Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's Not About the Judges

One of the bits of "wisdom" that both parties have picked up on over the past decade or so is the importance of "wedge issues" to excite "their" voters and get them to show up at the polls on election day. The ideal wedge issue is one that your people are passionate about, but the other side is less interested.

The battle over the Missouri Plan is a wedge issue.

Stem cells are a decent example. If you believe that stem cell experimentation is murder, you are motivated to show up at the polls and save lives. If you believe stem cell research is simply a promising area of medical advancement, the accepted wisdom is that you're less motivated to get up and vote. Preventing murder with God on your side ought to generate more votes than supporting a bunch of nerds in lab coats doing stuff you don't really understand. So, if you want religious conservatives to show up at the polls, put stem cells on the ballot as a wedge issue. Other examples include the minimum wage, gun control and gay marriage.

This year, the Republicans are relying on activist judges instead of stem cell-murdering scientists to get their voters to the polls.

They've started laying the groundwork for their attack on the Missouri Plan already. They've tried to paint Chief Justice Laura Stith into a corner by making silly requests for meaningless documents. They've tried to falsely accuse the Nominating Commission of being "secretive". They've run billboards raising the specter of "activist judges", without being able to name a single Missouri state judge who qualifies for that flexible label.

The funny thing is, life without the Missouri Plan would be worse for all of us, Republicans and Democrats. That's why we're seeing Republican ex-judges and lawyers doing their best to stop this wedge issue. That's why Republican ex-Chief Justices have come out in favor of the Missouri Plan. That's why Lathrop & Gage evicted Jeff Roe from their offices after they started to get calls questioning their smelly alliance with the loudest opponent of the Missouri Plan.

Now, imagine for a moment that you are a conservative republican (I hope that's a stretch for you). Think for a second about having elected judges interpreting our laws and running our courtrooms. Think about the scoundrels and rascals those democrats have gotten elected statewide in the past, and think about the trends in republican popularity. Think about Chief Justice Bob Holden running our Supreme Court. Think about who would get elected to be our trial judges in Kansas City and St. Louis - where most big trials happen. Do you want Judge Coe handling your divorce?

Nobody intelligent really wants the Missouri Plan to go away. Not even Jeff Roe. But they are willing to risk damaging Missouri's judicial system for a one-time shot at motivating some ill-informed voters to the polls so they can vote against non-existent activist judges.

Let's hope that those who care about our judicial system more than about the next election win this round. Our judicial system is too important to be reduced to a wedge issue.


Anonymous said...

Didn't Hitler start his charge by dismantling the judiciary? I'm not saying Matt Blunt is anyway like Hitler - he's not. I'm not saying Matt Blunt hates Jews - he doesn't. I'm just saying that messing with an independent judiciary to achieve one's political ends was something that Hitler did, as detailed in "Hitler's Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich."

The Missouri plan was adopted to prevent the interference of mob boss Pendergast in the Supreme Court. Now, Blunt is attempting to re-introduce political interference.

craig said...

Careful about talking bad about boss Pendergast on this blog. You may tick of Cardarella.

Anonymous said...

Has Blunt really lost the Rush Limbaugh listeners? He must think he has because no one hates judges more than Rush.

Oops, I forgot, that fat druggie's cousin is on the Missouri Supreme Court and his uncle is one of those evil federal judges.

Anonymous said...

Nothing could be worse for a lawyer than to be hit up for a financial contribution by a judge you have to appear in front of. Do you give? How much? When you show up later, did you give as much as your opposing counsel.

Do client's really need to be asking thier lawyer "have you bought off, oops, donated to, the judge?" Apparently, only Matt Blunt and Jeff Roe want that system.

Anonymous said...

Lathrop & Gage is not clear from Jeff Roe.

Russell Jones, a lawyer at L & G, filed the incorporation papers for the Adam Smith Foundation - the organization that is attacking judges, taking out the billboards on activist judges and bad mouthing Judge Stith.

The Registered agent for the Adam Smith Foundation is L & G. Amy Blunt works at L & G. The Missouri Supreme Court (including former L & G partner Judge Ray Price)is under attack from the Adam Smith Foundation and Jeff Roe, and Lathrop & Gage is greasing the wheels.

You wonder what Jackson County Judge and former Lathrop & Gage partner Judge Anne Mesle tells her colleagues on the bench.

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