Retention elections are a way to elect a guy who appoints some guys who know some guys who want to be judges.
We can then confirm the unelected judge every six years or ask the unelected guys to find a different guy to become an unelected replacement.
When Reagan said that the closest thing to eternal life on earth was a government bureaucracy, he obviously hadn't studied retention elections.
Justice In Minnesota
is a non-partisan, citizen driven effort to
restore our judicial branch of government.
We believe that the judicial branch of government should remain independent of
the other two branches
of government (separation of powers), but never be independent of the people of
or of the Constitution of the United States of America.
To this end, Justice In Minnesota
- Raise awareness of the history and importance of meaningful judicial elections while; educating Minnesotans about the manipulative threat to our constitutional right to vote for judges in the state of Minnesota.
- Expose the Merit Selection and Retention Elections (MSRE) by revealing the corruption that this manipulative bill seeks to keep in place as well as the inherent dangers of the MSRE bill.
- Elect constitutionally accountable judges who will interpret the law and remember the separation of powers in every court decision by applying only the law and the evidence to decisions from the bench.
The Judiciary Fraternity: Our Urgent Need for Reform in Minnesota
by Chris Kumpula
Chris is currently running for the Minnesota House Seat 30A as a Republican and has taken a strong position on Judicial reform in Minnesota. Chris understands the problems citizens of Minnesota face every day in their dealings with the
judiciary, and is committed to change if elected in November. Judicial reform is an issue that transcends party designation and goes to the fundamental issue of fairness and justice for everyone. Democrat, Republican or Independent, we commend any candidate who supports the Judicial reforms Minnesota so desperately needs
Read his position paper...
Why 'Merit' Selection Is the Wrong Way for States to Choose Judges
- by the Honorable Clifford W. Taylor (former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice)
Those who argue for merit selection know that it gives them their best chance to get judges on the bench who share their political and policy views. Advocates of
elections are willing to take their chances openly in the public square, with the people deciding which candidate has merit. Public elections allowing all voters to decide who
should be the state's appellate judges, while not flawless, are the best of the alternatives. Voters can decide whether the candidates are too close to their backers and who has
merit. The final measure should be that elections, to a greater degree than any other system, and surely more than merit selection does, allow the people to change their
courts if they wish to. Such power for our citizens is entirely consistent with this nation's approach to governance and should not be abandoned precipitously for an alternative
system that casually deals them out. Read More...
....There is no evidence that elections cause voters to
view judicial institutions as less legitimate. In 2008 and 2009, Washington
University professor James Gibson, in a series of survey experiments, found that
while particular campaign contributions can lead to legitimacy concerns, there
are no such consequences when candidates engage in policy talk, negative ads or
other ordinary incidents of a judicial race. Additionally, according to Gibson's
data, the net effects of elections are still positive in terms of public
perception of the judiciary. Read More...
Minnesota's First Chief Justice said,
"If the people are incapable of
selecting their Judges, they are also incapable of selecting the man who is to
appoint the Judges."
MN Supreme Court Chief Justice
"What makes America unique
among nations is the idea that the power of the people
to govern themselves is a birthright guarenteed to all. This guiding principle set our nation on a unique
course where leaders are chosen by free and fair elections and where the right to vote is treasured and protected."
2008 Minnesota Sesquicentennial
MN Secretary of State's Office Website
Appointments Made By A Politician Are Not Less Political
The StarTribune pointed out the politicization of judge appointments when it commented:
"Ventura was Minnesota's only recent governor not to appoint close associates to the
state judiciary. Arne Carlson gave judgeships to his chief of staff, a campaign
attorney, his sister-in-law and his attorney in the governor's office. Rudy
Perpich, Carlson predecessor, named one of his former commissioners to the
Supreme Court and his campaign manager to the district bench."
The StarTribune made that comment while announcing that our current governor just named his
to the MN Court of Appeals. And later appointed the same
campaign attorney to the MN Supreme Court.
The point is the power to appoint judges is a tempting tool to reward your
political friends and even relatives. Our MN Constitution specifically states,
"Judges shall be elected by the voters," not appointed by their politician
friends. I think our founders were right.
My basic thesis is we can win back the executive and legislative branches and
still LOSE because it is the judicial branch that ultimately determines what is
law. As Judge Bork said, "The Constitution. . .is the highest prize and control
of the selection of judges is the last step on the path to that prize. . . .Why?
Because the Constitution is the trump card in American politics, and judges
decide what the Constitution means."Why I'm running for Appellate Court Judge
I want to be a judge because that is the branch of government at the forefront
of either protecting, or far too often, taking our personal rights and freedoms.
