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September 27, 2005


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This is one of my pet peeves.

Michigan Judges should be appointed by a bypartisen board of distinguished attorneys and law professors, which is in turn appointed jointly by the govenor and the legislature.

The present system presents a conflict of interest. Judges can be beholden to their campaign contributors, which often have a special interest other than justice.

Since the candidates can't declare a party, voters have no clue of the judges politics and ideology.

Overwhelmingly, the voters know very little about the judges they elect. The issues usually judges run on usually include crime and sentencing of criminals, while a big part of the work load is civil. Few voters are equiped to evaluate the performance of an incumbant judge.

Appoint judges to 6-year terms and stagger the terms for the sake continuity.

In Michigan our candidates for judicial positions are selected at the political conventions, then placed on ballots. Are they then not political selections? Is it possible for a candidate to win without political support?

In my co-op, the membership elects a board of directors who hire an executive director, who hires other staff. This is not exactly democratic, but no one complains. It is widely understood that the board members are committed to and knowledgeable about the co-op, and can make decisions that benefit the community as a whole.

Likewise, it may be advantageous for judge appointments to be delegated to those who thoroughly understand the judiciary. Then again, if this was a truly representative system, the majority of American people may not be comfortable with the confirmation of, say, Roberts.

In theory, we elect Senators who will then speak for us — and vote for us — where we have no voice. Unfortunately, we are members of the real world, whereas our elected officials are players in a game called "politics." Much like Calvinball, no one has ever figured out the rules, because they can be altered arbitrarily. This begs the question: can the public ever be represented by individuals who function in a different paradigm?

However you look at it, it is unfortunate that the process is politicized at all. Justice, we hardly knew ye.

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