Friday, November 11, 2005

Judicial ouster: Good news or bad news?

Opinions differ. John Grogan (Inquirer), always marching to the punish-the-pay-hiker drumbeat, thinks the voters have sent a strong message. Jill Porter (Daily News) thinks that anger might have been better directed at someone who actually deserved it.
But defeated Justice Russell M. Nigro had nothing to do with the pay raise.
He never even voted on it.

Although Nigro abused his expense account - more on that later - he's an industrious judge who had earned the right to be evaluated on his own merits.
. . .
[T]he solution is to regulate the accounts, not to oust judges who make questionable use of them.
I tend to agree with her. I'm happy that politicians have been put on notice that the electorate is now aware of its power and willing to use it. But I also look forward to our using our power in a meaningful way.
An unmitigated victory will be when judges - and legislators - are elected or defeated based on merit, not retained out of ignorance or swept out of office on an undiscriminating wave of rage.
Let's try to leverage the public's new anger to help them educate themselves about the candidates and issues facing them, so that they can make their future decisions in a less inchoate way and in pursuit of loftier goals.


Blogger Rep. Mark B. Cohen said...

The Nigro defeat is a major Republican victory, folks, as it raises the Republican lead on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 4 to 3 to 4 to 2, with three years of a Democratic governorship all used up. The goal of an all-Republican Pennsylvania Supreme Court by 2020 is well within their reach.

The Republican strategy in Pennsylvania is to downplay partisanship, and just to probe for weaknesses in the Democrats and pounce on them.

If you believe the Nigro defeat was about the pay raise, you probably also believe that Santorum's victory over Klink was about Klink's weaknesses, and Sepecter's victory over Hoeffel was about Hoeffel's weaknesses.

Democrats will only start winning a lot of statewide Pennsylvania elections when Democrats realize that the attitude of "I'm for the Democrat as long as there is nothing he can be attacked on" is just the most effective form of Republican propaganda yet devised and the key to explaining Republican dominance of state politics.

3:20 AM  

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