Best Reason for An Appointed Judiciary (2000)

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

You say you believe in the Democratic process, in the right of an informed electorate selecting the most viable judicial candidates from the marketplace of lawyers who have distinguished themselves in their careers. You say voters are intelligent enough to make good choices, to select the most qualified candidate, unswayed by the politics of the moment or popular sentiment. Then you look at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, gasp, and decide to rethink the whole thing. Yes, we are a law-and-order state that doesn't cotton to coddling criminals. But our current crop of judges who man (and woman) the state's highest court of criminal jurisdiction have little regard for legal precedent; they seem to be making up the law as they go along. They have little intellectual candlepower since they are notorious for affirming guilty verdicts even in cases where DNA evidence suggests innocence. Some of them even have questionable integrity: Witness new presiding Judge Sharon Keller, who rails against pornography at the same time she is the landlord of a titty bar in Dallas. These guys are the state's court of last resort for our booming death penalty business. Even George W. deserves a better backstop.

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