We need to take our country back. There is an elitist strain running through
many judges where they see themselves as above the Constitution, above the
people and therefore above public accountability through a public election.
Why we should care
Judges wield tremendous power over our civil rights and liberty. Judges, like
all our officials, are only under the people when they are subject to meaningful
elections. That is why we call our elected officials public servants. When
judges successfully circumvent elections through timed retirements leading to
political appointments, they also circumvent public accountability. In effect,
they have placed themselves over the people as Nobles or Lords. When our
officials are over the people, there is tyranny. When the people are over their
officials, there is liberty.
If we continue to allow judges to circumvent our Constitution then they have set
themselves above the people. Our Judges are supposed to be subject to us,
through meaningful elections. We call our elected officials "public servants"
and that is what they are provided they understand we loan them their power and
we can take it back again through meaningful elections. Our Minnesota
Constitution states, "Judges...shall be elected by the voters..." Art. VI, Sec
7.On The Constitution
A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is also big
enough to take everything you have. Thomas Jefferson said, "Government governs
best that governs least." Our Constitution is a limited powers agreement between
the government and the governed granting to our government only those powers
necessary for a free and ordered society. That is why the 10th Amendment reads:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to
I have served before good judges, but I have also served before bad judges and a
bad judge can wreak havoc on our personal rights and freedoms. Even if we the
people take back the Legislative and Executive branches, we can still lose
because the judicial branch can and has overruled the other two. This is not a
time for less accountability of these most powerful officeholders-Judges. It is
a time for more.
James Madison said, "We have staked the whole of our political institutions on
the capacity of mankind to govern themselves according the to the 10
Commandments of God." In other words, our forefathers believed our personal
freedoms depend upon exercising personal responsibility.
Current Minnesota Judicial History
2006: Minnesotans Win Victory for Fair Judicial Election in the U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court "White Decision" ----- CaseName: Republican Party of Minnesota v. White
This case was originally brought by Gregory Wersal (above), and was later joined by the Republican Party of Minnesota.
Majority Opinion: Justice Antonin Scalia Dissenting Opinion: Justice Ruth Bader Ginzberg
Audio: by Oyez Media (the official media outlet of the U.S. Supreme Court)
March 2007: Quie Commission Report
is presented less than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court White Decision finally concluded in 2006. The
Merit Selection and Retention Elections bill (MSRE), if adopted as a constitutional amendment, would nullify the "White Decision" above,
effectively and permanently ending judicial elections in Minnesota.
July 2010: Judicial Rules Prohibiting Election Fundraising Struck Down
On July 29th, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that will have a major impact on
judicial elections in the State of Minnesota. Attorney Greg Wersal challenged rules created by the
Minnesota Supreme Court that prohibited judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign funds
unless the candidate's audience consisted of at least 20 people. The Court agreed with Wersal that the
rule violated the First Amendment guarantee of Free Speech. Another rule that prohibited judicial
candidates from endorsing other candidates for office was also struck down.
"This is a major victory toward the goal of holding judges accountable through free, open and competitive
elections," said Wersal. "I now hope to raise the money necessary to tell the
people of Minnesota that the judges, including my opponent in this race, want a
constitutional amendment that would strip the public of their right to vote for
judges. I will do everything I can to protect the right to vote."
New Resident Shocked By Attempts to Isolate Judges From Public Review
(by Candace Oathout)
I am a relatively new resident of Minnesota. When I recently learned about the proposal for a Constitutional Amendment that will remove the voice of the people from the process of selecting judges I was shocked. I have lived for many years in a state were election of non-partisan judges is normal practice and contested races were the norm. The opportunity to learn about a judicial candidate's background and experience was invaluable.
The Power To Select Judges Belongs With The People
The Merit Selection and Retention Elections (MSRE) plan, if instituted, will
change the Minnesota Constitution removing the citizen's right to vote for judges. It will remove the opportunity for the average voter to learn about the experience and ability of persons seeking to become judges. An educated populace can and must be able to participate in this process.
This plan will place the authority to appoint judges in the hands of the Governor and establish an unelected committee of 24 people to select and evaluate judges. This will serve to isolate judges from public review. It will severely limit the ability of the public to challenge or protest any judge's performance on the bench in any meaningful way. We need openness and transparency in the process of judicial selection.
(by Marjorie Holsten)
As an attorney who has practiced in Minnesota for over 20 years, I can tell you
from firsthand experience that there are many awful judges in Minnesota, the vast
majority of which have been appointed. The laws that have been passed regarding
judicial elections are "incumbent protection" laws, aka judicial gag orders.
