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The Idaho State Bar has released the results of its survey of attorneys on the qualifications of judicial candidates who are on the ballot in November; there are two races, both runoff races for district judge. In the 4th Judicial District contest between Rebecca Arnold and Samuel Hoagland, Hoagland was rated higher than Arnold in every category; 244 attorneys statewide responded, the vast majority of them from the 4th District. You can see those results here. In the 7th Judicial District, Bruce Pickett and Stevan Thompson are in a runoff race; their ratings were closer, with Thompson’s slightly higher; 144 attorneys responded. Those results are online here. Attorneys rated the judicial candidates on criteria including integrity and independence, knowledge and understanding of the law, and judicial temperament and demeanor.
OLYMPIA — A proposed charge on court filings to help pay for publicly financed state Supreme Court races is more like a fee than a tax, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen just ruled.
That is likely to make it difficult to pass a Senate bill that would have added $3 to the cost of court filings. Why, because a tax currently needs a two-thirds majority to pass, while a fee needs only a simple majority.
Debate over Senate Bill 5912 came to a halt earlier today when Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, raised a point of order about the charge. Seems more like a tax, Benton said, because its levied for a more general purpose, and the “nexus” of the money and the purpose are relatively remote.
After several hours of staff study, Owen sided with Benton. Setting up publicly financed judicial campaigns may be an overall benefit to society, he said. But paying for campaigns seems only remotely connected to a charge on court filings. It is more properly considered a tax.
Further action on the bill is pending.