Volume 76, Number 4

October 2001

The Ballot and the Bench

The Honorable Shirley S. Abrahamson

In this Speech, Shirley S. Abrahamson, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, discusses and examines the benefits and drawbacks of popular elections of state court judges. While acknowledging that elections have the potential to compromise the integrity of the judiciary, in part because both voters and campaign donors will come before the court, the Chief Justice concludes that state electoral systems can be important tools to educate voters about the practice of judging and the importance of judicial independence.