(Why yes, I have used a variation of this title in a similar post before the 2008 elections.)
In most years, one of the most difficult choices facing voters on election day is which candidates they should pull the lever for in the various judicial races. We're fortunate to have Sisyphus providing guidance for us when it comes to the all important Soil and Water Conservation District contests, but finding a similar voice of wisdom on the judicial side is not as easy.
Glancing at the this year's sample ballot for my precinct, I was surprised by how few judicial positions are even being contested. There's a whole page and a half of such positions listed, but only FOUR offer voters a choice (unless you consider writing in your pet, favorite cartoon character, or Atomizer as a legitimate option in exercising your franchise).
What's also surprising is that in three of the races, that choice is rather clear cut.
We begin with Associate Justice-Supreme Court 6 where former Viking Alan Page faces off against Tim Tinglestad. Based on name recognition alone, Page will likely prevail, but it's pretty clear that Tim Tingelstad is the best candidate:
I am committed to preserving the people's constitutional right to choose their judges through meaningful, contested, non-partisan judicial elections. I believe that justice is served when judges fear God and love the people, and as a Minnesota Supreme Court Justice, I will be impartial to the parties, while partial to the original intent of the Constitution.
In the Associate Justice-Supreme Court 2 contest we have Helen Meyer going against Greg Wersal. Wersal has fought the battle for judicial reform and direct election of judges for years while Meyer was endorsed by the Star Tribune. 'Nuf said.
Court of Appeals 14 features Larry Stauber versus Dan Griffith. Stauber seems like a decent guy although having the banner endorsement on your web page come from your daughter doesn't exactly help make the sale. But Griffith is candidate who promises to help restore the role of judges what was originally intended and he deserves your vote.
Page, Meyer, and Stauber are also all incumbents and all endorsed by the MN Progressive Project. As I mentioned earlier, the choices are clear.
However, there is one race that remains muddied. In Court of Appeals 13 we have Randolph W. Peterson battling Roxann Klugman. Peterson is the incumbent and has a beard, but other than that I can't find much about him. There's also scant information available on Klugman other than that she's from Afton. Not a lot to help a voter make an informed decision. Usually in these situations, my instinct would be to vote against the incumbent (and the guy with a beard), but perhaps someone out there can offer up a compelling reason to support either candidate.
UPDATE-- Luke e-mails to reveal a skeleton hanging in the closet of one Randolph W. Peterson:
Randolph W. Peterson is a former legislator for the DFL. Probably don't want him.
Indeed we do not want a man carrying those scarlet letters. Unless it is shortly revealed that Roxann Klugman was a member of the CPUSA or a witch, she will win our endorsement by default. To quote Homer Simpson, "Default? Woo hoo! The two sweetest words in the English language: de-fault!"