Bench Memos

Reaping the Whirlwind

The New York Times, in a front-pager, notices that the people of many states, given the opportunity to unseat activist judges, may just want to do so.  And the Times is, apparently, a little stunned by this effrontery of people who think they actually govern themselves: “Around the country, judicial elections that were designed to be as apolitical as possible are suddenly as contentious as any another race.”

This is what happens when the judges cease to be apolitical–the case of Iowa, at the center of the Times story, is a clear instance.  When the judges betray their trust, the people should remove them.  What is either surprising or alarming about this?

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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