Saturday, June 24, 2006

Argus editorial on judicial candidates

I have to disagree with most of Dan Meisler's editorial on the judicial races.

What does the amount of political contributions to GOP politicians, or past support of socialists or communists, have to do with being a judge?

It shows if they are more into the Alex Kozinski or Maura Corrigan mold - or the Stephen Reinhardt and Ruth Bader Ginsburg mold.

It is not naive, as GOP state Chairman Saul Anuzis suggested in Thursday's story, to demand a judicial system that is independent of partisan influence. In fact, it is a cornerstone of our system of democracy, and the questionnaire was corrosive to that.

And before you condemn this column as the rantings of a liberal, ask yourself how many Republicans would agree with me. It's not liberal to want an independent judiciary — it's American.

I'm not going to condemn this column as a ranting of a liberal, but here's the problem - There is no independent judiciary. There never was, and never will be. Judges aren't robots. They don't remove their politicial affiliations and opinions on issues when they enter a courtroom. Theresa Brennan is the same person as judge as she was when she was just an attorney. As a strict constitutionalist in philosophy, the judiciary is increasingly a partisan issue as well as democrats are more apt to support judicial activism, and republicans are more apt to support strict constitutionalism and original intent. The question we all need to ask is this. Do we want our own Stephen Reinhardt in Livingston County? Do we want to set her on Circut where she would be the first to hear a gun case, abortion case, felony case, major tort case, etc. She ran for circuit once already.

My own goal - as a blogger, a conservative, and 2nd amendment activist is to let the voters know the stances of judicial candidates so they will make an informed choice this August and November. I believe that when the voters find out where Theresa Brennan stands in her philosophy and how dangerous it is, that Livingston County will send her back to being Brighton City Attorney. Today's district court is tomorrow's Appeals Judge.


anonymous said...

You should have said that Brennen is the same person that she was when she engaged in liberal activism and that she is type of judge that would likely legislate from the bench given a chance.

Republican Michigander said...

That's what I meant by the Stephen Reinhardt reference.

RKG said...

I think the effort to politicize the judicial elections in Livingston County this cycle is horrible and warrants condemnation. Those who are behind it (i.e., this blog and those whose ends it serves) are doing the citizenry a grave disservice. Moreover, the fundamental "analysis" upon which much of the rhetoric is based is flawed and here's a few points that I hope can gain some traction in the discussion.

First, no one has ever been able to point to a single decision Brennan has made as a judge that reflects her supposedly liberal philosophies and I will bet a free meal at my favorite restaruant that no one can. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that fewer than one in twenty people who post comments about her have ever been in her courtroom and seen her in action. The talk about her on this blog reminds me of the story of Chicken Little running around proclaiming "The sky is falling."

Second, the "Today's district court judge is tomorrow's appeal judge" mantra advanced by our beloved blogger is pure speculation and simply not supported by the facts. There are 7 seats on the Supreme Court and 27 Court of Appeal judges. There are some 629 judges at the circuit, probate, district and municipal level. It is actually rather unlikely, given those odds, that today's district judge is tomorrow's appeal judge. The reality is that we are voting for a district judge and it is pure speculation to suggest otherwise.

Third, the argument that Brennan's personal views MIGHT impact her judicial decisions can be made just as forcefully against Drick - or any judicial candidate for that matter. In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest that when Drick seeks your vote because he's a loyal republican he's really telling you that his personal views WILL impact his decisions. That's not the makings of a good judge, folks.

Fourth, the constant reference to the need to support "strict constitutionalism" is a red herring - a meaningless argument designed to distract your attention. It's a made-up term that has no useful meaning. It's our blogger's way of creating a supposedly desirable characteristic that he can say Drick has and Brennan doesn't. It adds nothing to the discussion except to sucker you into letting him do your thinking for you. I've asked him to define it, give examples to show a distinction between the candidates and explain why or how it becomes a relevant consideration in selecting a district court judge. I've yet to get a coherent answer.

