Law: Moving the Business in Philly

In Philadelphia, birthplace of American democracy, local judges are popularly elected. More accurately, they are chosen by the political party in power and then automatically voted in by apathetic voters. They are selected, says District Attorney Edward G. Rendell, not for integrity, legal ability or judicial temperament. "Instead," says Rendell, "these questions are asked: What has the lawyer done for the political party nominating him? What has he contributed to the party in time and money?" The result, say Philadelphia's lawyers, is "a sad bench."

Criminal Judge Thomas A. White was picked to...

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