Minnesota is a state to watch this election season - and not just because it's one of 22 divvying up 2,075 delegates on Super Duper Tuesday, Feb. 5, in the race for president. The North Star State has been flagged as one of five key states with regard to the 2008 judicial elections by the Washington, D.C.-based Justice at Stake Campaign.
The campaign, which aims to keep courtrooms free of politics and special interests so judges can better do their jobs, is shining a spotlight on Minnesota because voters here could be called on to consider a constitutional amendment that would change how the state's judges are chosen.
Early last year, a commission led by former Republican Gov. Al Quie proposed replacing the current system of contested judicial elections with a system of merit selection, performance evaluations, and "yes-no" retention.
Despite having three members of the state's highest court, including the chief justice, up for re-election, Minnesota seems to be flying under the judicial-elections radar. Perhaps that's because the radar screen for the presidential election is so crowded. And loud. Whatever the reason, Minnesota remains one of only two states that so far haven't seen any TV ads from high-court campaigns.
Yes, we all could do without another set of commercials on top of the presidential and congressional spots guaranteed to drive everyone batty from now until election time. But does that mean voters should turn a blind eye to whoever is on the judicial ballot and just live with the outcome of an uninformed electorate?
Not in a state to watch.
- Duluth News Tribune
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