Commentary: End Choosing Judges by Election

As an example of what’s wrong with electing state judges, a retired federal appeals court judge blogs about a recent announcement by Judge Carlo Key of Texas that he’s leaving the GOP because of its “pettiness and bigotry” toward the gay community.

Judge Key, a court at-law court judge in Bexar County, said he would run for reelection as a Democrat, according to the Austin Chronicle. Here is what retired Judge H. Lee Sarokin writes in Huffington Post about Judge Key’s statement:

“I agree with every word he uttered. I cheer his stance, his courage and his integrity—particularly in Texas. But nothing demonstrates the failings of judicial elections more than this. A judge has to announce that he opposes bigotry and discrimination and has to change parties in order to be elected! Judges should not be members of political parties. They should not run on platforms. They should not be elected based upon popularity. And they certainly should not have to proclaim that they are opponents of bigotry in order to serve.”

“So while I agree with everything Judge Key had to say, I regret that he felt he had to say it in order to serve as an impartial and fair judge. Let’s end judicial selection by election.”

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