Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are Supreme Court Justices Unelected?

A common criticism of judicial review is that it is undemocratic because federal judges in general and Supreme Court justices in particular are unelected. For example, in a 2006 law review article in the Yale Law Journal, Jeremy Waldron argues that judicial review disenfranchises ordinary citizens:
By privileging majority voting among a small number of unelected and unaccountable judges, it disenfranchises ordinary citizens and brushes aside cherished principles of representation and political equality in the final resolution of issues about rights.
But that isn't quite right. Supreme Court justices are elected! No, not directly of course. They are appointed by the President. But the President who appoints them is elected and the Senators who confirm them are elected. So, ultimately, what sort of judges we have on the Supreme Court and other federal courts is up to the people.

No comments:

Post a Comment