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Impact of Judicial Elections on Judicial Decisions

Impact of Judicial Elections on Judicial Decisions Does the process of judicial selection and retention affect the decisions made by judges? Focusing on retention rather than initial selection, this article examines whether the method of retention directly or indirectly affects decisions. Extant literature shows clear effects related to criminal cases, particularly cases involving the death penalty, but also in criminal sentencing in trial courts. At the trial court level, there are also indications of election cycle effects. At the Supreme Court level, there is also some indication of effects in abortion-related cases and in cases involving government parties. This article also looks at the impact of two process-related features of judicial elections: advertising and campaign contributions. There is little research on the advertising question but substantial research on campaign contributions. That latter literature has struggled to overcome the problem of distinguishing friendly giving from actual effects on decisions; although there are growing indications that there may be some contribution effects in some situations, the research is far from definitive. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Law and Social Science Annual Reviews

Impact of Judicial Elections on Judicial Decisions

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Publisher
Annual Reviews
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved
ISSN
1550-3585
eISSN
1550-3631
DOI
10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-110615-084812
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Does the process of judicial selection and retention affect the decisions made by judges? Focusing on retention rather than initial selection, this article examines whether the method of retention directly or indirectly affects decisions. Extant literature shows clear effects related to criminal cases, particularly cases involving the death penalty, but also in criminal sentencing in trial courts. At the trial court level, there are also indications of election cycle effects. At the Supreme Court level, there is also some indication of effects in abortion-related cases and in cases involving government parties. This article also looks at the impact of two process-related features of judicial elections: advertising and campaign contributions. There is little research on the advertising question but substantial research on campaign contributions. That latter literature has struggled to overcome the problem of distinguishing friendly giving from actual effects on decisions; although there are growing indications that there may be some contribution effects in some situations, the research is far from definitive.

Journal

Annual Review of Law and Social ScienceAnnual Reviews

Published: Oct 27, 2016

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