Solution #1: Legislative Oversight And Impeachment Process For Judges

Friday, March 23, 2012, Minnesota Senator Julianne Ortman offered a delete-all amendment for consideration.

The amendment offers an interesting solution worthy of discussion.  I’ll highlight two interesting points here:

1.     the judiciary would continue running the Judicial Standards Board, which accepts complaints about judges, while permitting legislative oversight of the process (if you go through the JSB process and are not satisfied, you can submit the complaint to the legislature); and

2.     it creates legislative impeachment procedures, which are long overdue (the legislature has never done this since the creation of our current Minnesota Constitution).

I like the idea of legislative oversight, so that people who complain to the JSB and encounter a problem there (or believe their serious complaint was ignored) have a place to go.

The impeachment process should be in place.  The Minnesota Constitution calls upon the legislature to create that process, and its creation is long overdue.  It is far from certain whether the judiciary has the authority at this time to de-bench a judge.  It’s clear the judicial branch has the authority to suspend a judge, but what if the judicial misconduct is severe enough to warrant dis-robing the judge, it’s not clear there is any present authority or process in place at this time for any branch to do that.

I’m happy to engage in further discussions of these issues.

The proposed amendment is here.

Senator Ortman’s presentation of the delete-all amendment is on U-Tube here.  I like the way she invites discussion from the judiciary and from the public.

The bill was amended, and laid on the table.  The Minutes of the 3/23/12 hearing are here.

I am supportive of solutions to problems that I have observed in the justice system.  I am hoping that judges who discuss these issues, who lobby on these issues, or who otherwise have an impact on the legislative process are willing to put political party aside, and do what’s best for the public.