Tuesday, September 25, 2007

One Thing Worse Than Throwing Out All Pa. Appellate Judges: Retaining Them

Why the hell am I paying so much attention to judicial races, including the retention races? Two reasons. I'm trying my best to fill an information gap. Second, most judges view their retention as some form of divine right, and that has resulted in an isolated and arrogant judiciary.

PaCleanSweep has taken the easy road. At first, it recommended that voters reject every judge up for retention. It has recently given the Superior Court's Orie Melvin a reprieve from an automatic NO vote because she "has done everything in her power to personally reject the judicial swindle."

Over at Keystone Politics, my friend Blackrobe is going nuts at the prospect of a thinning of the judicial ranks. He directs our attention to an interesting column by Hank Grezlak at The Legal Intelligencer, billed as the oldest law journal in the United States. "I have only one question for the folks at PACleanSweep, who have advocated throwing out all the judges up for retention: Are you guys nuts, or just plain stupid?"

Blackrobe and Grezlak are right. As Grezlak pithily observes, "Movements that embrace absolutism are just forces of tyranny waiting to happen."

Speaking of absolutism, I've been poring over the pages of a magazine you won't find at the local newsstand. It's called The Pennsylvania Lawyer, and has a feature story entitled, "Judicial Election Preview." Don't bother looking for it because it's a total waste of time. This puff piece from the Pa Bar loves everybody. Everyone who seeks retention is entitled. All candidates are recommended.

The Supreme Court's Justice Saylor, in his judicial questionnaire, tries to explain away his $750 fine for attempting to sneak a pocket knife onto a plane after being specifically told this was impermissible. "I paid the civil penalty of $750 to conclude the matter," he huffs. He attempts to minimize conduct that probably would have resulted in more serious charges if you or I were involved.

The Superior Court's Orie Melvin attempts to minimize her five year slapsuits, carried on in two states, against some of her critics, with a mere five words. And she humbly describes herself like this. "I have served as a judge for over 20 years with distinction. . . . I have a strong record of professional excellence. My opinions reveal extensive legal knowledge in various areas of the law and I have excellent writing and decision making capabilities." Legal knowledge in various areas of the law? That's excellent writing?

Despite the judicial arrogance demonstrated in both questionnaires, syncophants at the Pa. Bar recommend their retention, and have even set up a propaganda site. But I agree with Grezlak. "Movements that embrace absolutism are just forces of tyranny waiting to happen."


J. Spike said...

Thats atleast twice you have used Judge Dark Sith Lord pic for a post.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I love that pic and it is the second time.

J. Spike said...

I love it too. Hence I remebered it.

river said...

I'll bet he never goes out in the sunlight just like the old Count