Judicial Questionnaires: Why Not?

Family News in Focus’ weekend radio program broadcast the best round-up we’ve heard of the legal issues involved in voters guides and questionnaires for judicial candidates. (Download audio file.)

Granted, it’s an advocacy piece; conservative Christian groups like Focus in the Family want more transparency in state judicial elections because they believe it benefits candidates who are rule-of-law judges (as opposed to liberal activists). State business groups tend to agree.

The report brings more info to bear on a national issue being played out in the states than we’ve encountered anywhere else. Did you know that the James Madison Center has organized the Judicial Accountability Project to end laws and rules that prevent judges from answering questionnaires? Legal efforts are under way in eight states.

As John Stamberger of the Florida Family Policy Council says: “All judges have views. The only question is [whether] they express those views when they write a decision, when they do a dissent, or when they rule from the bench. The question is, does it serve the interest of a robust democracy for us to know those views before they’re elected or learn those views after they’re elected. ”

The soundfile linked above is the full 5:30 interview broadcast this weekend. A shorter version was broadcast on April 28th; here’s the transcript.

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