- Subject index
Seventeen thought-provoking essays in this sophisticated yet accessible reader demonstrate how political scientists conduct research on law, courts, and the judicial process, and at the same time answer interesting, substantive questions. Illustrating the breadth and depth of judicial politics studies, the essays convey to students the array of contemporary thinking -- both theoretical and methodological -- at work in the field. The book's five parts cover subjects taught in most judicial politics courses. Because each chapter stands alone, instructors have the flexibility of assigning less than the whole book or chapters in a different order. Topics examined range from information used by voters electing judges to the credibility of victims of sexualized violence. Accessible to both undergraduate and graduate students, Contemplating Courts offers fascinating views ...
Chapter 2: Electing Judges
Across the fifty states, more than twenty-eight thousand people serve as judges (Court Statistics Project 1992). Each had to be chosen for that position in some way.
The process of choosing judges is significant. One reason is that the prestige and power of judgeships make them attractive positions, and the selection process determines who wins these prizes. More important, the selection of judges affects the policies that courts make. Judges are the primary decision makers in the judicial branch, and they hold a good deal of freedom to make decisions as they see fit.
This freedom is not absolute: judges are constrained by the legal rules they are called on to apply, by other participants in the courts, and by their political environments. But ...