Monday, March 19, 2012

Judicial Races

Tomorrow is Election Day, and there are quite a few judges on the ballot.  Need help navigating?  Try for a compilation of how the various bar associations rate the judges on the ballot.  Some judges have 80%, 90%, or even 100% "Not Recommended" ratings.  Get to know who's recommended, and more important, who's not.


  1. I don't and won't vote for judges. I believe it's wrong. Judges are supposed to be unbiased interpreters of the law not political hacks who have better connections. I'm not qualified to judge judges and I wouldn't give two cents for the opinion of self interested bar associations.

  2. Hum. The bar associations interest is in having good judges.

  3. Bradley, you may not be qualified to judge judges and you certainly have no idea what you are talking about with respect to the role of bar associations in evaluating the judges. The Chicago Bar Assoc. (and others) have a very detailed review process, which includes sitting in the court rooms, judge interviews, etc. You would be well-served to check out some of the information. If you fail to vote, it simply means that the unqualified judges have a much better chance of being retained (or getting into higher positions) because their supporters will vote for them.

    I agree that having the general public vote on judicial races may not be optimal, but it is the system that is in place. Your argument is like saying you will not vote for the Presidential race because you do not believe in the electoral college (another antiquated, unnecessary mechanism related to voting).

  4. In as much as the President is elected to represent me and my political views it's totally appropriate to vote, in spite of the antiquated mode. Judges are not supposed to represent me and my political views. They are supposed to represent justice, a perhaps unrealisticly impartial ideal, but at least striving towards impartiality. Apples and oranges.

  5. And one other thing...

    Bar Association... a bunch of lawyers promoting their own to secure their future.

  6. Bradley, wishful thinking is no excuse for a lack of a plan. If you think your idealism works, I have a name for you: Cynthia Brim.

    And I enjoy your subtle elitism: Joe Six Pack can't possibly be trusted to do something as complicated as vote for judges who uphold the law, so clearly, his betters need to step in and do his job for him. Nice.

    Here's another link to judge evaluations:

  7. I won't apologise for that "elitism" any more than I would for the "elitism" of not wanting my surgeon chosen by a group of people who know nothing about medicine.

  8. Judges are supposed to be unbiased interpreters of the law not political hacks who have better connections

    Right. That's why you figure out which ones are the hacks and vote them out - and do the best you can to vote in decent ones (or, as decent as is available .. you have to start somewhere).

    If anyone is feeling similarly lazy with regards to their civic duty (ie - not doing homework), then at the very least ... vote out the incumbents.

    As an aside, judges are the asshats who rotate GBDs back onto the streets, and/or don't put them in jail at all.

    Think about that.

    In short: if you're not part of the solution (voting smart, taking the role of citizen seriously) you are part of the problem.

    On which side of that line do we all want to stand?

  9. I try to figure it out, even went to an event at The Spot and met a few I am definitely voting for. Circling names and passing it around, this six-pack Joe knows....

    I like The Spot...but next time please turn down the music during a "meet the candidates" type event. Even Debra Shore had to yell at me.

    Its not a perfect system but what is, I think elections weed out the worst of the bunch. That counts for something eh?

  10. Perhaps I am comparing a red delicious apple with a granny smith ;)

    Personally, I like having a vote on the judges who make those decisions that affect "others", such as issuing an order of protection against an abusive person, and determining sentences for criminals. Oh wait, those decisions just might affect us.

    Bradley, your comments make me think of an old saying..."The first thing we must do is kill all the lawyers," - the surest way to chaos and tyranny (by removing the guardians of independent thinking.)

    Bradley, your position is interesting. First, you attack the bar associations as promoting their own to secure their future. Interesting point, given that you have no idea which judges being rated are members of which bar associations. Second, you go onto say that you would not want your surgeon picked by those who do not understand medicine. This implies that lawyers should pick all judges. So, are lawyers those bad people who are only protecting their own or are they trusted members of the community who should be entrusted with choosing all judges. Pick one! (yes, I realize this is kind of like voting, but I promise not to submit your vote to any polling place).

  11. I admit that I have an anti-lawyer bias. I also recognize the conundrum my position poses. I reject your dicotomy. I do believe there's a middle ground along the lines of having representatives of the various Bars and citizen watchdog groups present a short-list of candidates ftom which the Governer would be obligated to choose. I also recognize that no system will be perfect. I also reject the statement that refusing to vote out of principal is "laziness."

  12. I also reject the statement that refusing to vote out of principal is "laziness."

    Indeed. Good point.

    I fired that off in more of a general direction - not specifically targeted at you.

    Having said that, a major reason why we're in the state that we're in is that not enough people vote, or ... when they do, they don't vote intelligently.