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Scott Harn - Editor

Which Judges Should I Vote For?

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David, one of our readers from northern California, emailed me a very appropriate question today: Which judges should we be voting for?


Here is my "two cents."


First off, there's no way we have time to do background checks here at the Mining Journal on judges. It's beyond our resources.


In my eyes, I want to eliminate "activist" judges who act based on their own agenda or set of beliefs. I want someone who upholds the US Constitution and values a free economy, family values and religious freedom. I know -- they are difficult to find sometimes in my home state of California.


Fortunately, there is a gentleman by the name of Craig Huey who shares my views on this issue. He has taken the time and made the effort to research every judge on the ballot in California.  He was kind enough to come up with a rating system that takes into account experience and judicial activism.  He gives each candidate up to ten points for qualifications and up to another ten points based on their "Judicial Index" which consists of positions, rulings, statements, etc. The average of the two is their "score."


If the candidate receives a "7" for qualifications but is an extreme activist and only gets a "1" for what Huey calls their "Judicial Index," the average of the two would be a score of "4."  The higher the score, the better the candidate.


I don't agree with all of his recommendations, but I do agree with the majority of them. I tend to frown more heavily than Huey does on those judges who "legislate from the bench" instead of strictly adhering to law.


One recommendation of his in particular I don't agree with is a "Yes" vote for Kathryn Mickle Werdegar for the California Supreme Court. She received a score of "9" for her qualifications, but could only muster a "4" in the Judicial Index category. In other words, according to Huey, she is more likely to follow her own agenda and beliefs than adhere to the law.  You could have a perfect "10" in terms of qualifications, but I'm not going to vote for you if you don't follow the Constitution and the rule of law.  I will be voting "no" for each of the California Supreme Court judges on the ballot this November 4.


Superior Court judges run against each other and you can glean some decent information from their statements and endorsements.  Dig around and learn their backgrounds before you vote.


Appeals Court judges and Supreme Court judges win or retain their seats if more than 50% say "Yes" on their voter cards and it's a little tougher to gather quality information.


Huey does a fairly thorough job and provides ratings for every Superior Court, Appeals Court and Supreme Court judge in California seeking a seat at the bench.


Huey's website is a good place to start: www.judgevoterguide.com


If you have a similar or useful source for evaluating judges in your home state, please chime in and share that information with us.






Scott Harn, Editor/Publisher

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FYI -- Two of the three Third Court of Appeals judges who recently ruled in favor of suction gold dredger Brandon Rinehart will be on the ballot for some of you in northern California. The two judges are Ronald B. Robie and Andrea Lynn Hoch.


Robie and Hoch ruled that the lower court erred and should have allowed Rinehart to provide evidence that federal mining law preempts state mining law.


Robie received a score of "7" on Huey's Judicial Index and a "9" for qualifications.


Hoch received a score of "7" on Huey's Judicial Index and a "7" for qualifications.


I would vote "Yes" for both of these Appeals Court judges if they were in my county.  They cover "District 3" and should be on the ballot in the following counties:

Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.


My home county -- Santa Cruz -- is in District 6 for the California Court of Appeals. Huey and I agree on these and I will be voting as follows:

NO! - Marquez (activist judge)

NO! - Grover (activist judge)

YES!!! - Bamattre-Manoukian (Enthusiastic yes -- I'd vote for her multiple times if I could!)

YES - Elia

YES - Premo

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