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The Sound of Ideas

Who Judges the Judges?

Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010

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Who Judges the Judges? The right surname, a law degree, some work as an attorney and a bit of political hustle can make someone a court judge in Northeast Ohio. But is that person truly qualified to be a judge? A new task force on judicial excellence aims to raise standards and scrub the politics from the process. Republican and Democratic party leaders are on board, too. But can the process really bring qualitative change to the local bench? We’ll take oral arguments Wednesday at 9:00 on the Sound of Ideas.


Government/Politics, Other, Community/Human Interest, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement


Michael Ungar, president, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
James Robenalt, co-chair, Task Force on Judicial Excellence
Judge Timothy E. McMonagle, co-chair, Task Force on Judicial Excellence

Additional Information

Task Force on Judicial Excellence

Taking A Hard Look At Who Runs For Judge: A Discussion About Judicial Qualifications Committees
December 1, 2010
From 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Case Western Reserve University School of Law
11075 East Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44106

Leave a Comment

Please follow our community discussion rules when composing your comments.

Judge Jane Bond retired 9:16 AM 12/1/10

We need to legislate rigorous training and specific experience to qualify as a candidate for election to the judiciary.  If we improve and limit the pool of candidates we can solve the “name game” and assure the public that candidates are committed and prepared for public device as a judge.
I have published an article detailing my propsal and will send it to the panel for consideration.

David Brill DO 9:23 AM 12/1/10

Unfortunately, there are deep fundamental problems with the system.  one, the electorate will never be qualified to elect judges.  two, judges should never be from a political party publically.  the electorate is qualified to elect representatives for government and we elect them to represent us and make decisions for us.  I’m a physician and having the electorate decide judges is akin to having your surgeon chosen by a vote of everyone in the hospital cafeteria.  I’ve not missed a vote since I was 18 in 1978 and I have never voted for a judge.  I knew then that I wasn’t qualified to do this.

Is it possible to not leave a name 9:26 AM 12/1/10

I am a councilwoman in an eastside suburb.  I often get requests for my endorsement from judges running for election.  I am deeply concerned that judges act without bias and treat all residents equally.  To that end, what would be some fair questions to ask a judge how equally he or she treats people before giving the endorsement?

Joane Johnson 9:31 AM 12/1/10

You expect a lot of the every day person.  I try to vet any candidate.  In the Hough community, we hold panels for every major election and some primaries.  We ask hard questions and expect answers.  Please, do not equate this with a town meeting.  Not the same.  Five to ten people with prepared questions.  Saying that, in a country that will seat a KKK member and a possible, by some his words, mysogynist and racist(his views on Civil rights) on the Supreme Court(chief Justice at that), how can you point a finger at the rest of us?

Cecilia 9:33 AM 12/1/10

Part of the problem is that the things that make a good judge - a sense of fairness, an open mind, a curiosity about areas of law that you are not an expert in, an ability not to take the power of the office as your own or to abuse such power, a sensitivity to the time of the litigants, their counsel, and the general public are not necessarily things that you can see immediately in a person’s resume....


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