Finally, I've spent the time to express myself because I've come to conclude that what our bloggers offers under the guise of insight and analysis simply has no substance. Take what he has to offer with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of skepticism.

Mark Twain said...

RKG, the way you kiss up to Brennen we have to wonder if you are her husband. I mean, good grief RKG, she puts her pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us. You are as bad as the local rag they call a newspaper.

Regarding her background on the bench, it is hard to comment since she has so little experience and has presided over so few cases.

You are right about Drick. Like every other judge that sits on or ever sat on the bench, Drick will likely be influenced by his values. That is the whole point - since it is impossible NOT to be influenced by values, the next best thing is to elect a judge that reflects the values of the person casting the ballot. WE don't pretend our candidate is unbiased, unlike you bunch of hypocrites.

One thing about Drick's defenders is that we are HONEST about our bias. We want him on the bench and we don't pretend otherwise. The fact that we support him politically does not make him any less qualified to be a judge. You Brennen supporters are trying to use high and mighty moralistic sounding arguments so that you can pretend that YOUR support is really not politically motivated.

Look at ALL the money spent on past judge races. Look at how partisan special interest groups endorse judges. Gee, liberal unions ALWAYS endorse liberal judges. There sure are no politics there. And these liberal groups give money to liberal judges out of the good of their heart, without expecting to receive any benefits from their donations and endorsements. Gee, that sure is good of them.

If politics are not involved, why does Granholm only appoint the most liberal people she can find to the bench? Why are her candidates only people that have strong connections to her campaign or to the Democrat party? Why not appoint a conservative Republican to PROVE that the process is apolitical?

Well, you never answer any of THESE questions, and nobody here BELIEVES you because your comments lack sincerity. Stop pretending that your support of Brennen is not political and start being HONEST, and maybe you'll get some better dialog going.

Communications guru said...

Excellent, well-thought out and written argument, RKG, but that’s not what the way dan and the others on this blog debate. It’s disgraceful that dan had the nerve to make a personal attack and charge that Judge Brennan “bought” her judgeship by her campaign contributions, but in the same breath their disgraceful questionnaire asks how much money the candidate contributed to the county’s republican candidates. They are basing their endorsement on how much money the candidate gives to other republicans.
That tells you every thing you need to know about how low the republican party has sunk.
Why waste other people’s time with that biased question hare when you can go to the Secretary of State’s office to see how much money they gave and just make your endorsement, because everyone knows drick already has it.

Pogo said...

Mark T., as usual your thoughts cut through the bull and get to the point.

I can see that "communications guru" (gag), like all good liberals, refused to answer any of your excellent questions, instead choosing to make a nasty attack. How typical.

Communications guru said...

Well, “pogo” – this is the answer to dan’s banning of anonymous posts because someone points out the double standard of Mr. Drick’s personal views – my post was an answer to excellent post by RKG, that no one has disputed. Also, pogo, how is it an attack when what I said was true? Tell what’s no true?

To Mark Twain – very original – She has been on the bench long enough to earn the respect and endorsement of the current Livingston County Prosecutor and a former Prosecutor, Tom Kizer, both republican elected officials.

I contend in her court Judge Brennan is not biased, and her values are the ones picked up from being born in Livingston County, being educated here and working here her entire life. How does that make me a hypocrite? Also, how does giving the most money to republican candidates qualify someone to be a judge?

What you want, Samuel, is for the republicans to control everything in this county, even if it’s not a political office, like school board and the judiciary. Are you that power hungry? Apparently the Constitution means nothing to you because the idea of an independent judiciary is foreign to you.

All unions endorse candidates. In fact, one of the endorsements Mr. Drick is crowing about is from a union. The Michigan Association of Police is a labor union. Does that, by your warped reasoning, mean drick’s a liberal? We can only hope.

