Judges: Elected or appointed?

Dean Barkley, who was a U.S. senator because Gov. Jesse Ventura appointed him after the death of Paul Wellstone in 2002, has announced plans to run for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

He’ll challenge Associate Justice Barry Anderson.

“I decided to try a different approach,” he tells the Star Tribune. Presumably, he’s referring to getting elected to something. He finished third in the 2008 U.S. Senate race, and also ran for the job in 1994 and 1996.

He could be right. Most people have no clue about judicial candidates on the ballot, and there are restrictions on what candidates for judicial positions can say. A little name recognition could go a long way.

It also could lead to the ongoing debate of whether it’s better to have judges elected or appointed.

Of course, if judges are merely appointed, you don’t get neat campaign jingles and ads.