In six-plus years of blogging, I've never failed to be impressed by the quality of the e-mails received from our readers (the constant text messages from Atomizer are another matter entirely). The recent search for more information on the local judicial races only serves to reinforce this feeling.
This e-mail from Doctor Karen is a great example:
Here is some general information. First, here is a superbly written op-ed from the Strib a few days ago that really explains how bad the judge selection process is and how corruptly full of political patronage it is as well as how dangerous it is to having honest and free judicial elections, and how patronizing the legal community can be. It explains perfectly why the incumbent label is very suspect for judges. Secondly, although not great, because it doesn't contain list of specific decisions, this voter guide at Minnesota Lawyer does contain candidate answers to a set of the same questions, so one can get some idea of their temperament and philosophy for the contested races. There are profiles in other voter guides, such as the Pioneer Pressand Star Tribune.
Now, here are my comments as an individual citizen with extensive experience in conservative policy research and advocacy, not on behalf of any group with which I am associated, on individual races:
* Supreme Court-
Tinglestad vs. Anderson - I am supporting Magistrate Tinglestad, because of my knowledge that Justice Anderson authored the Doe vs. Gomez decision that mandates taxpayer funding of abortion, a decision that I find both constitutionally and morally abhorrent, and because I have met Magistrate Tinglestad and am impressed with his personal integrity and fidelity to principle.
Hedlund vs. Gildea - I am supporting Judge Hedlund over Justice Gildea because of my friendship with her and my personal knowledge of her high levels of integrity and fidelity to principle, for her long record of judicial experience trying every kind of case, especially criminal, for public safety and fiscal responsibility reasons, and because Justice Gildea has skipped almost every opportunity for a head to head debate or forum where the public could ask questions in order to make an informed decision, numbering about 15 since primary season.
Here are some opportunities for the public to hear at least from Judge Hedlund before the election. Justice Gildea will be on the Gary Eichton show, but MPR will control the questions:
October 29 5:00-7:00 P.M. Hennepin County Government Center Lower Auditorium 300 S. 6th St. MPLS
A forum provided by Voting for Judges
November 1 5:00- 7:00 P.M. KTLK 100.3 FM Radio with Sue Jeffers
* Court of Appeals -
Griffith vs Stonebruner - I am supporting Mr. Griffith because of the recommendation of people that I respect with similar conservative philosophy to mine both in and out of the legal profession, I have heard him interviewed on the radio and was impressed, and because of the whole issue of appointment vs election of judges.
* District Courts - Because of the reasons cited above about the appointment/election issue and recommendations from people within and without the legal profession that I respect, I will be supporting the challengers in every contested election. I do not have information about the judges in uncontested races.
Piper vs Ranum - This is an open seat. I will be supporting David Piper because of my knowledge and direct observation of former DFL Senator Jane Ranum's extremely liberal voting record and because of the Democrats' intent to use the courts to redistribute wealth among other heinous, freedom squashing uses.
Whew. That's a lot of information to digest. Having now heard good arguments for both candidates, consider me officially torn in the race between Hedlund and Gildea.