The governor appoints the best people, and what is wrong with appointing someone who is more than quaffed, and supported you in the past? Also, as I pointed out before in a previous post here, the governor recently appointed Randy Richardville to an important post, and the former House Majority Floor Leader is now running for a Senate seat in Monroe, a targeted race, he’s a republican if you have not guessed.

Robert Ball said...

I'm a Republican living in Wayne County. I don't know who these cadidates are and so can't comment on them, but the discussion about the political independence of the judiciary is interesting.

In my city all elected officals are Democrats and in many races Republicans don't even bother to run, which makes the primaries the de facto election. Let me tell you, after watching the incompetent fools running things here you ought to be glad that Livingston County is run by Republicans. I'd move out there in a heartbeat if it was not so far away from my job.

I don't understand all the argument about the judiciary being non-political. Here in Wayne county judges freely and openly associate with the Democrat party and will admit it to anyone who asks. Nobody over here seems to think there is anything wrong with judges talking about being good Democrats with Democrat values during election season. To me this kind of talk just seems normal. It would seem natural that in a Republican dominated county, judges would want to let voters know they have the same core beliefs.

So what is it with you Livingston County people? Other than a few posters on this blog, you must be the only people in Michigan who can't see how political our judicial system has become. You guys need to get over your hangups and get real.

Mike MacTavish said...

I don't care if Brennan is a Republican or a Democrat. I do care that she's a liberal. If she gave money to moderate democrats, I could live with that. The fact that she gave to pro-abortion interests and organized war protests sickens me much more than party donations.

Keith Richards said...

Anyone who thinks that we should ignore Brennen's leftist past is living in fairy tale land. Everyone has to be held accountable for their past actions and this includes Brennen also. You can come on here and argue all day but I still plan to do everything possible to evict her from the bench.

Furthermore, I have also lived in liberal Democrat areas of Wayne and Washtenaw counties. What Robert says is true - in those places only Democrats and good actors can get elected. If a conservative Republican were appointed to a seat in a city near Detroit, the Democrat politicians there would pull out all stops to get that judge evicted. There is no way the Democrats out there would tolerate a conservative Republican judge, in spite of the fact that they hold nearly 100% of all the elected jobs in that area. Democrats in Wayne County would not tolerate a single conservative Republican officeholder in a liberal dominated area, and there is no reason why a conservative dominated area should have to put up with a single liberal Democrat officeholder either.

Communications guru said...

The post did not attack drick’s family, it pointed out the hypocrisy and double standard of drick’s position, and who says it’s a “bald faced lie?” There is no proof it is not true. If you had rumors about Judge Brennan you would have posted them by now, based on the other lies and misinformation you have already posted about her. Post what ever you like.

You may not have voted for David Morse, dan, but the majority of voters in Livingston County have time after time. He has been the prosecutor for 17 years, so I think his opinion carries some weight. You can try to dismiss Tom Kizer’s endorsement with that lame excuse, but how about the endorsement of Judge Dan Buress and Judge John Pikkarainen? Do they have to appear in her court?

Your guy can’t match up with Judge Brennan’s qualifications, experience or ability, so you have to roll out this “activitist judge” bs. Pathetic, dan.

Republican Michigander said...

Communications Guru AKA Kevins.

1. Jay has spent more time as an attorney than Brennan has.

2. Jay has been in court more often than Brennan has.

3. Jay has practiced law more than Brennan has.

4. Jay has a better temperment than Brennan has.

5. "No proof it isn't true." There's no proof it IS true. I thought you reporters were supposed to report facts, not heresay. When did you stop snorting cocaine kevins?? There's no proof that you didn't snort coke.

6. I did not post any lies about Ms. Brennan. Everything I've said is backed up in public record. Political donations are public. Her stances on issues are well known and public.

7. Burress is a democrat. Democrats endorsing democrats. As for Pikk, alright I'll give you one endorsement I won't dismiss.

bluzie said...

