Why I Would Not Want To Be A Judge

In the world of lawyering, the three cushiest jobs are 1) law professor; 2) corporate counsel; 3) judge. Every lawyer occasionally dreams about those three jobs.

For me, the first two are completely unattainable. The first because I did not go to a fancy pants law school. The second because I don’t play golf. All signs point to no judgeship, either. For the same reasons I could never be corporate counsel or a law professor, I could never be a federal judge. As for the state, I really don’t think I could ever in a million years endure an election.

Then there are stories like this, that make me wonder if I’d ever even want to be a judge:

A Republican leader said Thursday the GOP plans to add the names of 35 House Democrats to a fast-growing lawsuit that soon could challenge the elections of almost half of the members of the Alabama Legislature.

House Minority Leader Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said the lawsuit, originally filed against four Democratic state senators, will be amended to include the 35 House Democrats who he said did not have opposition in the party primary and did not file disclosure forms with the Secretary of State.

The decision to add more Democrats to the lawsuit comes after Democrats intervened in the lawsuit and asked that it include a group of Republicans – four senators, 21 representatives and two appellate court judges – who had no opposition in the Republican primary and didn’t file campaign finance reports.

Never mind that the initial lawsuit was patently political. Or that the goal is to overturn the election of UNOPPOSED candidates. Or that the whole thing looks like a bunch of two year olds arguing over who hit who first. How would you like to try and manage all those self-important do nothings? Can you even imagine what kinds of bloviating and hyperbole will fill the briefs and arguments? “The people of our great state, the wonderful citizens of Alabama, expressed their will and chose Mr. X. as their representative. They trust Mr. X. They want Mr. X. to lead us into the future. But now the evil opposition, acting purely out of greed and self-interest, wants to thwart the will of the people and thrust Alabama back into the dark ages. No! We say. And No! This Court must say.” I do not envy the judge in this case.   

I don’t mean to assign equal blame. I don’t fault Turnham for adding all the Republicans, nor do I fault Hubbard for adding the Democrats. Montiel should get all the blame for this. He filed the initial suit. But his arguments against the initial four democratic defendants apply with equal force to all the others who have been added. Turnham was right to say if it’s good for the goose it’s good for the gander. And Hubbard was right to then add the rest of the geese.  

Still, the whole thing is really ridiculous. I think Turnham put it best:

“I think ultimately the best thing to do is to throw all of this out and give all these people certificates of election and let them get about business,” Turnham said.

Turnham said he doesn’t think Alabama voters want any of the candidates elections thrown out – Republicans or Democrats.

“I don’t think this is indicative of what the people expressed on Nov. 7. I think somebody needs to call time-out and we need to get this done,” Turnham said. 

Hear, hear! Except Montiel needs more than a time out. He needs a good paddling.

Dan has his thoughts here.  Danny has plenty of coverage, you can start here, or here. I commented on the merits of the suit here. And Loretta Nall offers what may be the best suggestion:

Wouldn’t it be an amazing thing if both of these lawsuits actually managed to clean out the state house and senate to a large degree? Just think, we might actually be able to place competent people in their positions and change the course of Alabama forever.

I know, I know….I’m dreaming….but I think I will write Santa and ask for these lawsuits to be successful anyway.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Alabama Legislature, Elections

6 Comments on “Why I Would Not Want To Be A Judge”


  1. […] Not Want To Be A Judge  Filed under Elections, Law and courts permalink :: email author :: 3 comments Comments to “I’mblinking” […]

  2. Dan Says:

    I think the prospect of a partisan election scares away many good potential judges. Of course, I think the election of judges is bad for a variety of reasons.

  3. walt moffett Says:

    If Ms Nall continues talking sense, I just might vote Liberterian in 2008 instead of writing in Cthulhu.

  4. Don Says:

    This is great sport in my book. We don’t need a legislature with 140 members anyway, so removing about half of them (wishful thinking, because I doubt that happening) would suit me just fine even though my rep is on the list of those being challenged by the Democratic party.

    Some in the original can of worms suit filed by Monteil are an impediment to good government anyway. I think his suit is in deep doo-doo now that it will be in Judge Price’s hands and with Hank Sanders as one of the targets.

    There’s more to this than just tit-for-tat politics. Behind part of it (challenging Means, especially) is involved in the struggle to maintain control of the senate by Barron.

  5. wheeler Says:

    “We don’t need a legislature with 140 members anyway”

    amen to that. i’m all for downsizing montgomery in favor of local control.

  6. Don Says:

    Wheeler, Re: downsizing the legislature. This is one version of a letter to the editor that I sent to several newspapers recently, some of which published it:
    ………………………………………………………………………………………
    Re: Your November 21 editorial, “Nonpartisan vote good argument” regarding Chief Justice-elect Cobb’s proposal on how judges should be selected in Alabama.

    If having candidates for judgeships campaign and elected on a non-partisan basis is a good idea, it should be an even better idea to have candidates for the state legislature do likewise, and we have a model for doing that in Nebraska where this has been done for over 70 years.

    As a result our legislature would be more non-partisan as far as political parties are concerned, and the legislators could create legislation more in tune with the will of their constituents rather than along party lines. After all, isn’t that what the people who put them in office and pay their salaries would rather have? I know I would.

    When Nebraskans initiated this electoral system they also reduced the membership of their legislature from 133 to 43 – nearly a 70 percent reduction. That might be another good idea Alabamians should pursue.


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