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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


My Ballot: Judicial Races

I have a simple rule for judicial races this year: I'm voting for incumbents at the appellate and supreme court level.

Whenever I've looked at judicial candidates (except the rare open seat -- we have one of those on our ballot this year), I've found that challengers usually have one or more of these characteristics:
  • Far right-wing ideology (considering how long it's been since there has been a DFL governor, they are almost inevitably running against someone appointed by a Republican governor or else Jesse Ventura)
  • Sectarian Christianist views (a belief that their brand of Christian theology should be the primary reference point for legal decisions, with the U.S. Constitution taking second place behind their personal reading of the Bible)
  • A desire to increase partisanship in judicial races, and to have races focus more on specific litmus test issues rather than qualifications, experience, temperament, etc.
  • Opposition to the judicial appointment and to proposals for a retention election system for judges (something I think would be a good idea)
I have no wish to see Minnesota become one of those states where big corporations can essentially buy judges to overturn court decisions against them (witness West Virginia), nor a theocracy of any kind.  So I am voting for Helen Meyer, Alan Page, Randolph Peterson, and Larry Stauber; and against Greg Wersal, Tim Tingelstad, Roxann Klugman, and Dan Griffith.

2nd District Court

Two seats in the 2nd District Court have contested elections.  In one case there is an incumbent and a challenger; in the other, it's an open seat.  The Pioneer Press endorsing editorial does a good job of describing the qualifications of all four candidates for the two seats. There's also a good article in the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

For the open seat, Judge 16, I support Gloria Bogen.  I am especially pleased to see her experience on St. Paul's zoning board, since as a city councilmember I appreciate judges who have experience with land use issues and perspective on the process of city decisions on those matters.

Sitting Judge William H. Leary is challenged by Connie S. Iversen, a public defender.  Unlike the appellate races, this challenge does not seem to be motivated by radical ideology.  Be that as it may, I have heard good things about the incumbent from attorneys who have been in his court, and in the absence of a good reason to get rid of a judge I would rather keep their experience on the court.  So Leary gets my nod for Judge 27.


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