A report issues yesterday by the Center for Public Integrity indicates that Virginia is one of the most corrupt states in the United States, see article at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. One area which they highlighted was the selection of Judges by the legislature. They reasoning is that since most of the members of the House of Delegates and the Senate are lawyers, and that because they would practice before the Judges whom they selected, that somehow an unholy alliance is formed of Judges playing favorites with lawyers who support their nomination.
Given the concerns expressed by former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor regarding Judicial elections and the undue influence of money and in some cases, God forbid, partisan politics, it seems to me that Virginia method of selecting Judges is fair and equitable. First and foremost Judges must be recommended by the Bar Associations of the Judicial Circuit where they would sit. Second, despite our public perception of lawyers, the majority are good, ethical men and women who remain true to their oath that each must take in order to practice in the Commonwealth.
§ 54.1-3903. Oath; qualification; proof of licensure or authorization.
Before an attorney may practice in any court in the Commonwealth, he shall take the oath of fidelity to the Commonwealth, stating that he will honestly demean himself in the practice of law and execute his office of attorney-at-law to the best of his ability. An attorney who has qualified before the Supreme Court of Virginia shall be qualified to practice in all courts of the Commonwealth. An attorney who has qualified before a court other than the Supreme Court shall be qualified to practice only in the court which administered his oath.
Each court in which an attorney intends to practice may require the attorney to produce satisfactory evidence of his licensure or authorization.
Virginia is light years ahead of those states that elects judges; our system, while not democratic in the sense many proponents of progressive government would like, in reality meet the needs of Commonwealth and its citizens. It ensures judicial independence; it protects judges from unscrupulous charges during election campaigns. The judicial branch was never intended to be a reflection of democratic ideals—rather by allowing due consideration the architects ensure the Judicial branch would be free of the corruption that often effects the popularly elected branches of government.
Over at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza has posted his Sweet 16; who are going to be the Democratic and Republican nominees in 2016.
Some comments on the choices:
- Andrew Cumo: While the scion of a genuine progressive, young Cumo has shown he can govern from the middle. He has a 50% chance of getting the nomination.
- Brian Schweitzer: A western state Democrat, he has governed from the middle. As a rancher he understands the problems of the American farmer. While he would be excellent President he has a 10% chance of getting the nomination, progressive wing of the Party won’t support.
- Mark Warner: Good centrists Democrat, has vast business experience, good approval ratings, while he would be excellent President he has a 40% chance of getting the nomination, progressive wing of the Party won’t support.
- Elizabeth Warren: Provided she get elected to US Senate, she meets the criteria Progressive credentials, represents the east coast Ivy League intelligentsia. Chances of getting the nomination 65%; chances of winning election 10% won’t play to Middle America.
- Devel Patrick: Must be reelected Governor of Mass first; has horrible approval ratings. Bi Coast progressives will support. Chance of getting nomination 30%.
- Kristen Gillibrand: Attractive, articulate Senator. Good progressive credentials. East coast elite. Chances of getting the nomination 10% if either Hillary or Elizabeth Warren also run; rises to 40% if neither run. If nominate no chance of winning election.
- Hillary Clinton: Great Senator, great Secretary of State, strong positives, will play in middle America. Chances of getting nomination 90%, chances of getting elected > 60%. Won’t run.
- Martin O’Malley: Governor of Maryland, good progressive credentials, lacks national name recognization. Chances of getting nomination 5%.
Most likely nominee Elizabeth Warren or Andrew Cumo; Most electable candidates Mark Warner and Brian Schweitzer.
- Marco Rubio: Seems to be a good Senator; plays well with Conservative base, will do well among Cuban Americans, Cuban Americans do not play well with other Hispanic constituencies. Chances of getting nomination 50%; chances of becoming President 50%.
- Rand Paul. Plays well with libertarian and Tea Party crowd. Not so well with social conservatives, fringe candidate; chances of getting nomination 25%; chances of becoming President; unlikely.
- Bobby Jindal: Good ratings as La government, limited voter reorganization, chances of getting nomination 30% not likely to be elected President.
- Jeb Bush. Economic and social conservative. Good Governor. Another Bush what do we have here a dynasty. Chances of getting nomination 10%.
- Bob McDonnell. Good Governor, limited to one term. Chance of getting nomination 40%; stands a chance of getting elected 50%.
- Rob Portman. Great credentials, Congressman, head of Office of Management and Budget, Senator, expert on government budgets and taxes. Dull as dishwater. Chances of getting nomination 10%.
- Susana Martinez. Governor of New Mexico. Good credentials, low name recognition . Chances of getting nomination 10%.
- Chris Christie. Good name recognition. Appears to be a good Governor of New Jersey. Good conservative credentials. Chances of getting nomination 50%, chances of getting elected 50%.
Most likely nominee Rand Paul or Chris Christie, best possible candidate Rob Portman.