An editorial in The Flyer says no, parties should not endorse judges.
“…in Shelby County… our two major political parties, Democratic (sic) and Republican have taken to issuing endorsement slates in judges’ races, with little or no pretense to evaluating the legal credentials of the candidates they honor, but with the all but avowed (or even openly avowed) purpose of getting party members or sympathizers onto the bench. With all due respect, we wish they’d butt out.
“Really, all we want in a judge is somebody who knows the law, understands how it applies in a given instance, and is fair minded about doing so. Later this month, the Memphis Bar Association will be making public the evaluations made by its members, collectively, on this year’s crop of candidates for public office.
“Now those are judgments that might mean something.”
It would be a wonderful world if judges were impartial. But the Democrats have used the judiciary as a tool to promote their policies for so long, it is now entrenched. Whenever a vote goes against them; whenever the other party is in control of government and passes a law they don’t like; whenever they want to smear the other party’s candidate, they run to the bench. Since they have seeded the courts so deeply with their people, they almost always get their way.
Look at the Supreme Court. Credentials matter little to Democrats. They clung to John Paul Stevens and insisted he cling to his seat til the doddering age of 90. He was, incidentally, appointed by a Republican president. The outstanding record of Justices Alito and Thomas mattered little to them. They fought them tooth and nail.
The idea of ever getting politics out of judgeships is incredibly naive. After all, it does basically boil down to two philosophies of governance: those who want big government and less individual freedom and those who want less government and more freedom for Americans. Those are the positions of the two parties, so you will have to come down on one side or the other.
Which means, party affiliation is very important. I for one am glad the parties “butt in.” Citizens deserve to know where candidates stand.
As for credentials, at least in the Republican party they are considered and weighed. Probably more Democrats serve on the bench in this blue county than Republicans, which means some races have only Democrats to choose from. A committee of the party assiduously looked at all the information and decided which Democrat would be preferable in certain races. The Democrats probably do not do this, but I know we do. In a case where no one is deemed particularly worthy, or their is a split decision, our GOP slate leaves a blank for members to decide themselves.
To choose the Memphis Bar Association as a better source of information on judges is also naive. Most of the lawyers are Democrats, and they depend on Democrats for much of their business. Does the editorial really believe they are unbiased? I don’t. Democrats in charge mean more control, more power and ultimately, more money.
In many ways the election of good judges is much more likely to effect your daily life than a senator or governor. If you are ever so unfortunate as to come before one, a Republican would like to know that judge supports the Constitution and our Second Amendment rights. You’d like to know whether they are soft on crime or tough; whether they believe in an individual’s right to privacy and right to property; and whether they believe the government’s rights supersede the citizens. These are all things reflected in the party affiliation.
Until the lion lays down with the lamb, a pure and impartial judiciary will not occur. We already have enough appointed judges. Why not let the people decide and let the people know as much as they can about each candidate?