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"rid of a bad judge once he gets on the- bench; und we will keep on getting
bad judges just as long as judges are made by the politicians instead of the
I firmly believe that no honest judge has anything to fear from the
recall, once judges are nominated by petition and elected without regard
to how they vote in presidential elections.
The only way to get rid of federal judges, who have a life tenure, is
by the laborious and uncertain impeachment route; and politics is very apt
to enter into that The fourteen-year term is only slightly different
If the people elect their judges they should have the. power to discharge
them; and that's what the recall means. But I believe the recall would
work out better with an indefinite term than with short terms. Judges
won't think- much of a job that requires them to run every four years and
then risk a recall campaign between runs.
If elected as non-partisans, however, owing no obligation to anybody
except the public for their jobs, they would have much less to fear from
the recall than if elected as partisans.
I believe that if judges were elected to hold office not for a fixed term
of years, but during good behavior, they would not have to concern them
selves while on the bench with anything save being honest and just judges;
and no enemy or enemies could work up a recall petition against an honest
judge unless the provocation were great enough to arouse very bitter hos
tility on the part of a large portion of the voters.
When the Pacific coast states first adopted the recall it was an in
novation, and many lawyers and judges feared it just as people fear any
innovation. However, it is working out much better than the fearful ones
thought it would, and politicians have not been able to play with it
I recall one case in Oregon where a judge rendered a decision In a
murder case that apparently aroused the whole state. Anyhow it aroused
the newspapers. An attempt was made by the judge's enemies to recall
him, taking advantage of the general criticism. However, the people, even
many of them who were indignant, refused to sign the recall petition.
The position, practically, was that the judge's general record was good
and that, even if he did make one mistake, it wasn't the right thing to kick
him off the bench for that And he wasn't recalled.
In other words, he was judged by his batting average and not by the
one time he struck out with,the bases full.
I have seen many instances where the people were fairer than the
politicians; and I believe that generally they aye fairer. And I believe that
any good judge would be much more comfortable on the bench, much more
free from political pull or fear, and in much better position to be fearlessly
just, If he were elected as a judge, rather than as a partisan, and knew he
would remain on the bench as long as he was reasonably just. For I think
he would have little to fear from the recall so long as he was honest
The people are moving away from New York and federal plans just as
they are moving away from the absurd Illinois plan of forcing their judges
to apply to party bosses for political nominations and being under obliga
tions to influential politicians for their jobs.
I know of no better way than this to take the people's courts out of,
r pohtics and get good judges on the b ench-and keep them there.
Conjuror, who is about to begin . boy comes forward. Conjuror Have
his performance Will any boy you ever seen me before, my boy?
please lend me his assistance? A Boy No, father! -., -
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