Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Judge Elections

(For those of you who are anxiously awaiting my usual "Curling Recap" of last week's games, I've gotten a little behind, and I don't like to rush through these things, so...maybe tomorrow.)

It's primary election day in North Carolina. I've voted - have you?

Now...in the past, I've listed who I plan on voting for in a given election - or, in some cases, who I plan on not voting for. But that often resulted in responses to the effect of "why the hell did you vote for that person?" or "I work for so-and-so, you should vote for my candidate instead, and here's why!" from campaign workers searching Google for their candidate's name and for prospective voters. And, to be honest, I can do without all of that this time around. I'm not even going to say which primary I voted in. (As an Unaffiliated voter, I am allowed to vote in either the Democratic primary or the Republican primary. My choice.)

But regardless of party affiliation, everybody gets to vote for various "nonpartisan" state and district court judges. The locally based Independent Weekly has an interesting article about the process by which judges are chosen in North Carolina (by popular vote). In short: most voters don't know a thing about these judges, and perhaps the electorate has no business choosing our judges at all. I agree, and here's why.

Yes, it's nice to "have a voice", and this is a representative democracy, after all. For legislative positions, we vote for people whose views approximate ours. While this works well for legislative positions, I don't think it's appropriate for judicial positions. It is not a judge's job to make the laws, and it is irrelevant what personal views a judge may have. Their only job is to interpret existing laws as best they can and make reasonable, sound decisions based on the application of existing laws and on logic. Politics should not apply to the judicial system, and that's why these are "non-partisan" elections. It should simply be a matter of who does their job the best. And with that in mind, how should we know which judge does their job the best, especially when most voters don't give a crap about the judges anyway? Well...whatever. There is no perfect system. If there was, everyone around the world would be doing the same thing.

1 comment:

allen_t said...

Electing judges probably came about because of the "good old boy" approach where politicians appointed judges. Wait... I just described the Supreme Court.