Saturday, May 19, 2007

Supreme Court Justice

Bryan Fischer, in his addlepated manner, tried to get some info about the candidates to replace retiring Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Schroeder. Although I agree with Fischer (?!) that the process is too hidden, his approach was biased. I think there's a better way.

It would be nice to see the Statesman, or some media that wouldn't be ignored, possibly NewWest or the Boise Weekly, publish some of the following info.

Ask for a copy of the candidate's resume'. What schools did the person attend? Any honors? Selected for a law review? Clerk for an important judge? How many years practicing law? What type of practice; all in one area, or varied?

Do a Westlaw or Lexis search, or just ask the candidate, and see how many cases the candidate argued before an appellate court, especially the US or Idaho Supreme Courts. Of those, how many were wins? Also, even if the person didn't argue the case, on how many cases did the person write the appellate brief?

For the private lawyers, check Martindale-Hubble and look at the lawyer rating. That can be done online, but the print version has the more revealing info of what type of clients the lawyer has. That's often a clue about philosophy. Pro-business, family-law oriented, favorable to extraction industries, that type of thing will show up in the client section.

Ask what organizations the lawyer belongs to, both professionally and personally. The Judicial Council asks lawyers to rate candidates; the ratings results might be a public record and could be requested, though I'd bet that would be an uphill battle.

Go the the Idaho Secretary of State database and look for contributions by the candidate. That will really reveal political leanings.**

You get the drift. There is much available information that doesn't ask how the candidate would rule, but would still help assess the person's fitness and judicial temperament.

** For example, in the 2006 campaign:
Candidate Gines gave $250 to Otter in Nov 06. (I happen to know he is a real winger)
Joel Horton, no contributions (he's a judge)
Larry Hunter, none
Luker and Gabbert, only to their own campaigns

I didn't have time to check them all, or to check other years, but a media organization might have someone who could do it.

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