Western Conservatives Seek Clampdown on Courts


Furious over recent court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage and other offenses against their idea of all that’s right and good, conservatives in several Western states are pushing ballot measures that would limit the power and independence of judges, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A measure in South Dakota would allow citizens to sue judges over their rulings (but can they go on to sue the second judge if he or she don’t rule against the first?). One in Colorado would impose term limits on judges, another in Montana would allow residents to easily recall them, and yet another in Oregon would require high court judges “to be elected by geographic district, so they reflect the values of conservative rural communities as well as the liberal legal establishment in Portland,” sums up the Times.

Judges, presumably, will put up a fight against these impositions on their authority, and they’re no slouches in the electoral politics arena. In the many states in which they are elected, judicial candidates have for years been raking in huge campaign contributions.

WE DON'T KNOW

What's going to happen next as the headlines grow crazier and more disconcerting by the day. But we do know the job of an independent, unrelenting press is more important than ever—and the ongoing commitment of MoJo readers to fight for a democracy where facts matter and all can participate is absolutely vital.

If you feel the urgency deep in your bones like we do, please consider signing up as a monthly donor during our fall pledge drive to support Mother Jones' fair and fearless reporting for the long haul (or make a one-time gift if that works better for you). The headlines may fade, but the need to investigate the powerful never will.

  • Vince Beiser, a former Mother Jones senior editor, has reported from more than 30 countries—on troop training in Iraq, natural disasters in Haiti, and prison conditions in California.