Washington State Superior Court Judge, Bruce Hilyer, spoke to Emerald City Rotary this morning about judicial independence. If you are like me, you probably have not thought that much about judicial independence.
Clearly we should think about it more because without it our Washington judges would be for sale. And in the wake of Citizens United, it may be on the way. Sound crazy? Judge Hilyer pointed out today that in some states the Super Pacs are already buying judges. In a state where it takes millions to get elected to the bench, instead of the mere hundreds of thousands as it does in Washington, Judges are very likely to be in the debt of big donors.
The tale only gets worse as the Super Pacs are raising money from trial lawyers. I have to say that the thought of a lawyer getting the shake down from a lobbyest does have its appeal. They do deserve each other. But even lawyers are people.
The Judge went on to discuss how he thought the Supreme Court's recent decision about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was well crafted by Chief Justice Roberts because it walked the Supreme Court back from politics. No matter your political affiliation, we should all agree that anything to help the Supreme Court recover from Chief Justice Rehnquist's involving the highest court in the 2000 presidential election is a good thing.
More about Washington State judicial elections here.
More about Judge Hilyer here.