For the first time in years – or at least in any of our memories – there’s controversy surrounding the election of Superior Court judges in tomorrow’s primary. Normally, the usual (yawn) campaign of judges takes on the quiet excitement associated with lawn bowling. But not this year, this year of the rise of the tea party.
This year there is a tea party-like group called “Better Courts Now” that is upsetting the apple cart by pushing their own slate of holier-than-thou conservative candidates. As if judges weren’t conservative enough! Most judges are former prosecutors – an already conservative role within the court system – and so by time most don their black robes and step up to the seats – there’s definitely a conservative bias that dominates the courtroom.
Now this tea party-minded group wants even more conservatives to get their judicial days in court. The group’s website does not appear to have any direct connections to the tea partiers but if you check out some of their past articles, it is very apparent that Better Courts Now is an anti-abortion group that supported Prop 8 – the law banning gay marriages in California.
There’s five judicial posts open on Primary day. Whomever you vote for, just make sure you DO NOT VOTE for the following – all endorsed and supported by “Better Courts”:
- DO NOT VOTE for Craig Candelore
- DO NOT VOTE for Bill Trask
- DO NOT VOTE for Harold Coleman, Jr
- DO NOT VOTE for Larry “Jake” Kincaid
The San Diego County Bar Association gave “well qualified” ratings to three of the sitting judges: Jon Lantz Lewis, Robert Longstreth and Joel Wohlfeil.
The fourth sitting judge up for re-election, DeAnn Salcido was rated as “lacking qualifications.” This adverse rating stems from at least a couple of reasons. One, she is not all that respected by trial lawyers for her in-court behavior (nit-picking and insistence on her own imposed rules and procedures), and two, she upset the judicial tray of good manners when she sued her own presiding judge out in El Cajon (a definite no-no). The problem is that her only challenger is the arch-conservative Harold Coleman, who received an “unable to evaluate” rating.
There is no incumbent judge in one Superior Court race, and the County Bar gave “well qualified” ratings to two prosecutors running (see, what did I tell you): Stephen Patrick Clark – a retired federal prosecutor, and Richard Monroy – a deputy DA. They are up against El Cajon businessman Jim Miller, Jr., who the Bar rated as “lacking qualifications.”
The three other conservative extremists (Kincaid, Candelor, and Trask) all received “lacking qualifications,” ratings.