Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Enough of the hand-wringing

Oh it's that time of the year. The time for those who see a sweep of local elections to do their hand-wringing about the number of good judges who are about to be booted off the bench just because of their political affiliation.

There is a very strong possibility of a Democratic sweep in Harris County due to the power that Houston holds when the masses are riled up for an election. There were near sweeps in 2008 and 2012 when Obama's presence on the ballot cranked the turnout up in the city. The Republicans swept in the off-year elections when the masses found it hard to give a damn.

Now we have an off-year election in which the masses are hyped thanks to Donald Trump and his daily dose of stupidity and hot air. Off-year elections have tended to favor the party out of power and this year should be no exception.

As y'all know, in Texas we hold partisan elections for judges. It's a pretty lousy system if you stop and think about it, but it's better than the alternatives. Come on, people, do y'all really want the governor appointing judges for what would effectively be life terms since retention elections are the surest bet this side of Alabama and the points?

If we switched to non-partisan races as some have suggested (and this time around it's the Republicans hitching their horses to that wagon), corruption would rule the day as the only folks who would care enough to donate to the races would be attorneys practicing in those courts. At least now with party affiliations judicial candidates don't have to run much of a campaign as the results of each of the judicial races will fall pretty much in line with how Harris County goes on the top of the ballot (and this should be the same in every county throughout the state).

Here's my prediction for what's going to happen next week. Some very qualified and professional judges will lose their jobs. Some folks who have no business on the bench will lose their jobs. Some very qualified attorneys will be elected. Some folks who have no business on the bench will be elected. Guess what? That's what happens every election.

I was speaking with a colleague the other day and she was lamenting the fact that some good judges were going to lose and that it would take a couple of years for the new judges to learn the ropes. That may very well be the case, but if you choose a job in which you rely on the public to re-hire you every four years, that's what happens.

But here's the problem I have with her opinion. There were some very well qualified judges who lost their jobs when the Republicans came to power in Harris County. Not one judge on the bench in Harris County is sitting there because the public thought he or she was a great jurist. They are sitting on that bench because they chose the right election to have an R or a D after their name. Some of these folks went on to become very good judges - and some were terrible judges.

I have no sympathy for any judge running as Republican, whether they be an incumbent or not, because they are running under the banner of a party whose leader (and his devotees) promotes racism, bigotry and discrimination. Their leader has no regard for the truth and blatantly lies whenever it suits him. Their leader has referred to Nazis as good people.

And what have the Republican judicial candidates in Harris County said about their party's leader? Absolutely nothing. They either agree with him or they don't have the guts to stand up to what he promotes. Guess what? You don't get to hangout in the GOP tent for the benefits and then escape the consequences.

So I, for one, will not shed any tears come Wednesday morning.

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