MSRE (Merit Selection and Retention Elections) Just Is A Bad Idea
Greg Wersal went to the U.S. Supreme Court (the White case) and challenged these
gag orders as being violative of the first amendment (which they clearly were),
and recently won. Thus, we finally have a situation where judicial candidates
CAN speak their mind, making elections meaningful.
The bar association, which yields a tremendous amount of influence over the
judicial selection process, is fighting tooth and nail to avoid giving any of
their power to the people, and has spent a huge amount of money lobbying the
legislature to undertake the process of changing the Minnesota Constitution to
eliminate contested judicial elections, replacing them with appointments and
"Retention elections" are not elections at all - they are what communist
countries had (only one candidate). If you could go to a debate between judicial
candidates, you could determine which is most qualified, and could make an
intelligent vote. That is the direction we are trying to move. Join us!
(by G Hoff, Chaska)
"In the pursuit of better government..."?
MSRE is a proposed amendment to the Minnesota constitution that does away with judicial elections. In its place a panel of lawyers would select judicial candidates and refer them to the governor, who would appoint one. Every eight years, the judge would face a “retention” election. On the voting ballot, the judge would be alone as a yes or no vote (uncontested), just like the old Soviet system. In practice, it would be impossible to get rid of a bad judge. This amendment would take the power away from the people and give it the legal fraternity. It comes as no surprise the legal elite will sing the praises of MSRE with all the energy they can muster. For all the connected lawyers, it is a dream come true.
It is difficult to fathom how being appointed by one politician is any better
than by a majority of voters, even if persuading all those voters requires a
judge to raise money to get his message out. How does appointing judges assure a
greater level of integrity? It is not like governors have never been jailed for
corruption -- a half-dozen or so since Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew come readily to
mind, from Louisiana to Arizona, Illinois, Alabama and Ohio.
"You see, we voters are simply not capable of recognizing real hanky panky and
voting the bums out. And the press certainly is not capable of stumbling upon
said hanky panky and reporting it. Therefore, the system is subject to that most
horrific of conditions -- no, not corruption -- the perception, that judges just
might be doling out favors to friends and financial backers." (THOMAS MITCHELL,
Las Vegas Review-Journal )
Sure, voters occasionally get deceived. But what makes a system combining the
powers of two branches of government any better? Indeed it is far worse by
concentrating too much power in too few hands and by creating a good ol' boy
network for grooming insiders who never dare to buck the powers that be.
MSRE is a medicine that’s far worse than the disease. To cure a cold, you would
open up the judiciary and executive branches to the cancer of corruption on a
grand scale. Good Men would not do such things you might say, but history tells
us that greed and corruption are all around us.
Far better to deal with a few bad apples, than chance the whole barrel going
rotten. Want to see what MSRE would be like in operation? See
How to Become a Judge.
Then you will understand how perverted an idea MSRE is!
Whenever you click on an item below, and then order anything off of the Amazon.com website, Justice In Minnestoa receives a commission!
Whenever you click on an item below, and then order anything off of the Amazon.com website, Justice In Minnestoa receives a commission!
Minnesota Court Reform - True Horror Cases With Names!
Sue Jeffers Constitutional Candidates Interviews:
Interview with Greg Wersal
Defending Our Constitutional Right to Elect Judges
By Minnesota State Senator Julianne Ortman
The flaws in our judicial elections are troubling...
By Minnesota Voters Alliance
There's big trouble brewing for judicial voters
By Dick Borrell, McLeod County Chronicle
Legal History Of Minnesota Judicial Branch
by Jack Graham, Constitutional Lawyer, Legal Historian, former AG Candidate
Four Person Panel Discussion on Merit Selection and Retention
Elections (MSRE) bill, sponsored by Princeton Tea Party, July 22nd,
Greg Wersal at Southwest Metro Tea Party, July 19th,
Judicial Elections On Trial, by Tim Tingelstad
Another Judicial Election Restriction created by Minnesota Supreme Court Struck Down!
Read the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision
Court reform advocates keep getting it WRONG!
Judicial Elections Work Very Well - Research Proves It! by Melinda Gann Hall, Professsor of Political Science,
Your Right To Vote by Derek Brigham
Don't let them take it away!
'The once-honorable profession of law now fully functions as a bottom-line business, driven by greed and the pursuit of power and wealth, even shaping the laws of the United States outside the elected Congress and state legislatures.'
-- Justice John F. Molloy
How to Become a Judge, Part 1 from New York Daily News, a case against MSRE!
Judicial Election Fundraising Shake Up
Wersal For Justice, and Your Right to Vote