(Hat tip to Anonymi for bringing the topic to the fore)
To quote one of my favorite Mike Myers skits: "I'm getting a little verklempt...talk amongst ya-selfs. Lemme give you a topic..." Judges, our supposedly independent branch -- should they be elected?
In Maryland we have a two part system where the Circuit Judges are first appointed and then confirmed every two years by election. As with any other political race, unfortunately, in contentious races, this has the tendency to create the perception of favors by way of donors and the like. The ideal election would be that of Judge Timothy McCrone, where you barely see signs and the entire process is more of a referendum on the political decision and not a political decision in and of itself.
Attorney General Doug Gansler wants to change that process.
My take is that judges are political, period. At least in a electoral process, fundraising laws require that the interests be made known. Appointments create untoward "influences," but we the people are not made aware of those interests. This is just about as sticky an issue as it gets. We spent entire seminars in law school debating this topic. You cannot separate politics from the law no matter how you try.