Monday, November 27, 2006

Keep Judicial Races

A Palm Beach Post op-ed supports getting rid of the Florida judicial elections. The editorial supports letting the state make appointments to the bench. I sympathize with the the Post editorial staff's viewpoint. Judges are usually on the bottom of the ballot. There is little media attention paid to them. Which creates little debate.

There are two reasons for the difference. One is that the judicial races were farther down on the ballot, where voting usually tends to drop off. More important, there is general agreement that people avoid judicial races because they don't know much about the candidates, who aren't allowed to take positions on issues that might come before them.

This strikes me as the same argument used in support of term limits. The voters are too ignorant to know who the vote for. So let's take away the decision from them. I have a few problems with that. It's the voter's responsibility to know the candidates. Voters are also responsible for the bad choices they make. Nixon got elected twice. Not a great call, but the will of the people.

The flip side is we rid of elections and have judicial nominations turn into partisan slugfests. The people would grant the state more power over who presides over the legal system. I'm less than sold on that being a great idea.


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