Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Judge Not Lest You Be Accused of Being an Activist (Colorado Amendment 40)

Amendment 40 is another attempt by a small group of Colorado citizens to bypass a proven system of government. We've already looked at Amendment 38, which would essentially castrate elected lawmakers that these cranks can't vote out of office. Amendment 40 would toss out any experienced judges, purely on the basis that they are, in fact, experienced. Kind of like throwing out the baby, the bath water, the soap, the wash cloth, the bubbles, and the wash tub. But at least we get to keep the rubber ducky.

Our founding fathers created three branches of government for very good reasons. Judges are purposefully not elected, so that they are not subject to the whim of the voters and can provide a balance against elected officials who might (gasp!) do something stupid just to get reelected.

Face it, no matter who you are, some judges will make some decisions that you don't agree with. Does that make such a judge an out-of-control activist? Who is more dangerous to our constitutional principles: a judge who allows gays to marry or a judge who allows habeas corpus to be suspended and prisoners to be tortured?

Amendment 40, if it passes will immediately force 5 (of 7) Supreme Court justices and 7 (of 19) Appeals judges out of office. These are all experienced professionals who have served the state for over 10 years each. Some of them will be automatically ousted in spite of having been previously approved by the electorate for retention. Even the judges who aren't getting fired will have to prove themselves in a 2008 retention election, even if already approved by the electorate beyond then.

Under this proposed insult to the state constitution, Supreme Court justices and Appeals judges will be limited to serving 10 years. Doesn't it make sense that the most experienced judges will be the best judges? Every judge is already subject to regular retention elections, possible impeachment, forced retirement at age 72, and other forms of oversight.

In 2009, under this new proposal, a very large number of judicial positions will become open. Maybe if you think your party has a good shot at the governorship this year you like those odds. But remember this, a large number of judges will be forced out in waves every 10 years, creating yet another opportunity for the governor at the time to stack the courts in his or her favor.

Think about this as well: The state will have to find a large number of skilled judges every 10 years all at once. That is likely to create a crisis when the judicial positions are not filled, as well as forcing us to lower our standards and bring in less competent or less experienced judges. Of course, I suppose that's the goal of the proponents of this amendment.

Amendment 40 is an insult to our country's founding fathers, an insult to our way of life (where else in our society do you get fired purely on the basis of having too much experience at a job), and an insult to our intelligence.

Vote NO on Amendment 40.

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