One of the recurring themes of this blog will be the gaming of the judicial system by powerful interests. Part of what's going on is that Your Local Newspaper and Your Local News channels failed over many years to tell you who these clowns are, that these jokers had power over your very life and welfare, and that these Bozos have little regard for your interests. Instead Your Local Newspaper and Local "News" channels let these Judges get away with grandstanding moments--like throwing the keys away when a particularly pathetic criminal was sentenced. Judge Polishname got the covergirl treatment from the Your Home Town Magazine for being Your Home Town's toughest Judge. It did not matter to the journalistas that she was also a psycho-hose-bag who wouldn't act in the citizen's interest if our lives counted on it.
The media is only partly responsible, the whole method for judicial selection is skewed against any meaningful democracy or merit-selection. Because Judges are elected and the Governor of Our State fills vacancies, the positions are skewed towards names that resonate in the common memory. The Judges: Irishnames can run against and beat Cicero-reincarnate, because somewhere in the collective memory we remember something about Judge Irishname, (circa 1920) and we don't know anything about Judge Cicero.
The other aspect of this boondoggle masquerading as democratic election of Judges, is the role that parochial education played in the insular political party games. Many if not most of the Irish prosecutors and Judges went to local Catholic schools together; their parents, their grandparents, their siblings and cousins populate police, fire, and law positions in Your Home Town. To a lesser extent other ethnic groups particularly the Italians find their way into these roles the same way. There's a certain Italianname in Your Home Town that has endlessly been elected to judicial and other public offices that is now plays a major perpetrator role in the current bribery scandals--does that meant that Judge Nancy Italianname is going to choose the name of one of her other ex-husbands to run on the next time she's up for reelection. Yes, her Honor couldn't get a job as a lawyer, but got elected to the bench by running on her ex-husband's electable Italian name beating well-qualified Judge Weirdname in the bargain.
The Governor can appoint lawyers to judicial vacancies but since history demonstrates that only certain types of names can hold onto the seat at Your Home Town election there is a disincentive to appoint just any "qualified" lawyer. It sucks, and what's worse--these are the men and women, your Judges who most directly effect your lives. When your civil disputes, when your marriages, or your children become involved in routine legal proceedings these are these brainiacs are supposed to effectuate resolution, by and for and of the people. Righto.