I'm confident none of you can recall the last time even a single incumbent judge was challenged in an election. In this June's Primary we'll have the unusual opportunity to vote for four contested San Diego County Superior Court seats that have incumbent judges. Not only is this exciting, it's long overdue.
The approach employed this year (the brainchild of the late Pastor Don Hamer) is set to be a true game-changer for the conservative and faith community in finally being able to influence those who will occupy positions having such incredible impact on our lives - judges - but who for the most part are appointed and never challenged in an election for the rest of their career.
I encourage every one of you, and everyone on your own network of contacts, to go to www.bettercourtsnow.com and find out about the four candidates I know I'm strongly supporting, and learn what their judicial views are (the fourth candidate video will be loaded very soon). I also encourage you to listen to the other personal videos from community leaders recorded for this site - many of whom you'll recognize.
Finally, I attached below an article I wrote several months back about judges and the issues that prevent their ever being challenged. I hope it's useful, and I hope you'll consider forwarding throughout your contact networks.
“Creatively Electing Good Judges”
Our representative form of government gives us the duty and privilege to select qualified candidates to serve in elective office. Theoretically, we can hold them accountable by voting in replacements if need be. This process, right or wrong, broken or blessing, has served us since our nation’s founding for executive and legislative branches of government. But, what about the judicial branch? We all know of rogue judges that have thwarted common sense rulings of lower courts or flat out pushed an activist, ungodly, perverse, and sometimes inane agenda. Activist decisions or pejorative treatment of attorneys on the right side of moral issues can pervert justice and create havoc for individuals and the community. Further, judicial decisions originating from a relativistic, non-Biblical worldview can and do encourage wickedness that can lead to the destruction of freedoms, families, fortunes and even life (remember Terri Schiavo?)(Prov 28:5).
So, why can’t bad judges just get voted out? In San Diego County, like the rest of the state, Superior Court judges are virtually untouchable once placed in office by election or how most arrive - by appointment. For example, this year 35 judgeships are up for election, with one being vacated by retirement. The remaining 34 seats would normally be uncontested, with no one willing to compete against an incumbent judge for the six-year term. If unchallenged, that seat will not appear on the ballot and the incumbent is automatically “re-elected”.
Why are attorneys unwilling to run against a sitting judge? For one, a presiding judge is the absolute authority in a courtroom. They control all proceedings and can make or break an attorney. If a lawyer challenges an incumbent judge in an election, and looses, they may well become persona non-grata if ever in that judge’s courtroom. There’s even indication the broader judicial “community” may close ranks and treat that attorney pejoratively, in effect ending the attorney’s career. To add insult to injury, judicial candidates can hide behind the California Code of Judicial Ethics, which provides conduct rules for sitting judges, and judicial candidates during campaigns. Though there’s latitude in what information a candidate can provide, the Code is a convenient excuse to not reveal judicial philosophy, religious beliefs, or personal views on critical issues.
So, what if anything be done? Enter www.bettercourtsnow.com.
As Christians, we want judges to rule fairly and morally (Prov 17:15; 18:5), knowing ultimate accountability rests with the Judge of the universe (Acts 17:31). We don’t want decisions creating new categories of rights or allowing evil to prevail. It’s time to encourage qualified, godly attorneys to challenge incumbent judges that are failing us in their exercise of power. And that’s exactly what www.bettercourtsnow.com is doing. A fully vetted group of four attorneys of known character, qualifications and judicial philosophy have been recruited to challenge incumbent judges that need to be replaced. I would encourage everyone concerned about our justice system to go to this site. Listen to the candidates themselves as well as Christian leaders in the community talking about what’s at stake, then signup to receive information on these attorneys that are willing to put their careers on the line to restore judicial restraint and act in accordance with a worldview consistent with our beliefs. Like poor politicians, poor judges would then be forced to defend their record and answer for times when justice was not served or their “judicial temperament” was a disgrace to the honor of the position they occupy.
Are you willing to go the extra mile to campaign and vote for solid candidates? Go to www.bettercourtsnow.com and get in the game and actively support these candidates – there’s a lot at stake. Without accountability, what hope do we have of eventually returning solid values to this important branch of our government - the judiciary?