Journal Symposium Will Examine Debate Over Judicial Elections

October 16, 2015

The Journal of Law & Politics will examine judicial elections at its annual symposium Oct. 23 at the University of Virginia School of Law.

The symposium, "The Merits and Disadvantages of Judicial Elections," will bring together scholars and practitioners from both sides of the debate to examine the value of giving citizens the ability to have a say in their local jurisprudence, versus the threat of politicized justice.

"Several states allow the citizenry to elect local judges," said third-year law student Travis Andrews, the journal's editor-in-chief ."Yet there appears to be a wide spectrum of opinion on this practice, both within the academic community and among legal practitioners."

Justice Brent D. Benjamin of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia will deliver the keynote address at 12:05 p.m. in Caplin Pavilion.
Benjamin was elected in 2004 and served as chief justice in 2009 and 2013.

The Journal of Law & Politics, a student-run organization, focuses on the intersection between politics and the law, including elections and their interplay with the legal system. The journal is the first and only nonpartisan publication devoted exclusively to examining the interaction between law and politics. Founded in 1983 under the guidance of then-Circuit Judge Antonin Scalia, the interdisciplinary publication consists of articles, essays and commentaries by scholars, practitioners and national political leaders.


Friday, Oct. 23

All events are in Caplin Pavilion.

9-9:45 a.m.

9:45-10 a.m.
Opening Remarks
Professor Risa Goluboff , University of Virginia School of Law

10-11:30 a.m.
Panel One: Merits and Disadvantages of Judicial Elections

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Lunch and Keynote Address
Justice Brent D. Benjamin , Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

1-2:30 p.m.
Panel Two: Judicial Elections and Free Speech

  • Professor Leslie Kendrick , University of Virginia School of Law
  • Professor Josh Wheeler , Director, Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression; Adjunct Professor, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Moderated by Professor Deborah Hellman , University of Virginia School of Law

2:30 p.m. Questions from the Audience and Final Remarks


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Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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