Editorial: Voters must do homework on judicial races

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 21, 2004

One state political race which voters typically don’t understand is the race for the Appeals Court seats. While District 1 doesn’t have a judicial candidate, Albert Lea and Freeborn County residents will have to choose a candidate for the Court of Appeals.

Because we expect judges to remain objective, they may not share their opinions on various issues and that may make our decision to choose the best candidate difficult.

Judges are first appointed to the high court bench by the governor and then are re-elected to the post by state residents. There are no campaigns backed by corporations or invidividuals and no party endorsements. The idea behind the restrictions is to prevent the appearance a judge is indebted to campaign backers, sending down decisions in their favor.

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Decisions instead are based on how well a judge does his job. When making your choice, consider a candidate’s judicial temperament: is he or she fair and even-handed with all who come before the bench? Is the person a perceptive, clear-thinker who bases decisions on the law and recognized legal principals? Does the candidate have experience

making sound decisions?

The judicial race is frequently one which voters just check a box, any box, perhaps based on a name they may have heard repeatedly. The candidates deserve more from us; we should do our homework for this race as passionately as we do for other races.