Adam’s Blog

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

Competence and the Court

Posted by Adam Graham on June 20, 2007

Reading Dan Popkey’s latest shrill screed, one would think that Idaho is headed for the 19th Century:

Idaho has a chance to turn back the clock and make the Supreme Court an institution of white males — just like the bad old days.

Gov. Butch Otter will soon chose among four white men nominated to succeed Chief Justice Gerald Schroeder. That’s in part because of 19 applicants for the first of two vacancies, only two were women and not one was a minority.

Those bad old days predate the enlightenment of 1992 when a woman joined the court, forever shattering the male dominance of the court and guaranteeing freedom and equality for all, but according to Popkey, it’s all at risk because a woman’s not being appointed. Indeed, only two applied, and why:

Gutierrez told me he will apply for Trout’s seat. “When you lack diversity,” he said, “there is an erosion of trust among those who look to the work of the court, whether as a litigant or as one who pays taxes and has never walked through the doors.”

Sadly, Gutierrez’s colleague on the Court of Appeals, Karen Lansing, told me she will take a pass. Why? First, she likes her job. Second, she’s reluctant to face an election challenge in May when voters get their chance to affirm the governor’s appointment or elect another candidate. Lansing has twice been elected, without opposition, because judges on the Court of Appeals haven’t yet attracted challengers. Women on the Supreme Court, however, have faced the only challenges to incumbent justices since 1970: Trout once and former Justice Cathy Silak twice.

Yeah, that’s right, Idahoans are sexists if they dare even think about challenging or not voting for a woman justice. Here’s the truth, I’d be all for a woman justice if she strictly interpreted the Constitution and had the right judicial temperament. That’s what it’s all about.

Justice Gutierrez is wrong, we don’t need different perspectives on the Court, we need competency and adherence to the Constitution and the law. The law is not Black, White, Hispanic, Male, or Female. If our law means anything, it means the same thing regardless of who is interpreting it.

I believe in merit, I believe in the best person for the job. If it’s a woman or minority, great, I’m 100% for it. If it’s a white man, that’s great as well.

A society of equal opportunity is just that. It’s based on merit, not other considerations. Popkey’s suggestion that we ought to use affirmative action with seats on the High Courts and disqualify good potential judges because they’re white males is itself asking us to discriminate on race and gender. And that I’m against.


2 Responses to “Competence and the Court”

  1. Adam, I noticed Popkey’s “guaranteed to honk off the right-wingers” first line yesterday also…

  2. Adam Graham [Member] said

    Bill, welcome to the few, the proud, the Idaho Conservative bloggers! We need more of ’em. Nice work and welcome aboard!

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