They’re not, they’re appointed.
I’ve been noticing a number of Supreme Court related search queries in the blog stats and thought this was a good question to be searching for because the Supreme Court is a new and critical part of our constitutional framework. I’ve studied the House of Lords reasonably well for mooting etc but I’ve read very little on the Supreme Court because it’s just not yet bubbled down to me. Therefore, pinch of salt should follow.
The Supreme Court is a horizontal shift for the House of Lords. It doesn’t actually gain any new powers but the judges get new emails, a new building and court room and they lose their robes and wigs (which I think is a shame).
There are 12 Justices of the Supreme Court who have simply stopped being Law Lords and started being Justices of the Supreme court one day. It’s really probably the best way to get your bench of venerable and well experienced judges from one court to another.
I think that elected judges are a pretty dangerous situation. You don’t actually want the guy who can literally send you to jail trying to appeal to people who read the Daily Mail, you’re not going to measure up. You end up with situations like the US where judges need to differentiate themselves through how tough they are on criminals. It makes wonderful headlines but it’s not exactly Baron Hume. I think there are considerable problems with the appointment model, it appears to be self propagating etc, but it is a better curtailing measure against concentrated state power (a very New World ideal) than if they and the legislature were both chasing after the same votes from the same voters. I think you really want a little bit of heterogeneity in your government.