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Politics in Question

113 EpisodesProduced by Julia Azari, Lee Drutman, and James WallnerWebsite

A podcast about how our political institutions are failing us and ideas for fixing them. Join hosts Lee Drutman, Julia Azari, and James Wallner, three lively experts on American political institutions and reform, as they imagine and argue over what American politics could look like if citizens quest… read more


How should the United States select its judges?

In this week’s episode of Politics In Questions, Judith Resnik joins Julia, Lee, and James to consider how a democracy should select its judges. Judith is the Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the Founding Director of the Arthurs Liman Center for Public Interest Law. Her scholarship focuses on the relationship of democratic values to government services; the roles of collective redress, class actions, and arbitration; contemporary conflicts over privatization; the relationships of states to citizens and non-citizens; the forms and norms of federalism; and equality and gender. Judith has written numerous books and articles, including: Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms (with Dennis Curtis, Yale University Press, 2011); Federal Courts Stories (co-edited with Vicki C. Jackson, Foundation Press, 2010); Migrations and Mobilities: Citizenship, Borders, and Gender (co-edited with Seyla Benhabib, New York University Press, 2009); “Punishment in Prison: Constituting the ‘Normal’ and the ‘Atypical’ in Solitary and Other Forms of Confinement” (with Hirsa Amin, Sophie Angelis, Megan Hauptman, Laura Kokotailo, Aseem Mehta, Madeline Silva, Tor Tarantola, and Meredith Wheeler; Northwestern Law Review, 2020); “(Un)Constitutional Punishments: Eighth Amendment Silos, Penological Purposes, and People’s ‘Ruin’” (Yale Law Journal Forum, 2020); and “Collective Preclusion and Inaccessible Arbitration: Data, Non-Disclosure, and Public Knowledge (with Stephanie Garlock and Annie J. Wang; Lewis & Clark Law Review, 2020).

How should a democracy like the United States select its judges? Why do we need judges in the first place? How do we ensure that the president and Senate appoint good judges?  Is there a single best way? Or does the ideal process change across time? And what reforms can address the dismal state of today’s confirmation process? These are some of the questions that Judith, Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode. 

Show Notes

Judith Resnik, “Judicial Selection and Democratic Theory: Demand, Supply, and Life Tenure,” Cardozo Law Review Vol. 26, no. 2 (2005).

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