Elections cannot hold judges accountable for a variety of reasons. These include the low level of voters’ interest in judicial elections and voters’ low level of specific knowledge about judicial issues. If the public is not interested in judicial elections, they will be less likely to hold the justices accountable for their rulings since the rulings will go unnoticed. Similarly, if the public lacks specific information on the Constitution and judicial issues, there can be no talk of judicial accountability. This is because the public does not know if the justices interpreted and applied the law correctly.
Another issue is that elections do not always ensure judicial accountability to the public. Since justices receive the most campaign funds from prominent political and business figures, they may become accountable not to the public but to those who finance their campaign. For example, business and conservative groups accounted for 7 of the top 10 spenders on the U.S. judicial elections in 2011-12. These groups aim to influence the interpretation of the law by judges. Because justices depend on their money to win the elections, the subject of accountability shifts from the public to the campaign funders.
Additionally, when the voters rely on a political party’s approval in judicial elections, they do not base their voting decision on information about the candidate’s performance and background. Therefore, judicial accountability becomes blurred as justices become accountable to the political party, not the public.