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Letter to the editor: Judicial retention elections an affront to democratic process in Minnesota

Judicial retention elections an affront to democratic process

The last two issues of the Woodbury Bulletin opinion page have contained a viewpoint and a letter addressing our judicial system focused on juries and prosecutors and defense attorneys. I ask, "What about judges?"

Dear reader, do you know our Minnesota Constitution prescribes contested judicial elections of judges by the voters in the area where the judges are to serve? This was put in by our founding fathers because appointment of judges resulted in the Dred Scott decision, which supported slavery. So our founding fathers wanted to be sure the voice of the people by electing judges would be heard. Despite recent whittling away at this constitutional right by an aggressive Minnesota Supreme Court and a negligent Minnesota state Legislature, the sentiment for public participation in electing judges is strong. Witness a recent event where a very unexpected judgeship vacancy resulted in 24 attorneys filing to run for that judgeship. This illustrates, as Bonneau and Hall show in their book, "In Defense of Judicial Elections," that the public appreciates their constitutional right to elect judges.

This right is under great threat and attack by those pushing an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would appoint all judges by an elite, unaccountable group. The only way to remove the judge would be by a so-called retention election, which is no election at all. And think of this: so what, you remove the judge and this group appoints another judge, likely the same as before.

Please ask yourself "what about judges" and don't let retention elections take away your rights.

Bob Tatreau - Woodbury

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.