Chris Buttars - the state senator who last session championed instruction on divine intervention and banning gay clubs at schools - now proposes giving him and his Senate colleagues the power to fire judges whose rulings they don't like.
Right now, our system is appointment by the Governor, confirmation by the Senate, and periodical retention votes by the public. Personally, I think our system is the best of all possibilities. Judges are mostly insulated from the public and will do what they believe is right under the law, but if they act very egregiously, the people can organize a campaign to oust them. Only a few have not been retained, and that was for truly biased decisions. I am sure if one of them got caught doing drugs or went insane, the voters would can those judges too.
Buttars, who I am sure never went to law school or read the Federalist Papers, said "That is the only way to make the public aware of some of these terrible decisions. ... I don't know where some of these decisions are coming from. Some judges just go in there and wing it." You don't know Senator because you don't understand that they go by statutes and the common law, not the Bible and/or Book of Mormon.
Richard Schwermer, assistant state court administrator, said Buttars' idea has constitutional problems.
"The (Utah State) Constitution says the governor has his role to play, in nominating. The Senate has its role to play, in confirming," he said. But nowhere in the constitution does it say that the Senate gets another shot at a judge in the retention process.
Oh and both Governor Huntsman and Chief Justice Durham agree with me. Yet scarily enough, Buttars has chair the Judiciary Committee for 4 years.
"This is a really bad idea," said Scott Daniels, a former president of the Utah State Bar, former Democratic legislator and former 3rd District judge. "This goes in the wrong direction. We want to keep judges away from political pressure, not closer to it."
Besides any constitutional concerns, "from a practical matter you would not get very qualified people to even apply to be a judge."
Who wants to be a judge at the whim of a couple idiots on Salt Lake’s Capitol Hill? I sure wouldn't and neither would most attorneys. Federal judges can't be removed so easily. "The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office." U.S. Const. Art. III, Sec. 1. Good behavior basically means criminal activity or insanity, I can only think of one federal judge that has been impeached, John Pickering in 1804, and that was because he had gone insane. Buttars is just trying to do his best Dobson impersonation. Leave the demagoguery to professionals Chris.