Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Right-wing amendment would make Kentucky judicial elections partisan

Very few states have partisan judicial elections. But right-wing Kentucky State Rep. Myron Dossett wants to gut Kentucky's tradition of an impartial and independent judiciary. He has proposed an amendment to the Kentucky Constitution that would eliminate nonpartisan judicial elections and have candidates for judgeships run on a partisan ballot.

All this after the Republicans kept complaining that "liberal" judges were "politicizing" Kentucky's judiciary.

This would seem to violate judicial codes relating to impartiality. The real purpose of the proposed amendment is to expand Republicans' power over Kentucky politics by letting judicial candidates appeal to right-wing activists' partisanship and rake in money from partisan special interest groups.

Alexander Hamilton opposed selecting judges based on partisan labels, because partisanship worsened cronyism. In fact, the long-term trend in other states has been towards nonpartisan judicial elections - for precisely that reason. But don't tell that to the Kentucky GOP - for they support cronyism. The amendment is a naked power grab.

If this amendment passes, can it backfire right in the Republicans' faces? If poo. GOP voters are aging, and the youngest voters are overpoweringly Democratic. But by the time this trend sways more rural counties, it may be too late.

Like all right-wing power grabs, this proposal must be fought with gusto.

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