How do I inform myself with respect to electing judges?

I know there may be some judges I would not want to elect.
For instance, there is one judge in Texas who consistently rules in favor of copyright trolls. I don’t want to inadvertently elect someone like that.

Is there any website or agency that takes it upon themselves to keep track of judges’ track records, especially, say, potential deal-breakers? (important rulings)

I made an effort to find this info myself, but maybe my google-fu is weak today – I found nothing.

Please note that I must go out this evening and so won’t respond right away; but when I return I will be reading any responses eagerly and with gratitude.

Edit: I am in California

Your state bar association would probably be a good starting point, although a quick Google search seems to indicate that in California, county bar associations (I didn’t even know that was a thing) rate and recommend judicial candidates. I’d start with your local county bar association.

State bar is a good choice.

You can try googling for judicial endorsements. eg, LA Times: For Corrigan, Kruger and the Court of Appeal justices, voters should just say “yes.” None face any organized opposition campaign, and each has demonstrated proficiency on the bench.

You can try ballotpedia. eg That’s a good choice if you don’t want to rubber stamp judges that have no organized opposition.

If you live in an area where there’s a local “alternative paper” you can crosscheck what they say versus the local “big” news outlet. I used to do that with the LA Weekly, but they are a shadow now and it doesn’t seem they do a ballot guide any more. As a citizen it is worth it to do as much research as you can. A couple years ago there was a local judicial election in which a demonstrated incompetent was up against a loose cannon with violent temper…pick your poison, but at least you made a choice.

Carol Corrigan voted to keep the ban on same sex marriage and wrote the dissent. I voted NO on her. The rest I left blank.

Check their websites first. They’re usually more guarded than political candidates, but you can determine what they prioritize.

Reading alternative weeklies will almost certainly bias towards the left. Maybe that’s what you might want, but be aware they’re a single viewpoint.

Ballotpedia is a decent resource. Sometimes it comes up short, but it’s better than nothing and it allows people on both side to leave (factual) information.

here in Ohio, there’s Bar Association that ranks judges as qualified or not; however I don’t think there’s database listing actual case record (the only way I knew abysmal rulings by specific judge is when I read about current case).in fact one judge stopped ruling record as court secret during election

  1. Ballotpedia is great compared to anything else in our state.

  2. It falls far short.

This is how bad our state is about voter information. It really sucks. I Googled for sample ballot/voter information/etc. And the hits were dismal.

I got a ton of hits for old elections, of course. So I selected within the past month. Despite a unique county name in the search I got mostly hits for other counties and even states on the other side of the country!

One hit was for Ballotpedia’s page on my county. Which says at the top “This is a stub.” Dear Google: If a page contains the phrase “This is a stub.” and little else do not put it on the first page of results.

I also got a link to our county’s election web site. Which had a link to the state’s election site. Grrr. And of course that site was useless. It was basically a taxpayer supported site for the election campaign of the SoS. No ballot info at all.

The local paper came up. But again, no info just a link to the League of Women’s Voters site. Which was complete useless. I mean, you enter your address and still they have no clue as to what districts you are in or anything.

And on and on.

We voted early yesterday. Despite trying to find out as much as possible on all races, there was one race that no sample ballot or anything mentioned. But it was a minor post with only one incumbent candidate so we had no way to vote against him anyway. (In our county, always voting against the incumbent is a good idea.)

Good question, I don’t know. Personally I just look at who appointed them and if I supported that politician I lean towards supporting the judge. But finding decent info on their views isn’t easy.

That’s probably the best thing to do, leave blank the ones you know absolutely nothing about, but it galls me to leave a race blank on a ballot. I have an English friend who was gobsmacked to learn some judges are elected in the US.

Where I am, virtually all of the judges on the ballot are unopposed. What’s the point? I am always tempted to write in Judge Judy.

We have “none of these candidates.” Still a neutered vote (second place then wins, though with a big asterisk). That’s my default vote if I don’t care or don’t know about the election.

Thanks for starting this thread. I am also quite unsure on how to vote for judges.

I’ve heard this a lot, but I feel like it’s potentially a pretty bad way to choose judges. I don’t want to choose judges who agree with me on political positions. I want to choose judges who are wise and learned and thoughtful.

The first paragraph of Corrigan’s dissent on this is

So, she agrees with gay rights, but is reluctant to overrule the vote of the people without compelling Constitutional authority. That reasoning seems like a good quality in a judge.

She’s lying and her reasoning was bullshit. It’s wasnt about gay people “calling their unions marriages.” It was about gay people’s unions having the same privileges as marriages.

She also dissented in a case regarding the statute of limitations on child molesting priests.

She is a staunch Catholic (nothing wrong with that) who, in my opinion, puts her religious beliefs above the law.

I’m going to be the predictable foreign interloper who says that the concept of electing judges is just utterly alien to me.
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For the sake of completeness, patent trolls file a lot of lawsuits with the Eastern District of Texas in the 5th US Circuit. Those cases don’t all go to one judge, and the number has gone down in the last couple years after a ruling that for purposes of venue a corporation “resides” in the state it is incorporated (I think Delaware probably saw an uptick because of this).

As such, you don’t have to worry about elections. Those judges are at the federal level and appointed, rather than elected. I suppose you can indirectly affect it (even in California) by supporting members of Congress who would not confirm such judges.

But that does bring up a good point that it’s a good idea to check which elections are local or state and which are federal.

As a fellow Californian, nthing Ballotpedia as better than nothing/a decent place to start on the state supreme court judges. At any rate, it’ll give you info on which governor appointed each of them. (In the case of Corrigan, it had a bit more info than that.)

My next step is to look for endorsements. I try to find interest group endorsements, not just party ones.

Side issue, which I hope isn’t a derail: many people think electing judges is bad policy, including commenters on this thread. (I agree with the propostition.) Does participating in judicial elections legitimize this process/practice? Would voting “no” on re-confirming all judges spur any change, if enough of us did it? Personally, I’m enough of a consequentialist that I can’t bring myself to adopt a “vote no across the board” policy on judges or ballot initiatives.

Excluding recalls, it’s very rare for a judge to get voted out. I recall a judge in L.A. county some years back who was so awful that the defense attorney group and the prosecution attorney group, in an unprecedented act, joined together to try to defeat the guy. He still won.