Even if the Supreme Court rules for the accused in a case before it involving a death sentence, an elected judge and recusal, “that will not fix the much broader problem of elected judges,” a New York Times editorial warned.
The editorial discussed the case of Williams v. Pennsylvania, argued on Monday before the high court. Justice at Stake joined an amicus brief in the case, issued a statement (click here for Gavel Grab) and wrote a US News & World Report commentary (click here). The Times editorial was headlined, “Should a Judge Rule on His Own Case?” Echoing concerns raised by JAS, it went on to say:
“Studies have found that when judges must convince voters to put them on the bench, criminal defendants are among the biggest losers. Elected judges hand out longer sentences the closer they are to re-election and are less than half as likely as appointed judges to reverse death sentences. Even the number of judicial-campaign ads on television has an effect: The more there are, the less likely judges are to rule in favor of criminal defendants.”
Coverage of the oral arguments included NPR, “When Should A Judge Recuse Himself? Supreme Court Weighs the Question”; The Washington Post, “Supreme Court justices ponder when judges should recuse themselves”; The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “U.S. Supreme Court Weighs Former Pa. Justice Castille’s role in murder case” and Philly.com, “U.S. Supreme Court looking at Castille role in murder case.”
In other news from the high court, “[Justice] Clarence Thomas Breaks 10 Years of Silence at Supreme Court,” the New York Times reported.