In appointing Judges how do you tell the smart ones from the not so smart ones?

As many lawyers know Judges aren’t necessarily always the brightest pennies in the legal change drawer. Some are, but not all by any means. Getting appointed as a Judge is often more a matter of political and social connections than legal skills or innate intelligence.

Having said this, how can you prevent a less qualified lawyer from becoming a Judge? What are the practical and procedural gatekeeping checks and balances that (try to) prevent this from happening on a local or regional level?

Friends don’t let friends double post even though the board is slow as molasses in January. Would a mod please delete this port.

I know from experience that this will turn into a debate.

Moved from IMHO to GD.

P.S., astro, I removed your duplicate.

Never mind, the other one was killed quickly by a young model who’s handy with a chainsaw. Keep this one.

It all depends on how judges are selected.

For Federal judgeships, the President usually appoints whoever is recommended by the senior senator of his own party in whichever state has a vacancy. The Department of Justice and White House Counsel (hello, Harriet!) play a role in vetting and recommending prospective judges. The U.S. Senate must advise and consent before the judge takes his or her post.

In many states, judges are either elected, or are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the state senate, or have some kind of merit-selection process (often including laypeople as well as lawyers).

In each process, you’d hope that whoever’s picking the judge will look for someone with an IQ higher than room temperature. But you’d hope for that in any process selecting *anyone * for an important job, and as we all know, it doesn’t always happen.

Sometimes, unfortunately, the selection of a judge owes more to political juice, a popular name, or personal preferences than the judge’s intelligence, temperament or experience. Sad but true.

The same can be said for all elected public officials.