|Judge Bob Edmunds|
"Just Say No!"
Does that sound like democracy to you? No, it sounds like a naked political ploy to insure that Bob Edmunds, the only Supreme Court justice up for reelection in 2016, gets to keep warming his square footage of upholstered leather. Allowing Judge Edmunds to appear on the 2016 ballot unopposed is a baroque twisting of fair elections, but what else is new with this Raleigh bunch?
The state constitution specifies that judges to the Supreme Court shall be elected by the people. A "retention election," as the new innovation is called, offers nothing that resembles a regular election, and the lawmakers are counting on the public not knowing enough to say "HELL NO!"
House Bill 222 is now being challenged in court as an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of voters. Lead plaintiff Sabra Faires, an attorney, a past judicial candidate, and an independent voter, said in a press release about the lawsuit, “I am qualified to run for the Supreme Court and want to serve, but even more important is stopping the legislature from rewriting the constitution without the consent of the people.”
“If election of a Supreme Court justice means nothing more than a retention referendum," Faires added, "with no choice between candidates, then the General Assembly would be free to say that’s enough for all those other offices as well.”
I bet that's occurred to them.
The ruling party puts up a candidate or proposition and the voters can say yes or no. This is the way it worked most recently in the Soviet Union, although it was pioneered by Napoleon III of France during the so called Second Empire (1852-71). It is sometimes called plebiscitary democracy but it violates the spirit of fair, representative, and truly democratic government and is deliberately designed to divide, frighten, and intimidate one's opponents. It works for a while but what usually comes next is flight (voluntary or forced) of political opposition, cynicism and corruption of the officeholders who have relied on this method of maintaining power, popular unrest (requiring subjection) and ultimately coups, revolution, and/or violence against the ruling party. This is the opposite of what we should want for our nation.
Thus endeth the history lesson for today.
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