Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Election of Judges...Discuss

(Hat tip to Anonymi for bringing the topic to the fore)

To quote one of my favorite Mike Myers skits: "I'm getting a little verklempt...talk amongst ya-selfs. Lemme give you a topic..." Judges, our supposedly independent branch -- should they be elected?

In Maryland we have a two part system where the Circuit Judges are first appointed and then confirmed every two years by election. As with any other political race, unfortunately, in contentious races, this has the tendency to create the perception of favors by way of donors and the like. The ideal election would be that of Judge Timothy McCrone, where you barely see signs and the entire process is more of a referendum on the political decision and not a political decision in and of itself.

Attorney General Doug Gansler wants to change that process.

My take is that judges are political, period. At least in a electoral process, fundraising laws require that the interests be made known. Appointments create untoward "influences," but we the people are not made aware of those interests. This is just about as sticky an issue as it gets. We spent entire seminars in law school debating this topic. You cannot separate politics from the law no matter how you try.

4 comments:

  1. Even allowing one judge to be appointed thereby circumventing the election process is ludicrous. Judges are exempt from justice themselves, we need MORE accountability not LESS!

    Keep in mind when deciding on this issue, land developers are the MOST LITIGIOUS people in the county and their junk yard dog attorneys are being appointed to judgeships!! One does not need to speculate on the decisions that follow that unhealthy inbred situation.

    Gansler must go.

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  2. No reform to this process will be effective until we remove fundraising from the cycle. If judicial elections are what people want, which is debatable, then they must be publicly financed. Then you won't have developers and trial attorneys filling the pockets of these judges. Money is the corrupting influence. I like the current appointment process. Citizens can still file and run against newly appointed judges if they want.

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  3. Proof of two Anonymi! I am overjoyed!

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  4. Anon 6:17, I couldn't agree more. Heartening to see that others see what is really going on.

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