During this time of the election season, many of us are focused on the primary races, we forget that there are many races that will have an equal impact on our lives as any legislative race will have. I am speaking of course about judicial races.
In Marion County, there are 14 judges, 6 of whom are up for re-election. Without the Judge Paul Lipscomb challenge, none of the judges in Marion County would have faced a challenge for re-election. Democracy at work – judicial style!
Remember when a group of Marion County citizens filed a recall petition against Judge Mary Mertens James because of Judge James unbelievably ignorant opinion against Measure 37? Well, the response to the recall petition was deafening. The Oregon State Bar President Nena Cook – repeating the talking points from the American Bar Association in response to recall efforts — told Marion County voters not to sign the petition because the time to replace a judge is at election time, not through a recall.
Judge Lipscomb has overstayed his judgeship with a collection of awful decisions and self-inflicted controversies. Judge Lipscomb tossed out the landowner compensation Measure 7 on the most torturous legal reasonings. Lipscomb was accused of manipulating the Measure 37 case so Judge James would get it (knowing she would throw out Measure 37) and then filed a lawsuit in his own courthouse against his neighbors in Deschutes County! That is right. He should have filed the lawsuit in Deschutes County, but he chose his own court house instead!
Lipscomb has more recently been accused of using his courtroom as the official listed address of the campaign. (Click here for more info and letter) That is not only illegal but a genuine sign of bad decision making.
There are lots of reasons why Ross Day would be the right change for the court.
Ross is not a government lawyer. He has a long history of representing real people like Oregon taxpayers, businesses, and families. Ross is a much needed break from the standard lawyers whose history is primarily representing government interest. In that sense, Ross will bring a unique perspective to the Marion County Bench.
Ross is not beholden to the trial lawyers and criminal defense lawyers in Marion County. Almost as soon as Ross filed to run against Lipscomb, the trial lawyers sent out an urgent call to help Lipscomb. Having someone independent of the trial lawyer lobby is another much needed change to our courts.
Ross is young and would be the youngest judge on the bench in Oregon. But do not confuse age with ability. Ross’ opponent is likely going to make an issue out of Ross’ age, but Ross has more experience at this stage in his legal career than his opponent had, actually more! And Lipscomb was appointed to the bench at just about the same age Ross is now.
Finally, Ross understands that a judge’s role is not to make law, but rather interpret the law. If a law is ambiguous, it is ambiguous, and it is improper for a judge to declare what the law should then be. Ross understands the role judges play in our democracy.
Undoubtedly the legal establishment will cry “politics!” during the campaign. They will declare that he is “politicizing the judiciary!”, as if that hasn’t happened already. Remember, it was the Oregon State Bar Association that said the right time to de-throne a judge is during an election, Ross is simply giving the citizens of Marion County that opportunity. Remember that Lipscomb has already been criticized for too much “politics” and too much personal interest interfering with his judicial duties.
For more information about Ross’ campaign, go to www.rossdayforjudge.com