Any Texas Judicial Experts Here

Discussion in 'West Mall' started by OUBubba, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. OUBubba

    OUBubba Reluctant and Bullied Sponsor

  2. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    A merit-based commission to allow Abbott to appoint people from a pre-approved list wouldn't be any worse than what we have now.
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  3. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    Barry, in Texas it's pretty simple. The insurance lobby (which tends to be Republican) is in a constant battle with the personal injury bar (which tends to be Democratic) when it comes to judges. The PI bar has generally wanted elected judges, and the insurance lobby has mostly wanted appointed judges (or what they call "judicial selection." However, the insurance lobby's preference shifts quite a bit based on the politics at the time. They have a pretty firm grip on the GOP primary, so they don't push for appointed judges very hard when Republicans are easily winning statewide. In fact, when they're very confident, they don't push for judicial selection at all, because their ideal scenario is to have judges who are entirely beholden to them. That comes with elected judges and a blindly partisan electorate.

    If the insurance lobby is starting to focus on appointed judges again (like they did in the mid-90s), it means that they aren't as confident of Republicans winning statewide beyond the governor's race. (Their grip on the GOP primary is also weaker than it used to be.)

    I'm pretty sure that Mobilhoma has appointed judges who are subject to retention elections. I think that's a better system especially for appellate court judges.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  4. Horn6721

    Horn6721 10,000+ Posts

    One point
    The PI bar tends to be Democrats
    Not Democratic,.
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  5. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    I don't intentionally use crappy grammar to make a political point.
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  6. Horn6721

    Horn6721 10,000+ Posts

    :yes:So you are saying it was an error?
  7. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    It has just always grated on me. "Democrat" is a noun. "Democratic" is an adjective. It just sounds too much like an Aggie saying "TU.'
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  8. Joe Fan

    Joe Fan 10,000+ Posts

  9. OUBubba

    OUBubba Reluctant and Bullied Sponsor

    I think electing judges is foolish. That said, it should not be differen
    i forgot about the hot mess that is the south Texas litigation ecosystem.

    District judges here are elected. State judges are appointed with recall votes votes that I think is stupid.
  10. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    It's a dumpster fire because (unsurprisingly) South Texas politics are much like north Mexican politics - a bit crooked. Stuff like this happens down there.

    I don't think it's stupid. We tend to want district judges who are known and respected by their local communities, so they have credibility with litigants, local lawyers, and jurors. However, we tend to want judges at higher levels (especially courts of last resort) to be well-credentialed and respected by their peers. Knowing what both do, it does make sense.

    I also don't have a problem with retention elections, though I'd prefer a recall process rather than an automatic election. Even if judges should generally be appointed, I don't have a problem with the people having a remedy if a judge ends up being terrible at his job.
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  11. Sangre Naranjada

    Sangre Naranjada Winebibber

    Here is my question. How would most Joe Citizen types know if a judge is terrible at his job? I mean, in principle I'm good with the people having a remedy too. But still, how does one judge a judge if one does not know a healthy amount of the details of the proper role of the court in question?
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  12. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    It's hard. What I'd suggest doing is listening to someone you trust who is familiar with what the judge is doing. Obviously I think I can judge a judge pretty reliably, and what I do is look at how the judge rules. Does he tend to look to the written law and follow it as it's written, or does he minimize the written law and instead rule based on his arbitrary agenda? If he does the former, then I consider him a good judge even if I don't like the outcome. If he does the latter, then I don't consider him a good judge even if I like the outcome.
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  13. Sangre Naranjada

    Sangre Naranjada Winebibber

    I can buy that... In fact, I'll pay a premium to buy that. But in a recall election how many of the voters would have any honest way of knowing if said judge followed and applied the law as written, or chose instead to discover his own penumbras and emanations to the statutes in question, William Douglas style? Furthermore, how many would even care? I'd worry that the recall would boil down to how thoroughly the judge could be smeared in a handful of potentially deceptive 30 second TV ads. Far too often, elections are nothing more than high school student council popularity contests these days.
  14. OUBubba

    OUBubba Reluctant and Bullied Sponsor

    My dad was a small town attorney. My neighbor was a local elected judge. A good one. After about ten years you piss off enough people doing your job that you get unelected.

