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Letters to the Editor

Fri., May 14, 2010

Bench picks nonpartisan

Your excellent editorial of May 6 related to the Idaho Supreme Court election contest between incumbent Justice Burdick and challenger District Judge Bradbury. There is one error, not yours, but Bradbury’s: “complaints about the preponderance of judicial positions that are first filled by political appointment before the appointee ever has to face the voters.”

Since 1967, appointments to fill court vacancies have been totally removed from politics. In the event of court vacancies, the Judicial Council – made up of the chief justice, three attorneys and three non-attorneys – invites applications.

After interviews, the Judicial Council submits up to four names without political affiliation. Council members make their determination based upon integrity, ability, wisdom and experience. The governor then selects one of the four. Govs. Evans and Andrus chose some judges who were known Republicans. Govs. Batt, Kempthorne and Otter named some who possibly voted Democratic.

It is only in a contested judicial election that politics may become involved. There have been occasions when one political party gave support to a candidate for this nonpartisan judicial position.

The complaint of Judge Bradbury is totally without factual foundation in judicial appointments in the 43 years since Judicial Council was created.

Scott W. Reed

Coeur d’Alene

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