Please don't skip this one

I don't believe that judges should be elected. Given their important roles in enforcing the federal and state constitutions when the political majority goes rogue, I agree with the Founding Fathers' wisdom that judges should be appointed for life, subject to removal only for extreme misconduct. Okay, maybe there should be a mandatory retirement age, but that's it.

Alas, Oregon, like many states, requires its judges to be re-elected every six years, and so they're always looking over their shoulders when making potentially unpopular decisions. They also have to gather up political endorsements periodically, and if they get a real opponent, they even have to collect campaign cash. That not only looks bad, it is bad.

Fortunately, contested races are the exception here. A lot of times, judges retire in mid-term, which gives the governor a chance to appoint someone to fill out the rest of their term. That judge can then run under a "retain" banner, which gives him or her an advantage that others don't usually want to try to overcome. 

In the current election, however, there's one contested race for the Oregon Court of Appeals. Judge Darleen Ortega finds herself being challenged by a guy named Vance Day, who was a judge himself for a while before the state Supreme Court threw him off the bench for three years for ethics violations. Day is into stuff like posting a photo of Hitler in the courthouse, and he's openly homophobic.

This is an easy one, folks, but it's an important one, too. Even people who aren't members of a political party have this race on their ballots. Please vote for Judge Ortega and keep Mr. Day far, far away from the bench. Oregon has enough problems as it is.


  1. IDK on the all the 'founding father' worship talk or carrying water for the constitution?
    IDK that I want to jump off the plank into the unknown w/o phasing the thing out & something better in, but that miserable document that we're all trying to work to our advantage on the roulette wheel is more a problem than something all that amazing & enlightened & one of the oldest & now most inflexible/unchageable founding documents of state-craft in the world (ouch) of major industrialized regions? eee

    That said, if we're going to have matters that require legalistic adjudication (which definitely has *some* place in the world), mandatory retirement age w/life(ish) appointment sounds pretty good/less bad?

    IDK who should pick?
    Gov. even in the states w/lousy govs doesn't sound *too* bad?
    Getting flack from picking some camera drama queen or loose-cannon that has a life-appointment that might forever/foreseeably be associated with your name would hopefully give even the dumbest & most ham-fisted govs & their consultants *some* pause?
    That said, propping up institutional legitimacy of the judiciary isn't really a mission worth carrying water for, but making it work *at all* for normal people doesn't sound *horrible*?

    Judge is by definition often a bad pool (older, not real sociable publicly in any good way, either mean/see a lot of bad situations & likely to rule rather harshly against presumption of innocence for the individual &/or lazy/old/asleep?).

    Not that the experience or competence is unwelcome or we should gang up on older people IMO, just in our culture...uh if young often a shark/super ambitious or not real sociable @ an early age, or, if old cynical/mean often an obstacle toward progress or no friend toward presumption of individual innocence w/future flexibility or willingness to be unpopular/see the long game or going to croak unexpectedly?

    Unlikely to get a modern equivalent of a Henry Fielding very often w/our English common-law based mess of a constitutional system that just read law (w/o necessarily having to go to law school), had roots in other aspects of civil society outside the state & wrote competently, but died nearly penniless...

    Saw the loose canon candidate...
    I'm reminded of Ben Garrison the cartoonist endlessly complaining in his cartoon strip about the Judge that sentenced him to pay his DUI & alimony?...
    ...'tis the times we live in...
    ...if you can be enough of a celebrity victim & have some $ up front, sans any conscience or honesty, sky's the limit? You get weasel out of all fines & maybe even make them pay YOU!

    On the glimmer of a bright side, speaking of judges...
    Steven Donziger is out from under house arrest for his privately appointed prosecutor contempt charge from the federalist society (life?) appointed judge that worked for a firm that frequently-enough formerly represented Chevron?
    NY-times didn't cover the story for ~3 years despite being within 1-mile?
    & the question isn't/wasn't weather or not Chevron's guilty (Chevron went out of their way to try for the most corrupt or manipulatable court/trial possible in Ecuador or where enforcement would be less likely?)?

    Some judiciary we got...
    But I share your Gov. appointed-4-life judges w/ min retirement age as being a bad option, except the others?
    We tried the retirement age thing in OR once before tho?...
    no chance/went down in flames IIRC?

  2. As an old alumnus of UC Hastings College of the Law (1973), an institution still needing to shed its founding father’s name, I benefited from its Over-65 policy for hiring faculty. That gave me the privilege of having professors like retired deans William Prosser for first-year Torts and Rollin Perkins for Criminal Law. It also resulted in a very old-school curriculum, where electives weren’t available until third year. The policy started to crack during my time there, particularly for classes like Taxation and Trial Practice, which older faculty had difficulty keeping up with, so adjuncts were brought in. But even in those days, it was obvious that those who could teach, even in their 80s, did; and those who couldn’t were probably duds in their earlier careers too. Collateral benefits of the policy included building name-familiarity for the school among lawyers across the country and giving retired professors perches in sunnier climes than many had come from. No mandatory age for retirement was necessary, just good judgment. Sorry, but you can’t have have both lifetime appointments and mandatory retirements by age. Pick one!

    1. As an old alumnus of the University of Oregon law school [1969], completely agree about law school professors. Orlando John Hollis was Dean my first year, taught throughout my enrollment, and was worth half a dozen of the more pedestrian younger faculty. The issue isn't age [he self-servingly comments at 77], its the gift [e.g. Robert Summers] of profound understanding of the law, the philosophy behind it, and the ability to communicate that.

  3. That mighta been true in the sunbelt migration, when college cost a nickel & decent professors got paid or grew up thru the depression, war or turn of the century.

    IDK what it has to do with Judges?
    Professors don't make judgements on innocence/guilt.

    There are a good few tenured old gasbags, frauds & dead wood professors that haven't remembered or imagined anything from a student's point of view in 50+ years too, now!

    Or even care or don't sense a threat/competition if the student knows everything they do but maybe with more imagination or drive to become a professor or researcher themselves?

    Buncha early boomers that got the last gasp of gold/ juicy fat falling off the corpse of the post war economy hanging on that ate their young & didn't have to really work for all the benefits they enjoy.
    I don't blame them for this; it was (& is) a guild under threat (accessible education for the masses), but it is the state of the onion.

    If you wanna be an adjuct or emeritus & do your own research instead of having a bunch of overworked TAs a graduate students do it for you & be subject to student professor ratings, fair enough?

    Then again, there might be some don Giovanni complex & loprello in one with me; I sort of think all monied male right wingers over age 50 should be eliminated, sterilized or have their tongues effectively cut out/only be allowed to communicate by etch-i-sketch in public meetings/platforms or Q&A or open mic sessions?
    Maybe I'll feel differently once I pass menopausal age HAHA! Over & out~

  4. It's kinda like the old catholic anarchist worker's saying wistfully before the old coot of a judge (for sympathy strikes or picketing);
    'ah judge, what good are your laws?'
    'The good people don't need them & the bad people (now corporations?) don't obey em!'


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