Posts Tagged ‘Judges’

Clear the Bench Colorado Press Release

October 7, 2010

Clear The Bench Colorado invites comparison: our Evaluations vs. the ‘Commission on Judicial Performance’ “reviews”

Contact Matt Arnold: director@clearthebenchcolorado.org or 303-995-5533

Clear The Bench Colorado invites comparison: our Evaluations vs. the ‘Commission on Judicial Performance’ “reviews”

Colorado voters are being subjected to a barrage of big-money, special-interest advertising on judicial retention elections this year – as decried in editorials from the New York Times and other media sources across the country, as well as in other news coverage statewide.Special-interest groups are spending tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars attempting to influence Coloradans to vote their way on the question of whether to retain incumbent judges (including three incumbent Colorado Supreme Court justices facing “stiff opposition” as they seek an additional 10-year term in office).

There’s just one problem with this narrative – and why you haven’t heard about it in the mass media.

All of this special-interest money is being spent in Colorado to prop up the judicial incumbents

Legal establishment special-interest groups are spending tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars to convince Colorado voters that “all is well” with state courts – promoting the farcical rubber-stamp “reviews” conducted and published by the commissions on judicial “performance.”

Why are the “reviews” not a reliable source of information on judicial performance?

1. The “reviews” do not distinguish between good and bad judicial performance – and almost ALWAYS recommend a “retain” vote for the judges ‘reviewed.’ Colorado Commission on Judicial Performance Evaluations (CCJPE) Executive Director Jane Howell confirms that, over the decades-long history of the review process, Colorado Supreme Court justices “reviewed” by the commissions have received a “retain” vote 100% of the time.

(Similarly, Court of Appeals judges have also received a 100% “retain” recommendation, while all judges at other levels have received “retain” recommendations 99% of the time).

Even Fidel Castro and the late Saddam Hussein didn’t receive that level of “retain” votes!

(Although Colorado has plenty of good judges, at many levels – they’re not all that good.)

2. The “reviews” – published as a 5-paragraph narrative, only one paragraph of which even pretends to address actual judicial “performance” – provide very little substantive information on which to base an informed decision. The review criteria are shallow (“timeliness”, ‘orderliness’ and “demeanor”) rather than substantive and performance-based. The level of “evaluation” is more like a kindergarten report card (“Benny is punctual, keeps his area neat & tidy, and plays well with others” ) rather than a serious look at judicial performance.

A Denver Post guest commentary written by a former State Judicial Performance Commissioner provided an insightful critique of the current process several months ago.

3. The “reviews” provide NO information on how the justices actually voted in important constitutional cases – rulings which have had a tremendous (and highly negative) impact on Colorado citizens.

Where can voters get substantive analysis of the performance of Colorado Supreme Court justices?

Clear The Bench Colorado has conducted an exhaustive analysis of Colorado Supreme Court decisions addressing important constitutional issues of interest to the greatest number of Colorado voters.

We invite voters to compare and contrast our  Evaluations of judicial performance with the “reviews” perpetrated by the ‘performance’ commissions (and foisted upon voters, at great taxpayer expense and without opposing views, as is otherwise required by law for other ballot questions) in the “Blue Book.”

We are confident that discerning voters will find our  Evaluations of much greater value.

Voters deserve to be provided with more extensive, informative, and useful information on which to base their voting decisions.  “The high marks received by each justice through the system of evaluation in place” are NOT an endorsement of the justices, but rather  an indictment of the weakness and inadequacy of the judicial performance review process.  Despite the genuinely hard work and good intentions of the majority of the judicial performance review commissioners, the process (and end-products) are perhaps endemically flawed.

There has been a failure of real performance evaluation and a lack of analytical content in the write-ups for the voters.  If narratives provide meaningful information about how a justice has decided cases, there will be accountability and the system will work as it is designed to do.  Too often in the past, narratives have amounted to complimentary resumes instead of job performance evaluations.  Some commentators and observers have denigrated the narratives as a “rubber stamp” exercise for retaining judges.

The ultimate responsibility – and authority – rests with the voters.  Clear The Bench Colorado urges all Colorado citizens to become informed about how the Colorado Supreme Court has aided and abetted assaults on their rights (and wallets!) with a consistent pattern of not following the Constitution where it doesn’t agree with their own personal agenda – and drawing the necessary and logical conclusions.

 

Another loser about to be appointed…

April 9, 2010

As noted in an earlier post epic fail obama’s nomination for the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals is completely unqualified to be a JUDGE. Much less an appellate court judge.

Yet the Senate Judiciary Committee appears bound and determined to force feed this sorry excuse of an attorney to we, the American people.

Republicans on the committee demand a delay in the scheduled April 16 hearing for Goodwin Liu, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. The committee this week received almost 120 items that Liu omitted from an earlier background questionnaire.

Consideration of Liu’s appointment to the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is a warmup for the debate over a Supreme Court replacement if Justice John Paul Stevens decides to retire this year, said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice in Washington and a critic of Liu’s confirmation.

Full Story

With the announcement that Justice Stevens will retire this summer it is clear that judicial battle lines will be drawn. Further, that we will have to live with these idiots in power for years to come. But what the heck? They are all probably just as qualified as obama is…


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