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June 20, 2018

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
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Featured Program

Judicial Independence
Last Featured: 3/19/2002

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Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

Forty states choose judges for state and local positions through elections. Defenders of the system argue that it is an important extension of our democratic values, allowing communities themselves to choose those who will dispense justice in their areas. Opponents say the system is a sham. ### They claim that judicial elections are fraught with problems from the free speech restrictions barring candidates from talking about specific issues or cases, to the campaign funds raised from lawyers whom they will face in court. Do judicial elections put judges in place that reflect local, community values or do they undermine judicial independence?

Alfred P. Carlton Jr. is the President-elect of the American Bar Association. As a partner with Kilpatrick Stockton LLP, Carlton has had a long career in general corporate law with an emphasis on regulated industries, corporate and public finance, and financial and nonprofit institutions. Carlton has served in a number of positions with the ABA, including the chair of the policy-making House of Delegates, and the Standing Committee on Judicial Independence where he worked to promote reform of judicial elections. Carlton has served as secretary and general counsel to Bancshares of North Carolina, later acquired by Bank of America, and as counsel to the North Carolina Bankers Association. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and formerly was adjunct professor of law at the Campbell University School of Law.

James Wootton is president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform where he advocates significant changes in the civil justice system that are designed to reduce frivolous, wasteful and excessive litigation. Before joining the Chamber Institute, Mr. Wootton was president of The Safe Streets Alliance, a public charity dedicated to education about crime and the Safe Streets Coalition, a public advocacy group with over 130,000 members. Mr. Wootton was Deputy Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention during the Reagan Administration where he helped create the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime at the FBI Academy, and the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Program. In 1986 Mr. Wootton was appointed to the Legal Services Corporation as Director of Policy, Communications and Legislative Affairs, and was later named Counselor to the President.

Closing Quote
"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."

— Albert Einstein

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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Judicial Independence
US Chamber of Commerce: Institute for Legal Reform
American Judicature Society
Excerpt from PBS Frontline on Merit Sleection
Brennan Center
Cato Institute
The Federalist Society
Pennsylvanian’s for Modern Courts
Justice at Stake Campaign
Judicial Independence at the Crossroads : An Interdisciplinary Approach
by Stephen B. Burbank, Barry Friedman
Judicial Independence in the Age of Democracy: Critical Perspectives from around (Constitutionalism and Democracy Series)
by Peter H. Russell, David O`Brien
On the Docket
Highlights of the Supreme Court Term
Presidential Signing Statements