Thursday, September 13, 2007

Richardson: I Will Only Appoint Judges Who Violate Their Professional Ethics

While in Austin, Texas, yesterday, New Mexico governor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson said that if elected he would only appoint unethical judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Actually, he said that he would only appoint those who specifically affirmed that Roe v. Wade is settled law, but that is essentially the same thing. It is a violation of judicial ethics for a judge to declare in advance how he would rule on cases that will come before him.

And, it is a violation of the rights of litigants, who should have the expectation that a judge will give a fair, non-prejudicial hearing to the facts of a case. Whether pro-life or pro-abortion, no one with the power to appoint judges should require them to go on the record as to how they will rule in hypothetical future cases.

This is not to say that judges do not have philosophies and known viewpoints prior to the commencement of a case. However, in saying that he will "go one step further," Governor Richardson crosses an important line. In so doing, he proves that he is not qualified to fill the role for which he aspires.

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