Amicus Briefs

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No Way to Choose a Judge

In a serious setback for justice in Alabama, primary voters chose Roy Moore to be their candidate for chief justice of the State Supreme Court in November. He is now the odds-on favorite to win. You may remember that Mr. Moore lost that job in 2003 when a special ethics court removed him from the bench after he defied a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building in Montgomery.

Mr. Moore plainly benefited from his name recognition — as disturbing as that thought is — and strong support from many of the same evangelical voters who backed Rick Santorum in the presidential primary. His victory is yet one more reminder that choosing judges in partisan elections, rather than through a system of merit selection, can create a serious problem of quality control.

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