Debates over the best methods for selecting judges in the United States usually turn on finding an appropriate balance between independence and accountability for judges, but elsewhere the tension between those two competing ends has been resolved in favor of judicial independence. According to Martin Shapiro, judges cannot, though, be truly independent, because they are dependent on those to whom they owe their office. Or, as Jean Blondel sees it, the question becomes one of "from whom should judges be independent?" Judges are, in other words, dependent in some sense on those to whom they are accountable. New democracies and nations that have redemocratized after a period of authoritarian rule have posed the issue of judicial independence, then, quite differently from how it is viewed in the United States; indeed, the very connotations of independence and accountability abroad assume dimensions unknown in the United States. Notably, a version of the Missouri Plan, known elsewhere as judicial appointment commissions, "look[s] likely to become the most popular selection system of the twentyfirst century." This Article explores the twists and turns and the motivations and complications of judicial independence and judicial appointment commissions to suggest that perhaps American states might benefit from experiences elsewhere when choosing to modify, reform or improve judicial selection systems here.
Mary L. Volkcansek,
Exporting the Missouri Plan: Judicial Appointment Commissions,
74 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol74/iss3/17