First, the courts are the major protection of liberty, and of the rights of minorities of all varieties against the tyranny of the majority. Without an independent judiciary, same sex marriage would not be the law in our State, for example.
Therefore, the appointment of intelligent and courageous individuals as judges is critical to the health of democracy. This issue will be critical on the national level given the age of several supreme court justices.
Further, Governor Patrick, this year, asked for funding of indigent defense realistically, so that the payment for those private attorneys who accept court appointment will not run out, leaving them working without being paid for months. I have a bias – I do some court appointed work in my practice and I do like to be paid on time. Doesn’t everyone?
However, there are vacancies on several benches that are impacting justice. There does not seem to be a shortage of attorney’s applying to become justices of the Probate and Family court [just for example] but several counties are down two or more judges.
However, I agree with Chief Legal Counsel Clements. Governor Patrick is no disappointment to the Bar – in fact, compared to Governor Romney who hated attorneys and despised independence in our judiciary – Governor Patrick is a star of Oscar winning magnitude.
Maybe it is all relative, and the problem is NOT the performance of Governor Deval Patrick, but the high expectations from Deval Patrick’s stellar campaign message.
After all, Governor Romney dissolved the Judicial Nominating Commission in favor of strongman rule [his] – and Governor Patrick reconstituted this democratic institution – but democracy is not necessarily the speed lane, reasoned, collegial analysis takes time.