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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    The Health-Care Crowd Now Is Picking Your Judges

    By Publius, Section News
    Posted on Wed May 25, 2011 at 01:46:02 AM EST
    Tags: Law, Judicial Selection, Politics (all tags)

    by Publius, Section News

    After the uprising of the 17th June
    The Secretary of the Writers Union
    Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
    Stating that the people
    Had forfeited the confidence of the government
    And could win it back only
    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?

    --Berthold Brecht, "The Solution"

    And when the people have forfeited the confidence of the Party by choosing conservative judges, would it not be easier for the Party to select its own judges?  Having figured out that the surest way to effect permanent "liberal" change is to impose it by fiat, the Left has been on a decade-long Soros-funded campaign to replace judicial elections with "merit selection."  Now this campaign has come to Michigan.  And it's far, far further along than you believe.  

    Understand, first of all, that while "merit selection" sounds wonderful - who could be against merit? - what matters is who decides merit, and by what criteria.  When the Michigan trial lawyers choose the judicial candidates, it means the Left substitutes its handpicked activists for the more conservative "law and order" judges the people often vote for.    As Dan Pero notes in the linked article, when your selection panel is three lawyers from the American Bar Association, three lawyers from the American Trial Lawyers Association, and a token conservative, you're not going to get any Scalias or Robertses.  

    Michigan's supposedly "non-partisan" task force was ostensibly assembled to examine better methods of installing judges.  There are two problems with this.  One, the task force already assumes that judicial elections in Michigan are choosing poor candidates (a point one might actually agree with, given the recent elevation of partisan hack Diane Hathaway to the Michigan Supreme Court), and that their job is to come up with a better one.  Two, as you might have guessed, the "bipartisan" task force is anything but. There are a few judicial conservatives (e.g., Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Whitbeck, who is very well respected), but they are heavily outnumbered by the "merit selection" crowd (heavy on Democratic Party contributors).

    The task force is holding a forum on Tuesday, June 14th, at Wayne State Law School.  While the speaker panel is claimed to be of diverse opinion, the sole voice on the right will be that of former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, the Hon. Clifford W. Taylor.  As for the other speakers, they are (from the notice):

    *    Mark Brewer, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, and Robert LaBrant, general counsel of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, who will offer supreme court campaign practitioners' perspectives on fundraising, advertising and opportunities for reform;

    *    Hugh Caperton, plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Caperton v. Massey Coal Company, who will offer a first-person account of a collision of due process rights and free speech rights, and campaign spending as a threat to impartial courts;

    *    Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, on Michigan's failure of campaign finance accountability in supreme court campaigns;

    *    David Rottman of the National Center for State Courts, on campaign conduct committees as a mechanism for safeguarding truth in judicial election campaigning; and,

    *    Rebecca Kourlis, former justice of the Colorado Supreme Court and executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, on judicial performance evaluations as a tool for voter information.

    These speakers are Left, Left, Left, Way Left, and Left.  Note especially Rottman: if installing a "mechanism for safeguarding truth in judicial election campaigning" doesn't send an Orwellian chill up your spine, you're not paying attention.  Sandra Day O'Connor is being trotted out as honorary chair, but you know perfectly well she long ago went over to the Dark Side.  Apparently O'Conner seriously believes that allowing the trial lawyers to select judges is "[how] we keep political influences and cash out of the courtroom."

    Not content with stacking the deck, the organizers have gone out of their way to not only skew the composition of the task force, and to skew the composition of the "experts" speaking, but additionally to sideline the few conservatives who are members, by holding "invitation only" meetings before the fora - and there is a pretty good paper trail about this being done intentionally to exclude conservatives.  See pages 663-66 of the linked Wayne Law Review article, documenting these maneuvers in connection with a related assembly last year.

    Even the main "forum" is heavily skewed toward one point of view -- AND it's run by the League of Women Voters, another fine-sounding organization which has received Soros money. Moreover, this "forum" is only open to those who register IN ADVANCE. You can't show up without a reservation. They will not let you in.

    Depend upon it, the goal is to make sure the audience is sympathetic only to one viewpoint ("merit selection," which equals "selection by groups of lawyers").  The task force majority will present this forum as a balanced presentation of the issues and the audience will be said to be representative of what most people think on this issue.

    What do I suggest? Anyone in Michigan, or anywhere else, who has even a passing interest in not being ruled by kings in black robes will register TODAY. If told that no more spaces are available, demand to know why. Cartago delenda est.

    < Detroit Schools And Illiteracy | A Wednesday Divertere: President Obumbles >

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    Display: Sort:
    How are these things populated? (none / 0) (#1)
    by JGillman on Wed May 25, 2011 at 11:32:50 AM EST
    Who makes the call?

    Sounds like the "Missouri System" (none / 0) (#4)
    by Republican Michigander on Wed May 25, 2011 at 12:20:59 PM EST
    The ABA or similar group sends a list of "merit" judges to be picked by governor.

    I oppose it. Personally I like the Supreme Court race should be picked the same way as the appeals judges. Old fashion primary and general elections.

    Federal Judicial Selection Proves the Point (none / 0) (#5)
    by Publius on Wed May 25, 2011 at 12:47:28 PM EST
    I've had suggested to me that since Federal judges are appointed, not elected, that merit selection is fine and dandy.  There are three fallacies with this position.  First, that assumes Federal judges are indeed fine and dandy.  I submit a large number of them are wildly leftist in orientation (Proposition 8, anyone?).  Second, Federal judges must be confirmed by the Senate, and are often required to testify.  So there is an airing of their positions, their competence, and a vote by elected representatives; they don't assume their bench seat simply because the Michigan Bar Association activists handpick them.  

    Third, there has long been a weird asymmetry in approaches to Federal judicial appointments, with Republicans by and large taking the position that the President is entitled to the judges of his choosing, and the Democrats taking the position that the courts are a crucial field for imposing their policies and therefore conservative judicial candidates must be opposed by any means available.  Bork? Estrada? Owens? Saad, Boyle, Myers, Haynes and Wallace?  Keisler, Robert Conrad, Matthews, and Glen Conrad? William Smith, Shalom Stone, Loretta Preska, Gene Pratter, Paul Diamond? And literally dozens more. The list of excellent Republican judicial candidates blocked purely on ideological grounds is long; the list of Democratic nominees blocked on ideological grounds is... Goodwin Liu.  And Liu would have been a poor choice for an appellate judicial position on any grounds, given his lack of any relevant experience and his publicly demonstrated bias.

    And make no mistake, the Democrats have found obstruction pays.  Not only have they kept off the bench many superb conservatives, Obama has filled at least nine Court of Appeals seats, and thirteen District Court seats, that the Democrats blocked Republican nominees from. In fourteen cases, the Democrats blocked second and even third nominees for the same seat.  Federal judicial appointments are not merit selection; they are an exercise in bare-knuckled power politics.  

    So no, I don't think the federal court experience demonstrates that "merit selection" is a good practice.  It demonstrates "merit selection" is all too often an oxymoron, like Peacekeeper missile, quiet riot, public education, and Congressional ethics.

    • What you said by JGillman, 05/25/2011 12:58:52 PM EST (none / 0)
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