To Elect or Not to Elect: A Case Study ofJudicial Selection in New York City 1977-2002

This Article examines the process of judicial selection in New York State in light of the recent court decisions in White and Spargo, which have paved the way for increased campaign speech in judicial elections. Relying on empirical data to compare judicial elections and appointments in New York City between 1977 and 2002, the Article finds that elections produce a judiciary that is more beholden to interest groups than one generated through appointments. The consequence of this greater special interest involvement is an erosion of public trust and confidence in the judiciary. Moreover while elections arguably have increased diversity in the New York City judiciary, elections have not achieved the same result at the statewide level. The Article concludes that New York State should abandon judicial elections and implement a merit selection system with a diverse, non- or bipartisan nominating commission at its core.