Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Voters are Not Saints, Judicial Council Is Not A Devil

Posted by Adam Graham on April 25, 2007

For the first time, I’ve been reading their blog, I’m going to respectfully disagree with Trish and Halli on the issue of judicial appointments. There’s an objection to the idea of the judicial council choosing the replacement for Justice Schroeder:

When a Supreme Court justice steps down mid-term he or she is replaced by an appointee, who at the end of the term must face election. Because the appointment operation kicks in only when a mid-term retirement takes place, Justice Schroeder’s actions are seen as a comment on the entire process. He obviously agrees with the Idaho Judicial Council that Supreme Court justices should be appointed, but never elected…

Members of the Council obviously believe their judgment and intellect is superior to that of uneducated, easily swayed voters – average Idahoans who may come before the Idaho Supreme Court seeking justice. If you doubt my assertions, do a little research on the members of the Council for yourself.

Those who understand that checks and balances on each branch are vital to good government believe that Supreme Court justices should be chosen by citizens on election day. The Judicial Council and its sympathizers have found a way around that inconvenience. Fortunately, even the mid-term appointees must face voters when their term expires. Without regular confirmation at the ballot box, the Supreme Court is completely unaccountable to the citizens of the state.

I’m going to concur with the Judicial Council. Our federal constitution has checks and balances, and the result of that system of checks and balances is that Supreme Court Justices are appointed.

Having come from Montana, I’ve witnessed the election of Judges who run quite deceitful campaigns. Justice Kotter in Montana sat at a Lincoln Day Dinner (she was then just a plain lawyer) with me, schmoozing high profile Republians. She was elected and became one of the biggest liberals on the court.

Judicial Candidates who follow the American Bar Association ethics rules for judicial campaigns find themselves hamstrung in trying to describe the differences between themselves and their opponent without committing an ethical infraction.

Judicial elections invariably focus on issues like character, temperment, and reputation not how judges will rule. If there is one thing to change, it’s the fact that the Judicial Council is made up of 3 lawyers appointed by the Bar Association, when we’d be best served by having all 6 appointed by the Governor.

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