Monday, October 01, 2007

Letter to Editor by Russ Diamond on PG Judical Retention Editorial

Thanks to fellow Libertarian, Mark C., for this insights:
Russ Diamond had a LTE in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette responding to last Sunday's editorial objecting to PACleanSweep's call for non-retentions of judges that accepted the infamous pay raise.

The PG is, of course, entitled to its opinion, but I thought that their wording last Sunday was, well, an indication that they should switch to decaf: "Now a pair of activists are trying to pervert our civic duty by calling for the blind ouster of more than 60 judges who are on the November ballot for retention."

To the PG's credit they gave Russ a chance to respond and they put his response in the bottom corner of the LTE section where they gave it its own graphic and drew a box around it. You can't see that on the on-line version, but I consider it prime real estate in the LTE section of the hardcopy version.


How can we trust our judges when they've failed us on the pay raise

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sunday, September 30, 2007

Your Sept. 23 editorial regarding judicial retentions ("Vote Smart: Don't Be Stampeded on a Blanket Ouster of Judges") made assumptions that deserve to be addressed.

The delegates to the 1967 state constitutional convention believed a retention system was "a good thing" when they proposed it. Unfortunately, since then judges have regularly breezed through, effectively providing permanent tenure. That is not democracy. What looks good in theory does not always pan out in practice.

You held up the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Web site as a resource for voters to investigate retention candidates. Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin's response there touts 10 cases out of approximately 7,500 decisions the PBA claims she's had a hand in. Can such a tiny sampling of the caseload -- handpicked by the candidate -- provide a fair assessment of her overall record?

Although Supreme Court Justice Tom Saylor dissented on the pay raise case, he took the money anyway. Actions speak louder than words. His dissent utterly failed to address the very troubling constitutional issues that were part and parcel of the "judicial swindle."

PACleanSweep seeks to restore constitutional rule in Pennsylvania. We could care less if replacement judges earn the same salary as current judges. This fight is not about how much money a judge earns. It's about the sneaky, underhanded way they got their pay raise.

In every judge's oath of office, allegiance to the Constitution comes first. If we cannot trust judges to support, obey and defend the Constitution, how can we possibly trust them to sit in judgment of other matters of law and our fellow citizens?

RUSS DIAMOND, Chair, PACleanSweep
Annville, Lebanon County

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