Monday, November 1, 2010

Electing Judges

This is one of the most time consuming tasks and confusing tasks for me as a voter. How do I figure out whether to vote "Yes" or "No" for all of these judges? To be honest, this year, I'm voting straight Democrat for all of the elected officials. I'm sure there are some independent candidates who are worthwhile, and I'm sure not ALL Republicans are complete social conservatives. If we weren't living in a political era of staunch partisanship,  I would at least consider other candidates. But right now, I'm voting Democrat 100%.

But judges don't have a political affiliation. So where do you start?  I begin with the American Bar Association. They are an independent association of lawyers and law students that provide accreditation to law schools and seek to help their profession and increase diversity and reduce bias in the courts. They tend to lean to the liberal side and back Roe v. Wade 100%. This year they also put out an official statement urging every state in the union to permit same-sex unions. Go ABA! The ABA also rates judges on levels of qualification.

I also refer to the League of Women Voters, which is basically non-partisan, but it gives a lot of good information on all of the judges on the ballot, including endorsements, which I find rather telling.

Finally, I use a crazy conservative site, Judge Voter Guide to let me know who to vote against. They are soooooo conservative that they disapprove of even the most moderate Republican judges. Basically, they hate all judges, but really do their research (however misguided it may be)!

Supreme Court Justice
Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye: Yes. Although she is a Republican, nominated by Gov. Schwarzenagger, and is religious, she has been rated as "exceptionally well qualified." The perception is that she's fairly moderate, and socially liberal. She comes from an immigrant family and grew up extremely poor. I'm a sucker for American Dream stories. I tend to find these types to be empathetic individuals. I think she'll be fine.

Ming W. Chin: Yes. This is a tough one because he was a part of the minority decision to vote against Same-Sex marriage, but he has also voted against parental consent for abortions. Again, voted "well qualified."

Carlos R. Moreno: YES! This is an easy one. Voted for Same-Sex Marriage, against parental consent... very liberal.

Court of Appeal 
Robert M. Mallano: YES
Victoria G. Chaney:  NO
Jeffrey W. Johnson:YES
Judith M. Ashmann: YES
Walter Croskey: YES
Steven Suzukawa: NO
Orville "Jack" Armstrong: NO

Paul H. Coffee: NO
Steven Z. Perren:

Laurie D. Zelon: YES

Frank Y. Jackson: NO
Tricia A Bigelow: NO
Elizabeth Annette Grimes: NO

Office No. 28
Mark K. Ameli: YES
Randy Hammock: NO

Office No. 117
Tom Griego: YES A user comment made me look more closely at this race, and it appears that
Alan Schneider: NO  Schneider is actually more qualified and is endorsed by both sides. See recent  post for more info!

Office No. 136
Amy D. Hogue: YES

Superintendent of Public Instruction
Larry Aceves: YES (Both seem to be decent choices, but I like Aceves emphasis on peer training for teachers and his endorsement from the LA TIMES)
Tom Torlakson: NO

County Assessor
John Y. Wong: NO Actually, after a comment from a reader, I looked into this race more closely.
John R. Noguez: YES (endorsed by Democrats)   Please see my more recent post for more info!

Whew. This was really difficult and time consuming. With most of the judges, I simply decided to vote against those who were endorsed by right wing conservatives. Personally, I don't think the electorate has any business voting for judges. I think they should be appointed and reviewed. They shouldn't have to think about getting re-elected, only about making sound and fair decisions. Leave politics to politicians.

P.S. The spacing throughout this post is kind of wonky... sorry about that. Blogger is funny sometimes. 


  1. Fantastic work! I used this and it saved me loads of research.

  2. Ok, nice guide! All I have to do is vote the opposite, except Ming and Tani.

  3. Thanks! I took your list, reversed it and voted right down the conservative line. Thanks again for helping me out!!

  4. Did it actually occur to you that some of the judicial candidates you say "No" have been also endorsed by progressive and liberal groups? For example: Schneider is endosred by the LA County Democratic Party and Stonewall Democratic Club. Hammock is endorsed by the Democratic Club of San Fernando Valley, many local Democratic clubs, the Progressive Democrats, and the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association. Frankly, I am impressed that they seem to be supported by both sides of the ideological scale. Isn't that what we want in a Judge?

    Don't forget: A broken clock is right two times a day...

  5. Thanks!

    I'm always dismayed how some of these powerful offices have little information about the candidates. They should be FORCED to put a statement in the Guide...

  6. You got it wrong on the Assessor campaign. John Noguez is totally corrupt and tied to George Cole and the Bell 8. Don't be stupid. Don't vote for John Noguez....period.

  7. Glad to see lots of input... There's so little input put out there about these candidates that it's hard to know what to think about them or even find information on them. I'd love to see links from people, though.

    All the anonymous comments have good points. I will look into these issues before the morning!


This is a place for thoughtful discussion or humor, not attacks. If you disagree, please keep it polite. If you wouldn't say it that way in person, don't post it. We're not that angry here. And lighten up. Thanks!