Monday, November 06, 2006

More Election Stuff -- Judicial Races and a few changes of mind

I've had some trouble finding much information about the statewide judicial candidates. They aren't allowed to campaign, and I haven't seen any sources I particularly trust giving recommendations -- in fact, I've only really found one place that gives any recommendations at all. That would be a blog called The James Hartline Report. (Actually, I first found it posted to something called "The Conservative Voice" but they seem to have gotten it from Hartline. In describing himself, Mr. Hartline says, "From fighting illegal porn stores to exposing the corruption within the homosexual agenda, James is being used to confront the powers of darkness in San Diego, California." His recommendations on the judicial candidates are based pretty much entirely on their adherence, or lack thereof, to the Christianist "family values" agenda (anti-abortion, anti-gay, and anti-secular in general), rather than any evaluation of their legal competence or basic fairness (with one exception I will come to).

Since Mr. Hartline seems to hold beliefs almost diametrically opposed to mine on these issues, however, it seems that without further information, the best I can do is see what he says -- and then, for the most part, do the opposite.

For Joyce L. Kennard, for instance, he notes that she's stated support for gay marriage and voted to overturn parental consent laws with respect to abortion. Big Yes here.

Carole A. Corrigan -- I found editorials listing her as a moderate, and praising Schwarzenegger for appointing her instead of caving to the far right and appointing someone more like the judge she was replacing (Janice Rogers Brown, a nutjob Bush was attempting to promote to the Federal appeals court). Of course, Hartline recommends a no vote for the simple reason that she's "is perhaps the first lesbian appointed to California's Supreme Court" by the "liberal" Schwarzenegger. Yes.

Judith McConnell draws fire for a ruling she made some years back, granting custody of a 16-year-old boy to the partner of his late gay father, rather than to his natural mother. Admittedly, this is a bit of an odd ruling. However, his Mom had kept him in hiding for a couple of years rather than let his father see him (she's a "born-again" Christian who believes homosexuality a sin), and according to the ruling, had interfered with his education and generally been a source of instability. Naturally, the conservative group accuses her of promoting the gay/secular/moral relativist agenda. Big Yes from here!

Patricia Benke is another one the anti-abortion crowd despises, since she ruled that pro-life groups had to pay the "bogus" attorney's fees when they sued Planned Parenthood to "protect young girls who were getting abortions." Riiiiight. Yes.

On the other hand, they like Richard D. Huffman, since he ruled that doctors were within their rights to refuse to impregnate a lesbian woman, owing to their personal religious beliefs. No.

Judith Haller joined in the same ruling as Patricia Benke, above, and is called "one of the most radical and liberal supporters of abortion in the California judiciary." Yes.

Cynthia G. Aaron -- well, let me just quote: "Another radical appointment by former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, Cynthia G. Aaron was recently honored by the radical liberal group, the American Jewish Committee, whose board of trustees include radicals Bob Filner, Lynn Shenk and gay pride participant Sheriff Bill Kolender, as well as lesbian board member Bonnie Dumanis. This group lists as speakers for its leadership program, leftist Congresswoman Susan Davis, embryonic stem cell advocate Joe Panetta of BIOCOM, and radical San Diego City Councilman Scott Peters. The American Jewish Committee has been fighting aggressively for the removal of the Ten Commandments from public squares and is a major proponent of the separation of church and state." A glowing recommendation! Definite Yes! (...oh, they don't like her? Ooops. Well, they're wrong, so...)

Joan K. Irion -- not much to say about her, except that Gray Davis appointed her, meaning she is "sure to continue the radical rulings for abortion and gay rights." Yes.

Art W. McKinster is a "perverted-minded judge" who ruled in favor of a strip club in San Bernadino. No real details are given, but anyone Harline calls perverted gets an up-check here. Yes.

Betty A. Richli-- I may break precedent here. They say that Richli has "mostly been conservative in her rulings. Recent rulings to protect students and parents privacy by declaring a state law unconstitutional which had allowed the names of minor students to be publicly disclosed when the student is expelled from school was a fair ruling to protect parental/child rights. Richli has also ruled in favor of the strength of marijuana drug laws. She has ruled that police officers cannot sue for defamation of character when they are falsely accused, a ruling not too favorable with law enforcement. Overall Justice Richli should be returned to the bench on Nov. 7, 2006." I'm not sure about the latter two rulings, but the privacy one seems like a win to me. I'm actually going to agree with them (gasp). Yes.

Jeffrey King -- He should be "soundly rejected" because -- ready? -- he made a $450 donation to a Democratic congressional candidate in 2002. Yeah, that's a crime. Oh, wait, it was Joe Baca, a "radical abortion-extremist." Personally, I think people who blow up abortion clinics are the "radical abortion-extremists." However, given the slant of this site, I'm not sure there are many Democrats they wouldn't slap that term on. So, another Yes.

Douglas P. Miller gets my favorite down-check so far. He's a recent Schwarzenegger appointment, which they hold against him ("Schwarzenegger has not appointed anyone who supports a pro-life or pro-traditional marriage inclination"). Worse yet... "Miller spent a great deal of his educational and teaching history with BYU" -- so, they reason, he would have a pro-Mormon prejudice, which "could be a problem for those who are strict Christian traditionalists." Yeah, 'cause we all know what radical liberals come out of BYU, right? I have to give him a Yes just for that.

Kathleen O'Leary is another Gray Davis appointee, so he hates her. Yes.

And lastly the one I'm not sure about from their info, Raymond J. Ikola. It says that Ikola "has made controversial rulings on illegal immigrants and video camera surveillance issues vs. free speech." But it doesn't say what those rulings are, just that he's "dangerous." Based on what they seem to consider dangerous....I have to go with Yes.

On a couple of other matters: I have been mulling over two issues in particular since last time, and I think I may change my votes. They are California's proposition 86 and San Diego's prop A.

Prop 86 is the big cigarette tax. Though it might induce some people to smoke less or quit, and might stop some young people from starting, I just don't think I can support a tax increase this big to fund a lot of programs only indirectly related. Stopping and preventing smoking is good; more funding for hospitals is good; but this seems a bit ill-designed. I think, after all, I'm going to vote No.

As for Prop A, I'm unmoved by the people who seem to imply that voting against it means you hate the Marine Corps. And I still think that Miramar would be a very good site for a future international airport, if the military ever decided to shut the base down. However, I don't think that decision will be the least bit affected by how we vote on this measure. It seems to me all it's likely to do is delay any alternative planning. It seems more reasonable to take that option off the table, until and unless the military changes its position. So, I think I will change to a No on this as well. After all, doing so doesn't actually prevent resuming negotiations if the Marines suddenly decide to change plans.

You have a day or so to try to talk me into changing my mind on any of this. :)

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