Saturday, October 7, 2006

Senseless Thy Name Is Amendment E

From an op-ed in the Washington Post this morning

Speaking of senseless, welcome to South Dakota, where supporters of Amendment E hope a new day will soon dawn where citizens will be able to turn the table upon judges and punish jurists over unpopular decisions. Amendment E would create a "grand jury" of citizens, rotating regularly, that would meet to determine whether a complaint against a judge warranted taking away from that judge long-held "immunity" from lawsuits (right now, and for obvious reasons, you can't sue a judge for failing to rule your way). Amendment E, as in Error, means that a group of citizens who don't like a judge's decision -- remember, judges when interpreting the Bill of Rights are the only checks against the tyranny of the majority -- can take their revenge.

Under Amendment E, judges could lose part of their salary or retirement pay depending upon how much trouble they get into with that runaway grand jury the initiative would create. There is nothing subtle about it Amendment E: vehemently anti-judiciary forces want to diminish the authority of the courts and to destroy the independence of the judiciary. And the worst part? They seem to be winning, if recent polls in South Dakota are accurate. Just imagine what the passage of Amendment E would mean to the practice of law, and the legal system itself, in South Dakota. Just imagine what will happen when the inmates are allowed to run the asylum.

(h/t and more coming out against Amendment E  over at Progressive on the prairie)

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