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Presently, the Minnesota Legislature is looking at ways in which to deal with Minnesota elections. The reason for the discussion is the passage of Republican Party of Minnesota v. White when the U S Supreme Court struck down the Minnesota canon of judicial ethics which barred candidates from announcing their views on disputed legal and political issues. The options were looked at by the Quie Commission and a number of options were considered:

1) Do nothing. It makes these elections like any other and may bring the multi million dollar races in to the state that are taking place in other parts of the country.

2) Appoint judges for life or for set terms that eliminate the elections all together. This takes the vote away from the people. It is like the federal judges.

3) Retention elections where the issue is whether the judge should remain or not. In these elections, there is still the vote, but there is no opposite. So if the judge loses they are replaced through an appointment system. Parties that want their own agenda on the bench or can’t get appointed don’t like this option.

Personally, I am quite concerned about political endorsements in judicial elections and what the affect of more money is going to do to the system. It is particularly bothersome that the U S Supreme Court , which doesn’t face elections and which chaffs at the thought of being asked issue questions in their nomination process, is making the decisions it has. But, taking away the vote completely is very unAmerican. My hope is that the retention elections continue to get traction and we see something that prevents the buying of the state supreme court seats.

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