Subject: Legal Foxes Guarding the Judicial Hen House
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"North Carolina lawyers rate state judges," thus was the headline of a story below the fold in the News & Observer, 1-4-11, by Rob Christensen, suggested to be a "Public barometer" for the re-election of judges in 2012.
Have I missed something? I thought, or was lead to believe that the evaluation of lawyers was the function of the Martindale-Hubbel Law Directory. And according to the N.C. Volume 12 of the Martindale-Hubbel Law Directory,  some "...some lawyers and law firms are ommitted by request, and the information is provided by the firms and/or the lawyers themselves.
While the governor might--and I repeat--might ask the N.C. Bar for their recommendation, in the case of former Governor Hunt, who appointed Donald Overby back to the Bench, even after Overby was defeated; and Former Governor Easley, a convicted felon has made several appointments to the N.C. Bench.
Further, writes Christensen, "For the first time, voters will have information about who are the good judges and who are the mediocre ones--at least in the minds of the state’s lawyers."
Nothing could be further from the truth. Unless N.C. judges run for re-election, and are vetted by the public or the press, there is no way the public can determine the judicial acumen, veracity, integrity of any particular judge; unless of course, you’ve appeared before one, and though I’m a law abiding citizen, I’ve appeared, or had a case before: Overby, Lake, Rehnquist, Boyle, Stephens, Manning, Orr, Finch, Hobgood, Calabria, Hudson, Bridges, Pittman, and Bush, so I would know.
However, I must admit, having N.C. lawyers from the N.C. Bar rate judges while the Judges are sitting on the Bench, might just prevent the need for legal entities to change their name, and judges who create such organizations as the "Actual Innocence Commission," "N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law," or "Fairjudges.net," after they leave the bench, because their legacy will still be intact.
That's my Perspective. What's yours?
See also: Daily Dispatch, January 13, 2010, Letter to the Editor, Judging Justices