Wednesday, October 21, 2015

One (or two, depending on how you count) moment of sanity does not change the fact that judicial elections are a bad idea.

I strongly believe that electing judges is a very bad idea. See e.g., here and hereOver at Slate, Robert J. Smith has an article about how two justices on the Kansas Supreme Court survived an attempt by death penalty proponents (including the Sam Brownback the Governor of Kansas and a dark money group called Kansans for Justice) angered by the Kansas Supreme Court's overturning of the death sentences of two men who committed a series of grisly crimes in Wichita, Kansas. Mr. Smith's main point in his article is that the election results show that people in Kansas do not fully support the death penalty.  But if one look at the election results, one sees that the justices barely won and the vote was much closer than typical Kansas Supreme Court retention elections. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

48 years ago today (most likely)

Moderately reliable sources on the Internet, i.e. Wikipedia, say that on this date in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice. He was, of course, the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court. His appointment, like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Fair Housing Act, and the creation of Medicaid and Medicare, is one of the reasons we should he happy that Lyndon Johnson was President.  But I digress.