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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

DEPARTMENTS  OF  GOVERNMENT IN A STATE.        345
this change, which we regard as greatly for the worse, seem
to have been mainly two. First, now and then an incompe-
tent man would be appointed on political or personal grounds,
or a certain section of a state clamored for its share of offices,
and had no good material to make judges out of. It seemed
a grievous thing, after such a man was tested, to endure
him for a lifetime. Thus a selection made for unworthy
reasons broke down a good system: the spirit of party was
listened to where it ought not to have any weight; it created
bad judges, and bad judges called for a remedy, and there
was no other remedy so long as the intense party govern-
ment prevailed, but that of" changing the place to feel the
pain."
But the practice spread, not because judges were bad—for
in general this was not the case—but for deeper reasons.
There seemed to be something undemocratic in suffering a
man to fill one of the most important of offices for a lifetime ;
it was like having a king ; and especially inconsistent did it
seem with our institutions, when such an appointment was
left to the governor and the legislature. Why this exception
.to the temporary tenure of all other offices ? Add to this
that by popular election of judges there would be more
chance for inferior lawyers to gain high honor by the help of
party connections. The salary, it is true, would be less than
that which they were now earning, but they could be tolera-
bly sure, after serving in a judicial office, to go back into the
rank of lawyers with a greater prestige. An "ex-judge"
could command better business than he had in his previous
career at the bar, both on account of his title and of his expe-
rience in the work of courts.
The experiment in some states has been attended with
woeful results. A recent attempt to go back to the life ten-
ure, seconded, we believe, by the leaders of the bar in the
state of New York—where judges, resembling the praetor
Verres or Scroggs, had been created by a political vote, and
turned out to be so bad that they were deposed—proved
unsuccessful, for the people would not change the constitu-