For those of you interested in why states are important, you might read Pennsylvania Could Become a National Outlier in How it Elects Appellate Judges by former Virginia reporter Marie Albiges.
One of the reasons why states matter has to do with judicial selection. We are somewhat unique in Virginia in that our judges are chosen in the legislature, not by direct election of the people. In contrast, most states choose judges by popular elections. These can be quite costly and divisive. There are many states where judges do not identify with a party as they seek election. Nonetheless, the public easily can identify them as either conservative, liberal, or moderate, and make their choices accordingly. While the Virginia system has generated an Appellate and Supreme Court bench that is generally conservative, our selection process avoids costly elections where people choose not necessarily on whether a person is capable of being a good judge but instead upon how a judge is sold to the electorate.
We are now see seeing a tendency emerging in states, mostly red ones, where legislatures are trying to gain more control of the judiciary in order to stock it with conservative judges. This article shows how that is occurring in Pennsylvania , but we can expect it all over the country.
Virginia Democrats are trying to increase the number of judges on Virginia’s Court of Appeals, arguing that we need more judges so that justice may be served.
You can read more about judicial selection in the states in my upcoming book, Fighting Political Gridlock: How States Shape Our Nation and Our Lives, to be published late this summer by University of Virginia Press.