Former Supremes, Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says, Stop Electing Judges. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/14/sandra-day-oconnor-stop-e_n_286603.html. While I've yammered on about Judge Italianname, and Irishname, and Weirdname--and, the sheer ignorance of the elctorate over who these clowns are; Justice O'Connor strikes right at the heart of the danger to democracy--money, money, money in judicial elections.
But here's the problem, merit selection of Judges, which is the alternative to elected judges means bar association groupies, large law firm committees, and academics will choose your Judges for you at best the people will get a vote to "retain" the selected Judge. You see, your judges will be selected by the lawyers with the money--and, where might this money come from,,,mmmmm might it be elites with money: corporations, insurance companies, financial institutions, medical providers?
Don't get me wrong the name game, is horrible. In Our Fair State, on our local Court of Appeals there is a certifiably educably retarded jurist with a famous Italian last name. Our Town County Courts have featured, an Irishname Judge who was a drug addict and dealer; there have been many many Irishname and Italianname Judges who were and are drunks and crooks. On our metropolitan Courts there are many African American Judges with similar pedigrees and shortcomings. Is there an answer? Sure, it requires participation by all the stakeholders but the danger is, this: reform is another way in which the ideal of government of a government of, and by, and for the people is just one more illusion.