be less independent than the other appointed judge. The results of the study show that the elected judges are more focused on providing services to the American voters and the appointed judges are more focused on their long-term legacy in the court house.
Graft and corruption are charges that are usually leveled at a highly placed government official (Angevine 2018). These officials typically use public funds to improve their own benefit. When a judge uses access, knowledge or power that comes with the position they uphold, they typically engage in a graft, and they end up abusing the public’s trust and ultimately being charged for the crime. If a committee was to appoint a judge, there could be corruption inside the committee when it comes to who would get elected. When it comes to the graft, there is a specific type of corruption where an official uses their public stature to gain legal benefits for themselves. Inside the committee, there could be a chance that a few members could be rooting for a specific judge to take the seat for their own benefit. If the committee was not affected by the graft, there would be no reason to speculate that there is any corruption happening when electing a judge.
First and foremost, there is no way that a private citizen can violate the Constitution. Our Constitution is a legal document that establishes the relationship between the United States and all the states that comprise it (Kinkade 2015). The only party that can violate the Constitution is the United States and the officers that serve the United States. There is no meaningful way to punish the United States for violating the Constitution. However, judges and other federal government employees who fail to due their duties that are required of them by our Constitution can be impeached and removed from the office upon their conviction (Kinkade 2015). Any judge or government official will be ordered to follow the requirements of the Constitution and to preform any act that is required by the Constitution. If a judge does something that the Constitution requires them to do, then their will most likely be no punishment for them.
Over time, the Standing Committee of Professional Discipline and the Council of the Judicial Administration Division met with the Joint Ethics Committee of the National Conference of State Trial Judges and the National Conference of Special Court Judges and created Model Rules. These rules were submitted under the co-sponsorship of the Standing Committee on Professional Discipline and the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. There are 4 sections to the Model Rules; Organization and Structure, General Provisions, Disciplinary Proceedings, and Special Proceedings. The Organization and Structure rule defines the grounds for discipline on any conduct constituting a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct. The only other form for discipline is violation of a valid order in the highest court under the rules. The conduct of any judge, no matter what has happened is always relevant to the question of their fitness for the office. During the time between the commission of the misconduct and the filing of the complaint is based on what extent the discipline should be laid out. The disciplinary proceedings begin with the receipt of the complaint by the commission. The complaint is taken in as any type of information that alleges that the judge has committed misconduct or is unable to do their duties. The Special Proceedings establish a model for the discipline of the judge in the highest court and thoroughly goes over the procedures that should be used in the case that involves the allegations of the said misconduct. If the judge is found guilty, they could be imprisoned or impeached from their seat in the court house.
Congress has created certain procedures that allows any individual in the United States to file a complaint within the courts about the behavior that federal judges can express. However, the filings will not be accepted based on the decisions that the federal judge made on similar cases. Judicial misconduct that is taken into consideration when filing a complaint against them is giving special treatment to family and friends, placing their personal schedule before other parties, accepting bribes and promises, and improperly talking about cases with attorneys. Any person who feels as though they have experienced this or seen this happen first hand can go and file a complaint against the judge(s). When it comes to certain ways that the judge can break laws inside the court room is that they can be caught lying under oath, citing invalid laws, and ignoring certain laws without giving an explanation as to why.
If a citizen is trying to prove the misconduct of a judge, it can be hard if they do not know about the rules. By being familiar with the rules, it can help prove the judicial misconduct due to the fact that a corrupt judge has to push aside all of the motions that have been filed. The best way to pile up evidence against a corrupt judge is to take notes, ask for court reporters, bring court watchers to all of the hearings, and leave a paper trail on everything.
Charles Hall, who is the director of communications for Justice at Stake told HPR that even though “judges are sworn to uphold legal impartiality” it is usually compromised when judges owe their position to a political party or big donors that have appointed them to their seat. There are five different methods to which a state selects and retains the judges for the Supreme Court seat. Around twenty-four states use partisan or non-partisan elections, seven states have a governor who appoints the judges that represent that state, five have state legislatures that do the same, and twelve states that use the commission appointment retention election system. When it comes to the campaign, the judicial candidates typically have financial supporters to help them with their campaign. If a judicial nominee has a high financial backing in their campaign, there is more room for them to get their message out there and also potentially buy the voters to vote for them. If they are able to afford a political party to help them out with their campaign, they could gain the higher toll due to the fact that they have many people who know what they are doing to help them win the race for the judicial chair.
Toward the end of the election, the voted judges will go and be interviewed by the bench. When a judge is running for the Supreme Court seat, they are interviewed for hours or even days to see if they are capable to preform the job under the necessary laws and regulations that are put into place. Once the interviewing process is over, the bench will discuss and take into consideration everything that was talked about and appoint a judge to take the seat in the court house.
Choi, S. (2007, August). Are Appointed Judges Better Than Elected Judges? Retrieved from https://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/faculty/2007/09/are-appointed-j.htmlAngevine, E. (2018, February 09). What Is the Meaning of Graft & Corruption? Retrieved from https://legalbeagle.com/663516-meaning-graft-corruption.htmlKinkade, K. (2015, December 9). Is there any punishment for violating the US Constitution? Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/Is-there-any-punishment-for-violating-the-US-ConstitiutionModel Rules for Judicial Disciplinary Enforcement. (2018, August 13). Retrieved from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/model_rules_judicial_disciplinary_enforcement/preface/(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/home.nsf/Content/Judicial+MisconductLaMance, K. (2018, February 06). Judicial Misconduct. Retrieved from https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/judicial-misconduct.htmlJohnson, S. (2009, March 3). Impartial Intentions. Retrieved from https://harvardpolitics.com/online/impartial-intentions/