Institutional Effects on the Careers of State Supreme Court Justices
We contend a direct connection exists between risk of removal from the bench and the length of judicial careers, as institutional mechanisms present varying but predictable degrees of risk to justices. Using event history modeling, we analyze the duration of judicial tenures and resultant levels of risk provided by selection methods. We demonstrate that justices in partisan elections have the shortest tenures and greatest risk of departure. By contrast, the Missouri Plan evidenced the longest careers, offering a trivial amount of risk to justices. We show that the length of judicial careers are, in part, a function of the institutional design of selection and retention systems.
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