Essays /

Course Notes For History And Government Essay

Essay preview

'A Broken System': Texas's Former Chief Justice Condemns Judicial Elections By Andrew Cohen
Wallace B. Jefferson, the newly retired Chief Justice of Texas's Supreme Court, is remarkable for many reasons. A Republican in the most Republican state in the Union, a black man in a state dominated by white conservatives, he has nonetheless been a dogged voice on behalf of Texas's poorest and least powerful litigants. He has also been a consistent critic of the dubious way in which Texas selects and retains its judges—through a series of judicial elections that are unabashedly partisan. This month, Jefferson returned to private practice, leaving his post on the highest civil court in Texas nine years after he was appointed its chief by Governor Rick Perry. I recently interviewed him by telephone on a series of issues. First up was the notion of judicial elections. Here's a slightly edited version of our lengthy conversation (the first of a series I'll be posting here at The Atlantic over the next few weeks). Jefferson's remarks aren't just notable for their candor about the structural failure of the state's judicial campaigns. They also shed valuable insight into the motivations behind that failure -- and explain why things aren't likely to change anytime soon.

Cohen: Now that you are off the bench, what are you willing to say about the process of judicial campaigns in Texas? Jefferson: I've...

Read more


/national/archive/2013/10/a-broken-system-texass-former-chief-justice-condemns-judicial-elections/280654/ 2008 2013 26 30 40 60 70 abil account achiev administr affili allow almost also among andrew anoth antonio anytim appeal appoint approach arbit aren articl atlant austin avail b background ballot base behalf behind belief bench black blind branch breath broken call campaign candid candor case chang chief citizen civic civil clue cohen color come communiti competit complet concept condemn confid conserv consist constitu consult continu convers copyright corrupt counti cours court crimin critic dalla day defend democrat describ differenti disguis district doesn dog dollar domin dubious ear easili edit educ elect ethnic ethnic-sound even everi everyday except execut expect expens experi explain extraordinarili failur fair find fine first former free fundrais general given good got govern governor group happen harri hear high highest histori hous houston hundr idea imparti import increas insight intellect interview issu jefferson job judg judici justic justifi kind king know larg last law lawmak lazi least leav legisl legislatur lengthi life like literatur litig live ll long look lost mail major make man manag mani margin market matter mccain media mention merit million minor money month motiv much municip must name neutral newli next nine nonetheless notabl note notion obama offic one onlin opportun ought page parti partisan peopl perpetu perri philosophi place play polit poorest popular post power practic presidenti privat probabl probat problem process profession rais raw re reach realiti reason recent reform regim reluct remain remark replac represen republican reserv respect retain retir return rick right role rule run sad said san say select self self-perpetu senat sens seri sever shame share shed shouldn singl slight smartest somewhat soon sound spend stand state statewid straight straight-ticket structur support suprem sweep system take talk telephon texa texan thing think thousand three ticket time treat tri truth two unabash undermin understand unfortun union upon valuabl ve version versus voic vote voter wallac want way week well wherebi white will win wisest within won work would year