96 Judicature 151 (2012-2013)
The Political Origins of Judicial Elections: Evidence from the United States and Bolivia

handle is hein.journals/judica96 and id is 149 raw text is: THE POLITICAL
OR-IGiNS OF
JUDICI AL
LEC Ti0NS
EVIDENCE FROM
THE UNITED STATES
AND BOLIVIA
Comparative aalysis of the
adopion and implementation of
judicia 1lct ions in Bolivia and
the U ' Re study identifies four
commonalities between the U.S.
adoption of judicial elections in
the 1800s and the recent Bolivian
move to judicia/ elections.
AMANDA DRISCOLL and MICHAEL J. NELSON

judicial elections have been des-
cribed as a uniquely American insti-
tution.' Initially adopted by a handful
of states in the mid-1800s, judicial
elections quickly diffused across the
country as many U.S. states began
rewriting their state constitutions.
By 1860,21 of the 30 American states
elected their judges.2 Today, the
vast majority of judges in the United
States must stand for election.' Yet,
while the American legal style is
going global, judicial elections are
rarely used to select or retain judges
outside of the United States.4

With the adoption of its new con-
stitution in 2009, Bolivia became the
first country in the modern world
to use judicial elections to select
judges for courts with national juris-
diction. On October 16, 2011, Boliv-
ian citizens cast ballots to elect 56
judges to the Bolivian Supreme Court
(Tribunal Suprerno de Justicia), the
Plurinational Constitutional Tribu-
nal (Tribunal Constitucional Plurt-
nacional), the Bolivian Agricultural
Court (Tribunal Agroambiental),
and the high administrative body of
the national judiciary, the Bolivian

1. jed Shugerman, Economic Crisis and the
Rise ofjudicial Elections and Judicial Review, 123
HARVARD L. REV. 1061-1150, 1064 (2010).
2. Roy A. Schotland, Myth, Reality Past and
Present, and judicial Elections 3S IND. L Rv.
659-667,661 (2002),
3. Jeffrey Rosinek, Some Thoughts on the Prob-
lems of judicial Elections, 41 COURT Rev. 20-24
(Summer, 2004).
4. R. Daniel Kelemen and Eric C. Sibbitt, The
Globalization ofAmerican Law, 58 INT'L ORG. 103-
136, 131 (2004). Outside of the United States, the
direct election of judicial authorities is rare and
generally reserved only for courts with limited
jurisdiction. The most prominent exception
comes from Japan, whose Supreme Court judges
are subject to retention elections. To date, no
Japanese judge has ever lost an election. David S.
Law, The Anatomy of a Conservative Court. Judicial
Review in Japan, 87 Tx. L. REV. 1545-1594 (2009),
WW   A)iRQ       idIC~llikE  151

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