Poll: Voters want state judges to run in non-partisan races

Chris Rizo Oct. 22, 2008, 1:00pm

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (Legal Newsline)-Americans overwhelmingly say they prefer to be able to elect their state court judges in non-partisan races, a poll indicates.

A recent Harris poll found that 55 percent of Americans say they think state judges should be elected, while 19 percent say they believe the jurists should be appointed.

In states where judicial elections are held, nearly three-quarters of respondents said they usually vote in those elections, while 16 percent usually skip those ballot questions.

On how judges should be elected, 43 percent of respondents said non-partisan elections should be used, while 19 percent said state judges should be appointed by the governor from candidates suggested by a citizen nominating committee.

Twelve percent of respondents said partisan elections are the correct way to select state judges.

"Americans recognize that justice is too important to be controlled by party politics, or by interest groups with big bankrolls," American Bar Association President H. Thomas Wells Jr. said in a statement.

For federal judges, more than two-thirds of Americans say they believe that a review of potential nominees by a citizen committee prior to presidential nomination is a good idea, while less than one in five, or 18 percent, said it is a bad idea.

The Harris Poll online survey of 2,315 U.S. adults was conducted Sept. 15 to Sept. 22. The margin of sampling error was not reported.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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