Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vote "No" On Keeping Justice Steven H. David

     Time to mention this again.  --As one blogger, there's not a lot I can do to see that Justice Steven H. David is sent to "explore other opportunities;" but I'll do what I can.

     His reading of one of the most basic civil rights is deeply flawed: he believes you shouldn't have the right to resist if police enter your home illegally.  This flies in the face of common law and judicial decisions going back long before the United States even existed. As a practical matter, the Supreme Court of Indiana's decision is insane: most forcible police entries, especially "no-knock" warrants, are indistinguishable from a home invasion.  Should Officer Friendly happen to get a wrong address or a bad tip and kick in your door, and you were to respond by picking up so much as a baseball bat, Justice David would have you facing criminal charges for it.  (To say nothing of what the SWAT team Officer F is playing lead for might do.)  After all, he reasons from his comfortable home and nice, regular State paycheck, you can always sue 'em right back -- forgetting that initiating a lawsuit is a lot easier if you're already an attorney and/or well off. (Pop quiz: most police entries occur in A) well-off neighborhoods filled with lawyers and Pillars Of The Community or B) neighborhoods like mine, where people are not so well-off.  Class...?)

     For me, that alone would be enough to want him off the Court.  But just like in the Veggie-Matic ads, Wait!  There's more!

     It turns out he's a great big booster of the "Missouri Plan" for picking judges,* which in Indiana's version gives lawyers way too much influence on who gets nominated: a seven-member panel, three citizens appointed by the Governor, three attorneys elected by the Indiana Bar Association (a private organization; it will not shock you to learn they want to keep every judge up for a retention vote) and presiding, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Indiana, the kind of tie-breaker most of us plain citizens are liable to defer to.  This lot picks three (3) nominees and the Governor gets two months to either pick one or the list goes right back to the Chief Justice, who then gets to choose.  It's all very cozy and insiderish.  I'm not saying it's any better than the popular elections the state used from 1851 to 1971, or having the Governor appoint them for six-year terms subject to confirmation by the state Senate as Indiana did from 1816 until 1851, but maybe it's time to take yet another look, 'cos they have merely gone from being lackeys of their party to lackeys of the unbridled exercise of government power and that's not an improvement.  

     And the last thing we need is a Justice hip-deep in keeping that status quo way quo.

     When the ballot asks you, "Shall Justice Steven H. David be retained?" I recommend voting NO.
* And politically liberal according to the linked story, which surprises me; I really thought one could at least count on that side of the aisle being against the police wandering into your home on a whim.  But jackboots are made for both feet and any more, positions you think you can depend on either side holding are not necessarily so.


Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"And politically liberal according to the linked story, which surprises me; I really thought one could at least count on that side of the aisle being against the police wandering into your home on a whim."

Well, liberals are as much for big government - jackboots and all - as neo-cons, as long as it's the big .gov that they want. They only object to the police wandering into your home on a whim if you're a fellow liberal. Conservatives are fair game.

Roberta X said...

Yeah, but they never used to be such big bad-policing boosters.

Ygolonac said...

The phrase used by wrestling smarks is "future endeavoured":

"We wish (dude who tested hot too many times) best of luck in his future endeavours!"

Earl said...

I am almost committed to commuting to Indiana just to vote the way you think would be best, but I am not a Democrat and can only vote once. I only vote once so I can honestly say, it wasn't my vote that made this mess.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, here in BuckeyeLand, we finally have an Election where the Judges are forced to reveal their Party Affiliations. For years, all the Judges were (HAH!) "Non-Partisan," and unless one had access to their Court Rulings, a Voter didn't know where they stood.

Maybe that would work in Indiana?

Anonymous said...

I can't, obviously, speak for over there but here the issue seems to be caused by the closed shop.

Not only can you not be a judge, but you can't be a lawyer, or even train to be a lawyer (selection at university) unless you are the 'right sort'.(It's a practice common in Social Work, Education and even Health Care - it used to be that Matron was the nurse, who whilst having all the interpersonal abilities of a Rottweiler on crack, was the best, most knowledgeable available. now, it's who has the right political views, kisses butt, and, God forbid, looks the part).

You are then offered (at least you are!) a choice between pre-selected candidates none of whom you'd trust to judge a flower show. As a result, here we have what are euphemistically known as 'Cocklecarrots'.

I haven't a clue how it can be resolved (short of 'hang all the lawyers') but maybe setting a base level of qualifications/experience and leaving it to the electorate to decide (there's bound to be some throw-back who still believes in morals, justice, rights, the [written] constitution, etc. - hasn't there?).

OK, I'm dreaming, we're Screwed!

kishnevi said...

Being that I'm a lawyer, I may not be unbiased--but the Missouri plan is actually a good way of picking judges--better than elections where people pick candidates based on who has the biggest ads or the highest conviction rate, and keeps the political hackery to a minimum. The governor doesn't get to pick a whole slate of people based on who most closely shares his statist views or is most adept at being his political mignon. We had a similar plan here in Florida, until this year when the GOP legislature decided to lessen the Florida Bar's input and increase the governor's control of who gets to be a judge. Meaning we'll see more political hacks on the bench in the next few years.

Anonymous said...

An aside, totally unrelated:

As you're an engineer (even if you can't get the hang of the metric system) have a giggle.


Roberta X said...

Les, we did that for more than a hundred years.

Able: we don't have a class system over here -- as such! -- but we have something similar for the legal profession, with the addition of lacking any class whatsoever

Anonymous said...

Oh, I didn't mean class, I meant politically, that is a left-leaning, Liberal (capital L), who believe criminals are misunderstood, just need a helping hand, should be allowed another (38) chances, and it's all societies fault.

Google Judge Cocklecarrots decisions himself to see just how, relatively, lucky you still are (we're stuck with him and his ilk until one of the poor misunderstood ones decides to target him or, more likely, he gets found deceased secondary to some sexual deviancy [you can't tell me that old men wandering round in public wearing a dress and wig is normal!])

Roberta X said...

Kisnevi, I'm glad I rescued your comment from the spam-bin (Blogger doesn't like them; I don;t know why).

The problem is that the Missouri plan means an elite group gets to impose their views on the selection of judges; frankly, I'd rather leave it up to Governors, with Judges terms staggered and longer than that of Governors, and both a requirement for Senate approval and some form of regular retention vote: too many judges think they speak with the voice of God. They've got to be protected from removal at Gubernatoral whim but they need a little humbling -- and I do not trust attorneys to do the choosing.

Anonymous said...

Roberta--we have merit retention votes here in Florida for the state appeals (DCAs) and the Supreme Court. Several judges are up for a vote in November, as a matter of fact.
As for Senate confirmation--the state legislature is so full of politcal hacks that a confirmation vote would be a degradation of integrity, not an improvement.

And at least here in Florida, there's enough conservative (or at least Republican) attorneys to keep the process impartial, or at least honest. And they are in a good position to know what potential judge is a damfool and what potential judge is a potential Scalia. And I'd hesitate to call the Florida Bar an elite organization. After all, I'm a member :)

(let's see if Blogger likes me this way.)

Roberta X said...

Alas, it does -- Blogger may be miffed your own blog appears to have lain fallow for awhile.

I'm not convinced that Antonin Scalia is a gold standard; there are issues on which his reasoning --let alone his stance -- strikes me as utterly bugnuts.

Nor am I certain that members of profession should be allowed the determining input on a matter so important as selecting judges. Who benefits from a convoluted, arcane legal system, the public or those few who've learned all the routes, pitfalls and landmarks?