When judges hit the campaign trail
posted by Tom Patterson
at 30 October, 6:01 PM 0
So Judge John Pelander has created a campaign committee to fend off the effort to defeat his judicial retention. Interesting. I thought campaigning was beneath the dignity of our justices. I guess they campaign only when “necessary” – that is only when the normally passive voters in the judicial retention process threatened to actually express an opinion. Judge Pelander seems indignant about the whole thing. He’s campaigning not for himself, you see, but to protect the integrity of the judiciary. Judges deserve to be appointed for life and rule however they please without consequences, because, well, just because. Judges today arguably influence the course of public decision-making at least as much as the lawmakers elected by the people to do the job. Judges are only authorized to enforce the law and the Constitution regardless of their own opinions. Most of them claim to do so. But Judge Pelander’s vote regarding the obviously fraudulent signatures on the “top two” initiative petitions continues a long tradition of proposals favored by the progressive elite receiving better treatment than others. The sales text initiative on this year’s ballot also got a judicial bye from the law that requires the signed and filed ballot language to be substantially similar. Most judges aren’t corrupt, they’re just human. Like the rest of us, their personal opinions can cloud their judgment. In their case, few people except other judges can ever challenge them or force them to rethink their positions. But this is where Sandra Day O’Connor and others who argue for complete isolation of judges have it wrong. When judges personally influence public policy – and they do – they must have some accountability. It’s healthy, not harmful and is the people’s protection against judicial tyranny.
Azcvoices.com is a network of community bloggers created by The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com and 12 News to highlight diverse viewpoints. Members' opinions do not represent the views of Republic Media.