Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why oh why?

What wisdom ever dictated that California voters should vote on State Supreme Court justices? Better yet, why are we voting for Appellate judges? You can't find any real useful information about them. You get to vote either yes or no for their 12 year terms of office. Most voters figure the positions have to be filled and they passively vote yes. It's a waste of voter time.

The governor in this state gets to appoint justices, which voters end up rubber stamping. I say just pick your State Senate Committee and then let them decide. Attempts to be "democratic" are counterproductive in absence of useful voter information and some things really shouldn't be voted on.

Comments from the Citizens?


Anonymous said...

It's a holdover compromise from the progressive era, the same folks that brought you direct election of senators (good) and ballot propositions (not so good) and recall elections (silly).

I vote no on every judge. I consider the purpose of this ballot to reflect general popular discontentment with the judiciary, sort of a popularity contest. So I always vote no. The best possible result would be low numbers for each judge (they'll still win, of course, they always do) that spurs people to reconsider the problems with the judiciary here in CA, and everywhere.

Remember Rose Bird? I disagreed, but it changed life here. 

// posted by LTG

Dr. Strangelove said...

LTG's comment regarding his own voting pattern illustrates why California voters should not be asked to vote on individual judges: the vote is not about individual judges. As USWest notes, we just don't have enough information. Even in the 1986 election (which LTG agrees was a bad outcome!) voters' ire was not targeted: they threw out all three Supreme Court judges on the ballot (Bird, Reynoso, and Grodin).

I don't think judges should have to face an election anyhow. We don't want them to be politicians any more than they have to be. I must agree with USWest: whether it's all YES or all NO, voting on judges is a waste of time and mostly just discourages voters. Shorter ballots make happier (and more) voters.

Anonymous said...

It's the same thing with Sheriff. These are law enforcement officers and we don't live in the wild, wild west anymore. I live in the city, which is served by the police. We don't elect our police chief. And the sheriff doesn't serve me unless I am in the sticks. We don't elect park rangers either. So I don't get the hold over from the past of electing a Sheriff. 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

Oh, and to sort of restate Dr. S's point in a different way, the vote for judges only seems to matter when they want to throw them out. So in that case, it is a de facto recall rather than a vote of affirmation.

I looked for solid information on the judges and what I found were bios. Oh, and I learned that one was pulled over for a DUI, but claimed it was a misunderstanding because she was driving erratically due to a flat tire and any field sobriety would have been a problem because she is missing half a leg. Her speech may have seemed slurred because she has a slight Dutch accent. So I guess the officer was dumb? Great. How do you use that to cast an informed vote?

I still say, get a committee together and let them pick. Every 12 years, have the justices go back through a re-confirmation process. Call it done.

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

Who picks the committee?

Many states have judges nominated by the governor and confirmed by one or the other house of the legislature. That seems reasonable to me.  

// posted by RBR