Thursday, March 16, 2006

Herald Slams Healey/DeLay Judge Plan

Yesterday, the Boston Herald unveiled Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey's plan to destroy the independent judiciary, one that seemed more inspired by Tom DeLay than John Adams. Today's Editorial page slams the idea as not only political posturing worthy of our current governor, but also entirely unnecessary.

[P]utting aside the fact that her idea would require amending the Massachusetts Constitution, a difficult and time-consuming exercise (in other words, folks, don't hold your breath), it would also make the final arbiter of who stays and who goes the Governor's Council. What on Earth could Healey be thinking!

Yep, that's just want you want to do, give this body that should have been abolished decades ago more power. Way to go, Ms. Gubernatorial Wannabe.

Rather than following the example set by Gov. Mitt Romney and engaging in governing by press release, Healey could propose a real reform.
The Herald goes on to describe a much simpler reform that would make public the results of judicial evaluations that are currently only for internal use of the court system. Right now lawyers, court personnel and jurors fill out anonymous questionnaires which ask about a judge's demeanor, knowledge of the law, and other criteria. Rather than creating another complex layer of bureaucracy, just letting the public know which judges are, in the Herald's words, "doing a good job and who a bad job and what is being done about the latter" would make the system more transparent and give the public more confidence in it. Personally, I don't buy into the idea that there's some judicial crisis of accountability, but if these procedures are already in place, then I see no reason why the public should be kept in the dark.

Update: AmericaBlog has a full list of poisonous GOP rhetoric on judges. Why does Kerry Healey want to associate herself with these people?