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67 Albany Law Review 769 (2004)


Judge Thomas J. Spargo serves as a fascinating poster-child in the debate on what’s wrong (or right) with judicial elections. Judge Spargo, campaigning for re-election as Justice of the Berne Town Court in upstate New York, was accused of “failing to observe the high standards of conduct” expected as a judge because he handed out doughnuts to voters. Judge Spargo’s case and others illustrate that popular debates about the merits of judicial elections versus judicial selection commissions have probably been mis-focused on two “second-order questions rather than concentrating on “first-order” concerns in judicial selection. This article discusses these questions and concerns and takes a look at judicial elections versus the judicial selection commissions.