This morning I read the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Lopez Torres, holding that New York State's obviously manipulated state judicial nominating conventions are constitutional under the First Amendment.
As Justice Kennedy's concurring opinion (p.4) cautions:
"Rule of law is secured only by the principled exercise of political will. If New York statutes for nominating and electing judges do not produce both the perception and the reality of a system committed to the highest ideals of the law, they ought to be changed and to be changed now. But, as the Court today holds, and for further reasons given in this separate opinion, the present suit does not permit us to invoke the Constitution in order to intervene."
Paraphrased, a party boss dominated state judiciary, ruling in the name of the most politically-expedient and influential interests, discredits the state and our democratic system from the bench.
I have every confidence that New York State's broken legislative processes in Albany will be glacially slow to ever change their political parties' coveted prize of dolling out judgeships in exchange for votes, political favors and campaign finance. After all, who picked the judges who sat in Tammany Hall Boss Tweed's famous courthouse?
With the 2008 Primary Elections in full swing, I look forward to hearing if Lopez Torres is even whispered by the leading candidates courting political party support. Do they view Lopez Torres as an example of what "the rule of law" and an independent judiciary would mean to them as President? We'll have to wait and see.
[See my prior post on Lopez Torrez: Digitally Transparent Elections? The Sorry State of Nominating Judges in New York]