Where I live, wealthy people tend to run for these offices, or seem to get elected to the judge positions. The people with the most money in the elections can afford expensive election campaigns. Their family names are well known, and several members of the same family have even held the same political positions.
Appointed judges are not perfect, but judicial officials that do not have to run for elections will not be swayed in the execution of their duties. It is unfair to defendants to receive a stiffer sentence than someone else who commits the same crime just because they are up before a judge in a tough reelection battle. At worst, it is not justice. At best, it is grounds for a costly and unneeded appeal.
In the short term, having elected judges makes judges more likely to be popular and thus trusted. In the long term, when elected judges have come to be seen as beholden to campaign contributors and wary of making unpopular rulings, more and more people may come to mistrust the system responsible for putting these obstacles to public confidence in place. An elected judge can be a fair one, but it's probably easier for an appointed one both to be fair and to be recognized as fair. Consider, after all, the contempt with which Congress, the vital but money-soaked people's branch of government, is routinely held by the public. Corruption, legal and illegal, pervades the institution, notwithstanding the deliberation, debate and good work that also goes on there. The judiciary was set up to be different, to be insulated from the pressures and incentives of direct public accountability.
Some people believe that judges who are elected are less impartial than appointed ones. Elected officials have a certain obligation to their party, and there can also be a fair amount of loyalty to individuals or groups who have contributed to the campaigns that got them elected in the first place. While it seems like the public would trust a judge more if he/she were a part of getting that judge elected, I think a lot of people see these judges as being 'bought and paid for.'
Everyone has his followers, everyone has his fans and everyone is liked by SOME people, even though others may have a completely different approach towards him/her. Similarly, when a judge is appointed by popular vote, the general public trust may not like him hence resulting in a decrease in the trust, that the process might be rigid and voters be paid!
If judges are held to some kind of public standard, than there will have to be some kind of reconciliation between personal values and public values.
I think judges should be appointed. I would think that someone was paying for their judge seat. How can the common person get t know a judge unless they are really in the community as an activist. A judges track record on decisive and fair rulings should determine their political position. Judges have important roles in society and I want to know that they are being completely fair and decisive.
There have been cases where judges make such egregious decisions that are held up to public ridicule when the public knows about it. You sometimes wonder what they were thinking. Judges that know they will be facing elections will think twice before doing something amazingly stupid in making a decision that effects other people's lives. Judges that are appointed for life sometimes get too far away from what the mainstream public consider common sense.
There is no erosion of public confidence that necessarily follows a popular election for judges. Confidence should only be based on the judges record as a jurist, not on how he or she was elected. If the judge properly applies the facts to the law, we should have confidence in him or her.
I think that people trust themselves to vote for the right person and, when that person wins, they will have trust in that person. If a judge is appointed, the process is less transparent, and it could be that the person chosen really isn't right for the job. So, I think that the popular vote is a good way to choose judges.
Judges elected by popular vote, if anything, increase public trust. The public is far more likely to trust a judge appointed directly by common people, than one appointed by a politician. With an election, the public feels more connected to the judicial branch, as they choose who will sit on the bench.
Voting citizens would not and should not vote for judges they do not trust. Public trust should increase when judges are appointed by popular vote. Citizens that do not like a certain judge need to show up on voting day, and vote for the person they trust to do the job correctly.
The best way to gain public trust is to allow the public to govern themselves. This includes making policies and choosing policy makers by popular vote. This exercises the idea of "by the people, for the people", as they say. If a judge or any other official wins a popular vote, you can at least be assured that the majority trust the appointee.
Judges being voted in by a popular vote does not decrease trust. Judges that are put in via an appointment decrease trust. Appointed judges are put in the position they are in because of a set way of opinion when judging. The judges put in by popular vote are voted on by the public and most of the time they have no idea how a judge rules on an issue.
The government already has way too much say in our everyday lives. Allowing citizens to vote for judges gives them the chance to study the qualifications of the candidates and make a decision as to who they believe will make the best judge. When judges are appointed without the vote of the people, there is way too much room for politics to be involved instead of the best candidate being chosen.
When everyone is given an equal share in the vote, it is a majority vote rather than one person being the sole decision maker and appointing the judge. An example would be that the general population as a whole chooses the American President, but the president has the sole vote in choosing a Supreme Court Justice.
Publically elected judges would be a wise decision. People would be more prone to trusting the judges, and therefore the judgments made by them. I believe the current system of appointed judges allows too much room for corruption and political agenda. Elected judges would be much more fair and in the spirit of democracy.
A judge can function just as well as any other politician in the political process. I would much rather have a judge elected into office as opposed to being appointed by another politician. The problem with this process is the "good old boys network". We as Americans have to factor in the fact that there will always be "back scratching" going on. As with all politicians judges are supposed to work for the American people. They are supposed to do the will of the people and abide by the laws of the land. The only thing as Americans that we can do is hope we can see past all the political garbage and elect the best person for the job.