Saturday, August 27, 2005

About Time

MINNETONKA, Minn. - When Greg Wersal last ran for Minnesota's Supreme Court, he toted plywood cows from town to town, dragged around an oversized ball and chain and adopted his wife's Scandinavian name for political advantage.

Why? Because he was trying to get the idiotic rules on electing judges here in Minnesota changed. It looks like he may be succeeding.

Wersal filed a lawsuit to change those rules. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court sided with him, saying judicial candidates may attend political conventions, seek party endorsements and personally solicit money, all of which are currently forbidden in Minnesota.

This has always been a pet peeve of mine. When you go to vote, about half of the ballot is dedicated to judicial elections. And there was no way to know where any of them stood on the issues. There was no way to even find out.

In Minnesota, governors typically appoint judges, although they may stand for re-election. Incumbents rarely lose.

Of course they rarely lose. How does a person run against a judge when it's forbidden for them to state their views or even declare their political party affiliation? Why even bother holding elections?

Not long ago I remember reading a story about so-called free elections in Egypt. The people running against the incumbents were forbidden from so much as distributing a flyer, let alone have advertisements on TV. Care to guess who won? This is no different.

Can you imagine voting for President or legislators when you know, literally, nothing about them? Not even what party they lean toward?

Wersal said friends told him he didn't stand a chance at beating an incumbent justice — and as he toured the state, he began to agree. He was prohibited from telling people where he stood on the issues, and when the Republican Party tried to endorse him, he could not accept.

Could there be a more idiotic way to elect judges? Either appoint them for life, or quit wasting my time voting for people that I don't know anything about.

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