The role of judges: some states try to rig the judiciary

Hard to imagine political news getting even more disheartening, but this, from the exemplary Brennan Center, is indeed depressing. Although it has a soupçon of nuttiness, so if you are inclined either to unwarranted optimism or dark satire, you might find some comfort here. Somewhere.

Or you could read the bizarre efforts Kansas is launching against their own judiciary. Maybe judges in these states will go on strike?

STATE JUDICIAL SELECTION

Editorial: N.C. Judicial Selection Bill Would “Rig” the High Court

A bill passed by the North Carolina Legislature seeks to change the way state supreme court justices retain their seats is an attempt to protect an incumbent Republican justice from facing a challenger, alleges Bob Geary in an opinion piece for Indy Week. If signed, HB 222 allows incumbent justices to run for another term in unopposed retention elections, rather than contested elections. Justice Robert Edmunds, a Republican, “was expected to seek re-election next year, but given that the voters chose three Democratic justices out of four in 2014, and that the 2016 presidential election climate will likely be more favorable for a Democratic challenger, Edmunds was already in some jeopardy.” Geary asserts that the Republican Legislature is set on maintaining the high court’s conservative majority to protect “gerrymandered” districts. “Republican legislators have rigged our state’s election laws so they retain their grip on state government even if the Democrats get more votes. The one serious threat to their scheme: The court could order them to stop.”

UPDATE 6/13/15. As an antidote to the above news, take a read of Jim Dwyer’s About New York column in yesterday’s New York Times. This is what good judges can be:

The Red Hook Community Justice Center has reduced jailings, recidivism and costs, but one city councilwoman has blocked an attempt to duplicate it in Brownsville.

Source: A Court Keeps People Out of Rikers While Remaining Tough – NYTimes.com

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