In the aftermath of economic disaster, nineteenth-century reformers embraced popular elections as a way to make politically appointed judges less susceptible to partisan patronage and more independent of the legislative and executive branches of government. This effort to reinforce the separation of powers and limit government succeeded in many ways, but it created new threats to judicial independence and provoked further calls for reform. Merit selection emerged as the most promising means of reducing partisan and financial influence from judicial selection. It too, however, proved vulnerable to pressure from party politics and special interest groups. Yet, as Shugerman concludes, it still has more potential for protecting judicial independence than either political appointment or popular election.
The People’s Courts shows how Americans have been deeply committed to judicial independence, but that commitment has also been manipulated by special interests. By understanding our history of judicial selection, we can better protect and preserve the independence of judges from political and partisan influence.
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction: America's Peculiar Institution 1
1 Declaring Judicial Independence 14
2 Judicial Challenges in the Early Republic 30
3 Judicial Elections as Separation of Powers 57
4 Panic and Trigger 84
5 The American Revolutions of 1848 103
6 The Boom in Judicial Review 123
7 Reconstructing Independence 244
8 The Progressives' Failed Solutions 159
9 The Great Depression, Crime, and the Revival of Appointment 177
10 The Puzzling Rise of Merit 208
11 Judicial Plutocracy after 1980 241
Conclusion: Interests, Ideas, and Judicial Independence 267
What People are Saying About This
The People's Courts is the first comprehensive history of judicial elections, an exciting work that sharply challenges how we usually think about courts, constitutionalism, and democracy. For a long time to come this is going to be the definitive book on elected judiciaries.
Robert W. Gordon, Stanford Law School
A powerfully framed and comprehensive exploration of how judges and politicians (often politician-judges) responded to the apparent tensions between popular democracy and judicial independence. The People's Courts will be essential reading for everyone interested in the political history of the judiciary.
Hendrik Hartog, Princeton University
This is an important book on a vastly important topic--the indispensable source for anyone interested in how the United States arrived at the 'peculiar institution' of judicial elections.
John Fabian Witt, Yale Law School