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Judicial Selection in the States, Herbert M. Kritzer

Reviewed by Hayley Munir

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Do partisan politics or good government concerns explain efforts to reform the rules of judicial selection and retention in state courts? In Judicial Selection in the States, Herbert M. Kritzer illustrates the reasons for change, or lack of change, in judicial selection and retention mechanisms. The book is exceptional because it includes a rich set of case studies that lead to generalizable conclusions. In fact, every chapter, with the exception of the introduction and the conclusion, focuses on at least one state. The research design productively builds on the extant research on judicial selection in the states, which consists of purely quantitative analyses and single-state qualitative analyses. In taking this approach, Kritzer's analysis produces a thorough account of judicial selection procedures and reform efforts in the states.

The book includes an in-depth account of reform and reform attempts in 22 states from 1980 to 2018. It is organized into three parts. The first part of the book focuses on “change as an exercise in partisan politics” (pp. 33–123). In this section, Kritzer shows the cases in which partisan considerations were responsible for reform in judicial selection in four states. Kritzer carefully brings to bear the partisan considerations behind reform efforts, despite partisan efforts not always being obvious.

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