By the same token, no federal judges have ever had their names on public ballots for the offices they occupy in the judicial branch of American government.
It's hard to imagine any more different systems of selecting judges than exists in federal courts as opposed to Mississippi courts.
In this state, only municipal judges may be appointed. The people selected to serve cities at the "Judge Judy" level of cases - which is a very important level because it deals with real people facing real problems - are subject to hiring or dismissal by the town's elected officials.
Otherwise, their equivalents of city judges at the county level - justice court judges - are elected from districts.
And here's a little bit of trivia: The only judges in the Mississippi and federal court systems who do not have to go to law school and become licensed attorneys are justice court judges and members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Justice court judges were justices of the peace or JPs in earlier years. They don't need law degrees, the Legislature believes, because they deal with right and wrong and whom to believe.
The nine justices of the nation's highest court have always had legal educations or experience, but it's not required. The U.S. Constitution says only that there shall be a supreme court and "such other courts as Congress" shall create. In creating the other courts, Congress limited appointments to law school grads, but because the Constitution doesn't impose that qualification or any other on members of the top court, Congress can't add it. In theory, a president could appoint a doctor, an airline pilot or a movie star.
The Constitution says further that presidential appointees - and presidents appoint all federal judges - "are to subject to the advice and consent" of the Senate.
So, as everyone expected, as soon as Kagan's name was announced, Republicans started listing her shortcomings. Democrats have rarely failed to provide the same reactions to nominees of a Republican president. And what follows, especially today, are highly partisan, highly publicized hearings and discussions on whether the nominated judge will, singlehandedly, reverse the course of human advancement orsinglehandedly create a better world for us all.
Mississippi is at the other extreme. The problem here, if there is one, is that people know too little, if anything at all, about those who will get such powers as deciding child custody in a divorce, sentencing people to life in prison and, at the highest level, deciding whether a condemned person received a full and fair trial.
Judges don't run under party labels in Mississippi anymore and, under clear rules, about the only statements they can make as candidates is that they'll do their best.
So, as illustrated in several recent campaigns, the way to get elected in Mississippi is to "get your name out there" and the way to do that is buy media time, yard signs and send lots of letters with photos of yourself, your spouse, the kids and a dog or two.
Money to do this has to be raised, and the best way to raise money is to hint you're the kind of person people with big money would like to have deciding the big money cases. Under this approach, a judicial race can become a bidding war - a contest to see who can buy a judgeship.
Most states combine a system under which governors appoint from a list of nominees screened based on experience and qualifications and then, after a period of years, the public has a chance to vote on affirming or rejecting continued service by the appointee.
This topic is discussed from time to time in Mississippi, but has never gotten traction with the Legislature.
It would be great to have a flawless selection system to guarantee perfectly neutral judges would administer courts because judges can wield as much or more power than any president, governor or any state or federal lawmaking body.
But no such system is known to exist, so we'll continue with vastly different U.S. and Mississippi approaches to picking people to make the decisions we're unable to make among ourselves.
And in this state, at least, we won't be treated to spectacles of the sort federal confirmation hearings have become.
Charlie Mitchell is executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. Write to him at Box 821668, Vicksburg, MS 39182 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.