You’ve doubtless seen those commercials on TV featuring retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor encouraging voters of Nevada to choose to have their judges appointed rather than elected directly. One morning I saw the same commercial run twice in a row.
Since the president and the Democrats are so passionate about demanding to know who is sponsoring political messages and whether some of the money might be, gasp, from foreigners, it behooves us to report who is sponsoring this push for judicial selection “reform.”
“The Nevada initiative is part of a nationwide effort supported by George Soros, among others, to eliminate judicial elections in state courts,” reports an editorial in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. “Through groups such as Justice at Stake, Mr. Soros’s Open Society Institute has spent some $45 million on the cause nationwide, according to numbers tracked by the American Justice Partnership. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has emerged as an unofficial spokesman for the effort, but the big money is coming from the political left. Nevada is viewed as a test drive.” (Soros is Hungarian by birth.)
The Review-Journal editorially opposes the appointive process, which appears as Question 1 on the ballot. “The bottom line: Those who favor this proposal simply don’t trust the voters. We do, and we are extremely reluctant to recommend that Nevadans cede some of the minimal power they have over the judiciary.”
I have blogged and columnized on this topic, suggesting that if the voters are so ignorant of who the better judge candidates are, then we should do a better job of informing them. That was Jefferson’s solution. If vetting panels and evaluation panels, both contemplated by Question 1, are good, so be it. Create them, but give the recommendations to the voters, not the governor.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, “States using this so-called merit selection method have had their judicial selections manipulated by lawyers and bar associations that nominate guild favorites. In most cases this has pushed courts to the activist left.”