the paper’s home state, Texas, has a similar rule, the paper contends, “the rules are a farce. Judges have opinions about key issues even if they keep mum. An examination of contributors to most judicial candidates already gives a good indication of their philosophical leanings.” It concludes that “[g]ood judges can be counted on to make rulings based on the law regardless of their personal feelings, and free expression will give voters a better understanding of the judges they elect.” Give Judges Chance to Speak on Issues, San Antonio Express-News, December 10, 2001.
Article reports that this year, Texas Democrats plan an expensive battle to challenge the G.O.P.’s domination of the state’s Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals, neither of which seats a Democratic judge. This year, five out of nine Supreme Court seats and three out of nine Criminal Appeals seats will be contested. Whereas the state Democratic Party did not field candidates for the 2000 Texas Supreme Court elections, this year the Party will challenge all the Supreme Court seats except for that of Chief Justice Tom Phillips. In addition, all three of Gov. Rick Perry’s midterm appointees will face challengers in the primary. Pundits expect the upcoming race to be one of the costliest in Texas history. Pete Slover, Costly Battles Predicted in Judicial Races, Dallas Morning News, January 3, 2002.
Op-ed by Wy Spano, Publisher and Co-editor of Politics in Minnesota, responds to a recent column by George Will attacking Minnesota’s prohibition of discussion by judicial candidates of contentious legal and political issues. (See Court Pester, January 3.) According to Spano, Minnesota’s judicial election rules have ensured the integrity of the courts: “When there is an election with an opponent, we insist the election not be decided on the basis of the judge’s political party nor do we allow there to be judicial bidding wars (I’ll give shoplifters five years! I’ll give them 10!). The result: We have one of the nation’s best judiciaries.” He predicts, however, that the Supreme Court will agree with Will: “Soon Minnesota will be treated to tactics and themes found, for example, in the president’s home state of Texas where, in the 2000 election, a judge who overturned a sodomy law received a letter demanding retraction or resignation from 14 Republican county chair! s.” Wy Spano, Will’s View on Judicial Selection, Alas, Will Probably Prevail, Minnesota Star-Tribune, January 10, 2002.
Wallace Jefferson, who is Texas’ first African American Supreme Court Justice, discusses his campaign in this year’s Supreme Court election. Justice Jefferson
), who was given a midterm appointment last year by Governor Rick Perry
), expresses confidence that his race will not prevent Republicans from supporting him although he has drawn a primary opponent who is white: “I hope we’re in a new period in Texas history.” He also states that fundraising was “a heavy frustration for me” but warned that excessive campaign finance regulation would mean that “you won’t have people like me running for office because I’m