Effort to rate Oklahoma judges is a far cry from judicial bullying

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: June 10, 2012
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The chambers' plan would give non-lawyers at least some information before casting a ballot. The rating plan is an informational campaign, just like any other in politics. Is there bias in the chambers' rating system? Sure. Just like there's bias in any report evaluating lawmakers. And just like there's bias in campaign contributions: Attorneys and businesses don't give money equally to all candidates in all races.

Furthermore, citizens who don't agree with the chambers' agenda are free to ignore their rankings — or even determine candidate selection based on who the chambers rank as being the worst.

Too often, Oklahoma citizens must vote on judicial races in an information vacuum. The chambers' efforts would fill part of that void. We hope the information provided is relevant, credible and in context. The chambers' ratings system must be a serious and deliberative effort that doesn't criticize judges for merely upholding the law as it's written. Otherwise, they shouldn't bother with the project.

Whether the public is better served by having direct election of judges instead of making them appointees is a debate worth having. But to claim judicial bullying is under way just because a group wants to increase public awareness during campaign season is nonsense.

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