Choosing Justice: Elections and Judicial Independence
From the 6-part series Ethics in America II (2007)

In this hypothetical scenario, John Fairfield, a former prosecutor and respected state trial judge, is thinking of pursuing a life-long dream: a seat on the state Supreme Court. In Fairfield’s state, Centralia, all the judges are chosen in nonpartisan elections, with no limits on what can be spent — or said — in the process of campaigning. Fairfield wonders what will be required of him — especially regarding fundraising and political advertising in what will be a fiercely contested statewide campaign — and what the implications might be for the ethical integrity of the judiciary. Panelists Include Sandra Day O'Connor, former U. S. Supreme Court Justice; Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and Theodore Olson, former Solicitor General.

Funder: Annenberg Media