Election or Appointment of Judges? It Doesn’t Matter!

Adam Hochschild, in the New York Review of Books,  complains about the election of many US law enforcement officials because election to office insures office holders will cater to popular whim and prejudice, especially when they’re up for reelection: “the United States chooses a sizable proportion of its judges and almost all of its district attorneys, and county sheriffs by popular election–something that would be considered bizarre almost everywhere else in the world. . . . One recent study of Washington State judges found that the sentences they passed out lengthened by an average of ten percent as reelection day approached.”

However, appointed officials are not immune from popular, political, ethnic, or any cultural or socioeconomic bias or pressure; actually, these factors guide the appointment process.  Whether elected or appointed, judges, district attorneys, county sheriffs, and all other officials are components and sustainers of the status quo.

About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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