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Specialized judicial education would help supreme court justices and appellate judges of state judicial systems face the unique challenges inherent in their positions. The decisions of appellate judges become the law in their jurisdiction by virtue of the legal maxim of stare decisis. Since their decisions carry such immense weight, appellate judges must strive for excellence in judicial decision-making and opinion writing. As caseloads expand, they must manage to deliver justice within greater constraints of time and budget. Many decisions are controversial and may lead to election challenges. In turn, state judicial elections, especially those at the supreme court level, have become more akin to traditional political elections, even in states where appellate judges are elected on non-partisan or retention ballots. Supreme court justices are often responsible for the administration of the court system, presenting budgets to state legislatures and governors, and proposing legal reform measures to improve the function of the court. [excerpt]

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