My Ballot for Next Tuesday: Page Two

I already posted my Page One voting choices for this year’s election. Now it is time to turn the ballot over and talk about judges. In the mean time, if you are in or near Minneapolis, Hennepin County or the Fifth Congressional District, I invite you to have a look at this ballot, as it might be useful to you.

Judges are difficult as elections are inherently political and judges try to pretend to not be. However, a little digging can help determine the philosophical leanings of judges in a way that may matter, or information about their competence or lack thereof. Or, if the are a teabagger or something appalling like that.

In the following, I rely in large part (though not entirely) on three posts at Minnesota Progressive: Minnesota Judicial Elections 2010, Minnesota Judicial Elections 2010 (part 2), Minnesota Judicial Elections 2010 (part 3), and Minnesota Judicial Elections 2010 (part 4), all by Progressive writer Rachel Nygaard. If you don’t see a judge from your ballot in my discussion, check out Rachel’s posts, as she may have covered that race there. (I’m only giving you my local ballot.)

Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 2

For this seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court, I’m voting for Helen Meyer, the incumbent. She is being challenged by a meathead libertairan teabagger who has an understanding of the Constitution that reminds me of Michel Bachmann: I.e, he is a moron. I don’t need to know much about Meyer to vote for her.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 6

The Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (the yahooistic anti-choice organization) has a candidate in the race, and his name is Tim Tingelstat. He wants scripture to guide what we teach in schools, and has suggested that the churches simply be contracted to run our school system. The guy is a total nutcase. I’m voting, therefore, for Alan Page.

For those of you from out of state, I should note that Tingelstat is a really common name around here. There is a Tinglestat or two in our legislature, and there is one running for Soil and Water supervisor.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 5

There is only one candidate running, Christopher Dietzen. I don’t like Penwell, and won’t vote for him. For example, he does not think it is the job of the judiciary to protect people from abuse of rights that are not written in the constitution (even though the Constitution actually provides a special “meta-right” for all the rights that are generally accepted but not written specifically in the constitution, which is readily evoked by Republicans and Teabaggers when convenient). I may write someone in. Suggestions would be appreciated.

Court of Appeals Judge 13

In the race of challenger Roxann Klugman vs Randolph Peterson is harder to call with real information, as little is available, but the dogwhistles and subtle hints seem to indicate that Klugman is a Repulbican and I have yet to meet one I’d vote for. So, I’m sticking with Randolph Peterson.

Court of Appeals Judge 14

In this race, an apparent teabagger, Dan Griffith, is challenging the incumbant, Larry Stauber Jr. Griffith is one of those who think our country has been taken away from “us” (by Obama and the Mosslemansymp Libruls). He has stated “It is not just about meaningful elections. It is about what you do once you get elected. We need to take our country back!” So, I’m voting for the seeming compentant Larry Stauber.

There is a whole slew of court of appeals candidates running unopposed. I am not inclined to write in alternatives, and will likely not vote for any of them. I’m sure many of them are fine, but voting is about choice, and with no choice, why not send the message that there should be a choice?

10th District Court, Seat 3

There are 24 candidates running for this seat and we get to pick one. This is n open eat, and the bar is low for running in this race, and apparently everyone wants this job. I used hthis to narrow the field to a half dozen or so, reapplied some of Rachel’s own criteria to knock off a couple of others, eliminated anyone who was mainly a prosecutor, and then ended up picking Lindy Yokanovich because she won the Pro Bono award. So I figure she’s more on our side than their side, depending on who they are (and who we are).

10th District Judge 27

Teabagger John Dehen, a misogynist anti-choice violent would be felon is challenging the respected and experienced Michael Roith. Hmmm let’s see … I think I’ll vote for Michael Roith.

The remaining Judaical seats in my voting area are uncontested.


  1. #1 Anonymous
    October 30, 2010

    I’m trying to decide on the Salt Lake County judges this weekend as well. On Appeals and District judges I have surveys that show either they are all upright honest judges or most of the lawyers that appear before them are suck up teachers pets. Sorry, but why should I believe the lawyers are giving honest answers?

    So I think I’m going to vote to retain everybody who did not attend BYU. I don’t like the bigotry involved in this decision, but I do find the LDS church involvement in politics problematic and this is a small way of saying ‘Back Off’.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    October 30, 2010

    I think in races like this, where there is habitually too little information available, using a criterion like this is a good one. Back when I lived in The People’s Republic, where all judicial candidates are lefties, I simply voted only for women when there was a choice. Seemed like we needed more female judges, or fewer male ones at least.

  3. #3 The Big E
    October 30, 2010

    Thanks for the linkey luv, Greg. Always appreciated.

  4. #4 Clam
    October 31, 2010

    It has often occurred to me that the process of “electing” judges is at the root of the corruption that appears to be endemic in the U.S. How can you have an independent judiciary when an incumbent judge owes “favors” to other politicos?

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    October 31, 2010

    But they might owe more favors, or in a worse way, if they were appointed by elected officials. This way they may owe to politicos but also to the electorate.

  6. #6 Clam
    October 31, 2010

    A good point, but in the U.K. I think I’m right in saying that they are appointed by the judiciary itself – and can’t be dismissed except for gross malfeasance. They also get paid enough to make bribes unattractive. This gives them a degree of independence which can, sometimes, be a problem but which, on the whole, seems to work.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    October 31, 2010

    In America we have thing thing were we need each of the three branches of government to have a way to fuck up the other branches of government.

    Executive overseas all elections, can appoint representatives if one dies or something, and can even vote in the chambers under certain circumstances (the Vice President is a tiebreaker vote in the Senate, for example). The representatives can affect who is in the executive (non elected) such as the Senate confirming all important and non-political executive appointments, including judges (thus getting a two-fer). The executive appointing supreme court judges. The judges over-ruling laws passed by the legislature or regulations crafted by the executive, and so on.

    Something simple and sensible like the judiciary appointing its own would be communistico-socialism and possibly gay or at least bicoastal. Can’t happen here.

  8. #8 Clam
    October 31, 2010

    Most courteous of you to explain. Thank you and keep up the good work. Even on this side of the pond, I shudder at the prospect of a Tea Pot victory.

  9. #9 Annie Up North
    November 1, 2010

    Read who you were voting for and why. Thanks for all that info on the liberal freaks, now I know who NOT to vote for.

  10. #10 Keith Hammerbeck
    November 1, 2010

    Thank you, Greg, for adding information critical to my decision tomorrow. I must return for more of your blog.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    November 1, 2010

    Annie, where up north are you? This ballot may not help much if you are in a different county. From your IP address I’m thinking you’re in the lakes region.

  12. #12 Zera Lee
    November 2, 2010

    HI, Greg. I reached the same conclusions you did, but I thought I would share a few more resources with you:

    This is a discussion of some of these judicial candidates.

    The League of Women Voters has a fairly complete online ballot with information on some of the candidates. I picked up a printed version at the city offices.

    And last but not least, I discovered the Judgepedia search engine.

    It’s the city-level candidates I have had trouble finding anything about. Too small a constituency, I guess.

  13. #13 Teresa
    November 2, 2010

    Thank you so much for this article. This was an easy way for me to figure out who NOT to vote for!

  14. #14 gips
    November 2, 2010

    thanks for the input…i’m voting for everyone you are not. 🙂

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    November 2, 2010

    Gips, glad I could do your thinking for you … as otherwise, you may not be able to handle that on your own.