The Ottumwa Courier

October 17, 2012

Preserve judicial integrity, vote yes to retain judges


submitted

WASHINGTON — Thankfully, Iowans still have an independent judiciary, and cases like the recent political trials in Washington, Iowa, demonstrate the importance of keeping it that way. A conservative Republican challenger defeated a sitting Republican county supervisor in the June primary. The winner and several others were charged with indictable criminal offenses for minor campaign contribution violations.

Two separate juries found both candidates not guilty. Just verdicts.

Fifty years ago, Republicans and Democrats united to adopt our current merit system of selecting judges using a volunteer, nonpartisan, unpaid, gender-balanced commission who send two names to the governor. The governor must appoint one. This system, for half a century, has removed Iowa’s judges from partisan politics.

How ironic that a conservative Republican gubernatorial reject, unhappy with one decision of the court, is proposing to dismantle Iowa’s independent judiciary. He said on public TV that judges should be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate, eliminating merit selection. Where are the checks and balances?

It would be preposterous to dismantle our bipartisan, merit-based and unbiased judicial nomination process because we disagree with one ruling of the court.

The best way to preserve the integrity of our court system is to vote YES to retain all judges in November.

As a registered Republican and a lawyer, I much prefer living with a few court rulings I disagree with than having my clients’ cases tried by a compromised judiciary.

Richard S. Bordwell

Washington