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Home » Why Politicians Shouldn’t Appoint Judges: Aziz Huq (Transcript)

Why Politicians Shouldn’t Appoint Judges: Aziz Huq (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Aziz Huq’s talk titled “Why Politicians Shouldn’t Appoint Judges” at TEDxChicago conference.

American legal scholar Aziz Huq’s talk, titled “Why Politicians Shouldn’t Appoint Judges,” delves into the complexities and inherent flaws within the current system of judicial appointments in the United States. He articulates concerns over how this system, deeply entwined with political processes, can undermine judicial independence and, consequently, democracy itself.

Huq outlines the historical context, explaining that the framers of the Constitution designed the judiciary as an unelected branch to act as a safeguard against the misuse of public power. However, he argues that the framers’ intentions have been compromised by the evolving landscape of partisan politics and increasing polarization. The talk highlights examples of how the Supreme Court has made decisions that weaken protections for free and fair elections, suggesting a drift from its intended apolitical stance.

Huq proposes exploring alternative methods for appointing judges that minimize political influence, drawing inspiration from systems used in other democracies. His persuasive argument calls for a significant reevaluation of the appointment process to preserve the judiciary’s role as a pillar of democracy and a protector of the rule of law.

Listen to the audio version here:


The Peril to American Democracy

All of us who saw the shocking violence of January 6th at the U.S. Capitol knew then and there that American democracy was in clear peril. But the sheer spectacle of that moment can be misleading. It can lead us to lose sight of how the attack on the U.S. Capitol was just the culmination of a long, slow-moving campaign against our democracy, not just through violence, but also through law.

I want to untangle one thread in that campaign. My story is about how an institution that we look to as a guardian of the rule of law, the courts, can be turned into an instrument for corroding our democracy. At the beginning of our republic, the framers of the Constitution created a third, unelected branch to our national government called the federal courts.

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