Appointing Versus Electing Judges to North Carolina's Judiciary
With North Carolina's election day looming near, The Charlotte Observer has featured two contrasting opinion pieces, each advocating for the appointment or election of North Carolina judges.
Arguing for the appointment of judges, John Webster contends that, under North Carolina's current electoral system, the uninformed nature of most voters encourages a more political judicial selection process. He suggests this is because uninformed voters rely on increasingly expensive judicial campaigns and often choose judicial candidates "based on name recognition, ballot position, or some other criterion entirely irrelevant to the candidate’s qualifications." Webster states the electoral system therefore places biased judges on the state's bench who are distracted from their main priority, which should be the rule of law. Webster argues for an appointment system modeled after the federal judicial selection system, in which a judge is nominated and confirmed by two branches of the government, accountable to the citizens. Webster states that appointing judges will decrease judicial politics and "more reliably produce excellent outcomes in who serves on our state’s bench."