A Penny for the Court’s Thoughts? The High Price of Judicial Elections

Bills, Bronson D. | January 1, 2008

In this article, Mr. Bronson Bills explores the meaning of the term “judicial independence,” tracks the history of the concept in colonial America, and discusses the importance of judicial independence to free and just society. Mr. Bills then examines judicial elections in light of the 2006 Nevada Supreme Court election for Seat G-a judicial election in which the incumbent Justice Nancy Becker was defeated by the much less qualified Nevada State District Court Judge Nancy Saitta (who was the most reversed District Judge in Nevada with no academic or legal publications prior to taking the bench) after Saitta misrepresented the holding of a single unpopular civil tax decision, in which Becker concurred, to the voting public-and argues that the Nevada Supreme Court election illustrates many of the reasons why States should abandon elections in favor of judicial appointment.