Courthouse coup

How County Commissioner Jim Jackson and his right-wing Republican cronies have Dallas' judges running scared

"Some lawyers are mad at Gandy because he puts too heavy a bond on defendants," says Copeland. "And I think that's great."

Of course, whether the jockeying and infighting at the courthouse is bad or good is largely a question of whether you believe in elected judges. Texas has a nationally recognized penchant for electing buffoons and political hacks to the bench. Just two weeks ago, during an address at the Jewish Community Center Book Fair, famed Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz was asked whether, given the generally low education level of jurors and their corresponding propensity to be hoodwinked, it was time to do away with juries. Taking note of his venue, Dershowitz drily noted that the best argument for the jury system was the quality of state court judges, especially those in Texas.

Yet this targeting can only worsen an already weak-sister judiciary. Forget standing up to "factions"--this bunch can't decide whether to walk down the hall without holding their fingers to the wind, and their chief concern is how to shield their work habits from scrutiny. Meet the people charged with protecting your life, liberty, and property.

Which, in the end, is the real reason that Jim Jackson may control Dallas County's courthouses.

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