More Troubled Waters

David Waters’ column in the CA yesterday in which he admitted he had no idea about some of the judicial candidates, continues to roil. He explained that the large number of candidates made it impossible for voters to make informed decisions. He concluded that we should give up that right and let an attorney based board make these decisions.

Coming from a man who works at a newspaper this was extraordinary.

A candidate wrote me, “And from me, one of the candidates he so clearly set forth he doesn’t know. I spoke at countless forums, COUNTLESS, to include your club, Midtown Republican Club, The Northeast Republican Club, MUS, the public library, Jason’s Deli to a dinner club to name a few among many others, and I even held an arboretum walk in Central Gardens. Never did I see him. As I understand it, he failed to respond to invitations. Did he know that I am the only candidate out of 81 candidates that sits on the disciplinary panel that oversees the ethical complaints that come in against the attorneys? I find his comments frustrating. Thanks for your comments as I remain frustrated by what he said. I did my part, has he done his?”

An excellent question. I had invited political reporter Kyle Veazey to our meetings along with Jackson Baker and Bill Dries. Baker came and later wrote about it and about the Germantown Democrats’ similar judicial meeting. No one from the CA has ever shown up, although Dries has.

A letter to the editor in today’s CA made a similar point. A reader wrote “After reading David Waters’ July 30 columnn, ‘The poorly informed make poor judgments,’ I could not agree more. However, I am somewhat bewildered that a journalist who would advocate the Missouri Plan would not pay close attention to the results of the Memphis Bar Association’s survey of its members. Someone wanting to become informed about the current election of judges and court clerks should start with the results of the MBA Judicial Qualification Poll, which is available at the Memphis Bar Association website.”

Indeed.

If you’re unwilling to put a little time into vetting candidates, then don’t vote. But let the rest of us vote. Competition is a good thing in politics – or at least it was in the old U.S.A. We want to learn what these people think before we cast a vote. That privilege is taken away in the Missouri plan.

Also, what recourse does the ordinary person have if a judge is a stinker? He/she can complain to boards all they want, but without getting to vote that can be futile. I guess crony politics never happens in legal circles then.

I would rather have only informed citizens vote and let the uninformed voter stay home and watch Dr. Oz. Unfortunately a lot of them decided to go out and vote in 2012 because they liked Obama. We see where that has got us.

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