    I personally heard someone say she votes against all men. I hurt my eyes from rolling them so hard. I have a website that i think is credible that I go to before elections.
  15. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    You guys are both bringing up very solid arguments against elected judges, and I don't really have anything to really rebut them. You're right. When we elect judges, we sometimes make very stupid choices. I've seen some very conscientious judges defeated for having Hispanic surnames (like Reyna, Rodriguez, and Garcia) and for having an opponent with the last name of "Law."

    Here's what's tough. The other extreme is life tenured appointments like we have at the federal level. That system works great until you get a ****** judge that you can't get rid of, which happens a lot.

    I like the Mobilhoma system, because it strikes a balance. It's not perfect, but I'll take it over what we have in Texas.
  16. OUBubba

    OUBubba Reluctant and Bullied Sponsor

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  17. Sangre Naranjada

    Sangre Naranjada Winebibber

    Oh, good lord, you got him started.
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  18. Garmel

    Garmel 5,000+ Posts

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  19. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    Trust me, I did consider that. Fortunately, Garmel put him back in his place.
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  20. mb227

    mb227 2,500+ Posts

    The happy medium is to quit electing judges based upon partisan politics. This is not to say you won't have judges and candidates that belong to a particular party, but you reduce substantially the wave of crappy judges who get in solely because too many idiots won't look beyond a letter inside of a set of parentheses on the ballot.

    It does drastically increase the likelihood of judicial races having far fewer votes cast than the major races, but it DOES increase the likelihood of those ballots cast being from people that took the time to become informed.

    There is information out there that helps to inform about qualifications (or lack thereof) for those that are willing to exert the few minutes it takes to BECOME informed.
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  21. Horn6721

    Horn6721 10,000+ Posts

    oh heck
    You are waaay to generous regarding the voters willingness to actually educate themselves on issues.
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  22. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    In theory, I prefer nonpartisan elections for judges, because partisan politics and even policy preferences shouldn't have any role whatsoever in how a judge rules. For example, I'm very pro-gun. That's my policy preference, but McDonald v. City of Chicago (which used the 14th Amendment to force the 2nd Amendment onto the states) is a ******** decision even though it follows my preference.

    However, I don't believe that making the elections nonpartisan would mean that more informed voters would be choosing our judges. What I think would happen is that people would choose judges based on what names they like. They'll see a Latin surname or a black-sounding first name and make assumptions (good or bad). People do that **** all the time. If you're running in the Rio Grande Valley, it's a major advantage to have the name "Antonio Hernandez" rather than the name "Horst Wilhelm." If you're running in South Dallas, "TaQuan Williams" is going to beat "Zhang Chang" every time.

    Or they'll just look at names that sound cool - what I like to call novelty candidates. Guys like Kenneth Law (who got elected to the Third Court of Appeals several years ago) will win. I used to sometimes mediate cases with a guy named Jeff Jury. He's a good mediator and sharp guy. He'd probably make a great judge, but that's not why he'd win. He'd win because a bunch of dumbasses would think it was cool to vote for a judge whose last name was "Jury."

    In other words, I don't think people would look deeper than the party label. I think they'd look even shallower than the party label.
  23. mb227

    mb227 2,500+ Posts

    Back in the days before the electronic balloting and the straight-ticket nonsense, you had MANY who simply voted the races at the top. They never got to the down-ballot stuff (that actually mattered if they had any sort of a clue). Judicial races got far fewer votes than the national stuff up top.

    This is not to say that everyone who got down-ballot had actually become informed, but the idiots tended not to EVEN get to that portion of the ballot. Of course, there were likely far fewer 'ethnic' names on a ballot back then, but getting away from straight-ticket voting probably puts us closer to people actually LOOKING at the races. That is a better place than where we are right now...
  24. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    You may be right, but with electronic ballots, I'm not sure as many would skip the down-ballot races. You have to very intentionally skip them. It's not like the old days when you could just close blow them off. And of course, we assign virtue to voting now, which is stupid. I think people feel guilty in a way if they don't vote.
  25. BevoJoe

    BevoJoe 10,000+ Posts

    Well said Mr. Deez. That's the key.
  26. mb227

    mb227 2,500+ Posts

    Speaking of names...

    saw a remand today from the CCA where the guy's last name was Bogus. Kicked back for a review on affidavits...

    Gavel bangs...

    We are here on the Bogus matter.

    [shakes head] Is this for real?

    Who has the Bogus affidavit?

    (yes, I was easily amused this morning)
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