No reason to stay uninformed on judges' performance

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Amusing but sad is the ignorance displayed by too many in the general public. Features like Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segment on the Tonight show would be even more amusing were we not entrusting the future of our nature to some of the same people he approaches on the street.

Voters who might not know, for example, what a "Bull" or "Bear" market mean, on what street the New York Stock Exchange is located, or what a Euro is.

Another recording is circulating in which one presidental candidate's platform is attributed to the other, yet the second candidate's supporters insist they agree with the points presented.

It's not fair, of course, to judge someone on their ability to answer a pop quiz when confronted with a celebrity and television camera on the street, but it behooves all of us to take advantage of the vast amount of information that is available to us before we cast our votes.

One example most of us don't give much thought is the question of judicial retention. By the time most of us get to the question of whether Judge So-and-So should be retained in office, we're lost.

There's no reason for that.

The Nebraska State Bar Association, every other year, takes a survey of attorneys, who evaluate all judges on issues like legal analysis, impartiality, fairness, judicial temperament and demeanor, efficiency, punctuality, attentiveness, trial management, quality and clarity of written opinions and appropriate communications.

Voting is not a multiple choice quiz. You won't lose points if you don't mark a box in any particular race or issue. But don't pass up a chance to make known your opinion in favor or against a particular judge just because you haven't taken the time to inform yourself.

The complete report is available at http://www.nebar. com/pdfs/judiciary/2008/Judging.Our.Judges.2008.pdf or by calling (800) 927-0117.

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