Really should everyone be a Republican? Is it good for one party to control Livingston County?

Count Me Red said...

bluzie, YES it is good for one party to control Livingston County and, YES, everyone should be a Republican. Why? you ask. There would be no abortion, we would not cut and run from terrorist attacks and war, no Presidents would be dittling interns in the Oval Office with cigars, we would have lower taxes, less intrusive government, no Gay agenda trying to redefine marriage, no judges ordering our citizens to die by starvation, no eminent domain, and NO Governor Granholm. What a perfect world. It's why we stay up late dreaming.

Republican Michigander said...

Bluzie - "Really should everyone be a Republican? Is it good for one party to control Livingston County?""

Replace Republican with conservative, and I'd say yes.

RKG said...

I guess if the answer to who should we elect is simply, "We want Republicans" then I give Mark Twain credit for being honest about it. My concern is that too many people are not being that honest about it but are using suspect arguments to generate support for their preferred candidate. Maybe I'm naive but I expect a little better political discourse out of a group of people who presumably enjoy political discourse.

Mark Twain also questioned my comments by suggesting undue allegience to Brennan. Please, please note that very little of what I wrote is supportive of her but is an attack on the senslesness of our bloggers dogged support of Drick. And, just so you appreciate where I'm coming from on Brennan, I saw her in action as an attorney for a number of years and wasn't particularily impressed. I didn't do anything to support her when she ran for Circuit judge because I didn't think she had what it took to be a Circuit judge. I took a wait-and-see attitude when she was appointed to the District bench. I've been in front of her a few times and have watched her in action a few other times and, frankly, have been impressed. I think she's doing a good job and see no reason to put someone else on the bench.

MESSA said...

1st of all, I plan of voting for Drick simply because I believe him to be the best qualified candidate for the position.

Secondly, I want to say that I think the "$ donated to LivCo Republicans" question was really in bad taste!

Count Me Red said...

It's not the questions that matter, silly, it's the answers.

RKG said...

Ka-boom! That's the sound of a bombshell exploding. Read the front page of the 6-29-06 Press/Argus. Talk about sleeping with the enemy. It will be fun to read how our beloved blogger spins his way out of this one!

Republican Michigander said...

I've known about that for a long time and gave Jay an earful about that when it I saw it. Jay paid for it later when he got burned appointment time. I call it "lawyer tricks." Other judicial candiates often do the same thing to try and get an appointment. I don't like it, but it's part of judicial politics, and has been for years.

One bad donations for that reason I can overlook. All the rest of his were good (DeVos, Zandstra, Chris Ward, Joe Hune, Valde Garcia County GOP)

I'm not going to defend it, but Jay learned from it the hard way.

RKG said...

I realize this thread is now buried beneath more current and apparently pressing issues and I'm heading out of town for a week but I would have expected this most recent news to pop to the surface. If you want to elect someone because they reflect republican values, what does it say about that person or about republican values if sleeping with the enemy is blown off as just something you can overlook? And to think you knew about this beforehand! What does that say about your standards? I think a person who runs on principal rises and falls based on how they live those principals. If principals meant anything to Drick, he would have said simply, and easily, I will not support someone with whom I do not agree and if it costs me an appointment, then so be it. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't fault Drick for trying to improve his chances of snagging an appointment. I simply question how you can square his doing so with your support of him as reflective of republican ideals.

And by the way, if Drick loses, don't blame the Argus for doing a hachet job on him over this issue. It was relevant and newsworthy given the partisanship issue you injected into the election and they left him plenty of time to deal with it and recover. If they wanted to sink him, they would have run the story a week before the election. Second, Drick's not showing up at the first opportunity to see and hear all the candidates in person was a terrible strategic move. He won't win with that approach.

Republican Michigander said...

If RKG, you are referring to the Fowlerville Rotary event, Jay (a 30 yr Rotary Member) had no choice but to miss it.

He was in Appeals Court.