Tuesday, October 26, 2004

More such and nonesuch about electing judges in Virginia

Ed Lynch has more ideas in this column following up on his support for elected judges in Virginia.

One thing he says is this: "there is nothing in Virginia law to prevent personal injury attorneys from contributing to legislators who will pick the judges who will later hear the attorneys’ cases." That's true, although I don't know that the Republican legislators are particularly responsive to the agenda of personal injury attorneys, or even to the Chamber of Commerce attorneys these days.

Something else he says is that "it is likely that minutes after Virginia decided to elect judges, both the candidates for judgeships, and the various lawyers’ organizations, would announce that the latter would not offer, and the former would not accept, any such contributions." That's wrong, some lawyers would insist on their First Amendment rights, that's what lawyers do.

He says the basic objection is that "the people are not qualified to select judges on their own." The people aren't the problem, the candidates would be the problem, and what they want or have to do by necessity or mendacity to get elected, sacrificing their independence for votes and money.

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