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Who Shall Judge?

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Commenting that most Americans know the least about the third branch of government, the judicial system, actor E. G. Marshall discusses the merit plan for selecting judges.
The film combines cartoons, films of judicial system components, and history to describe the problems of the judge selection process in the United States and the merit plan proposed by the American Judicature Society. A typical election ballot is shown to emphasize the fact that few voters know about the qualifications of the judges they vote for in every election. The narrator points out that motives for judge selection are often less than laudable they include friendship, a reward for political contributions, or the avoidance of controversy. In contrast, the proposed merit plan consists of (1) a nominating commission to produce a list of qualified candidates, (2) executive appointment that is limited to the list of candidates selected, and (3) judge accountability to the public for performance. Effective disciplinary measures and adequate compensastion and retirement provisions are also important components of the plan. The film emphasizes that the judge is a key figure in the criminal justice system and that the court system needs public help and understanding.


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