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A new report by John Gizzi of the Capital Research Center, to be released within the next few days, has an explanation: A powerful move by very wealthy interests across the United States to reshape the judiciary in the mold of progressives who believe the Constitution should be interpreted through the filter of personal desires.
And the primary force behind the move? George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire who personally provides the money for a number of liberal advocacy organizations such as MoveOn.org.
“George Soros plans to influence the selection of state supreme court justices across the country. He’s funding massive efforts to end judicial elections in state after state, pushing instead for ‘merit-based appointments’ that favor the political interests of the liberal lawyers who pick the judges,” Matthew Vadum, the CRC chief who edited Gizzi’s report, told WND.
“Because state supreme courts may have a say in redistricting after the 2010 Census is completed it is essential that citizens and state officeholders scrutinize who’s behind efforts to overturn judicial elections,” he said.
“Voters don’t normally pay attention to state supreme court elections but if they don’t start watching them Soros could engineer a judicial revolution. Soros could install judge after judge who views the Constitution as a so-called living document, that is, a worthless piece of paper onto which judges can project their own personal political views. How many Elena Kagans and David Souters can America tolerate?” Vadum asked.
The report follows an analysis by the American Justice Partnership that confirmed Soros already has spent some $45 million to change state procedures from electing judges to having them appointed – after being nominated by a clique of elites.
Gizzi’s report explains that Soros wants to remove voters from the process through which judges are nominated, elected or retained. Instead, he wants to have them chosen by elite teams of mostly lawyers, appointed by the politically powerful and protected while in office.
Similar campaigns are under way in Kansas and Colorado, he said.
“The common denominator in Colorado, Iowa and Kansas is that supreme court justices in these states are initially picked according to a merit selection system,” Gizzi explained.
“A key player in the emerging battles over state court selections is George Soros. … Soros has contributed more than $45 million over the past decade to several dozen special-interest advocacy groups affiliated with an umbrella 501(c)(3) organization called Justice at Stake. … [which] has as its mission the ‘reform’ of the process for selecting state judges.”
Gizzi continued, “A principal goal for Justice at Stake is to replace judicial elections with a system of ‘merit election.’”
‘Voters will never get to reject judges’
“There are many advocates for ‘merit selection’ of state judges, but wherever you look the hand and purse of George Soros, ‘paymaster of the Left,’ is obvious. Soros has the resources and the allies. If he gets his way, voters in all 50 states will never get to elect, retain or reject their judges,” he warned.
So what’s the problem with judges being nominated by attorneys?
“Of the appellate nominees in Missouri (where judges are nominated by special commissions and appointed) since 1995 who made any campaign contributions, 87 percent gave more to Democrats than Republicans and only 13 percent gave more to Republicans than Democrats,” the report said.
The apparent intended result of Soros’ campaign is to have a steady stream of Democrat-leaning judges groomed and installed on the bench, the report suggested.
Just getting the judges on the bench is the major part of the work, since federal judges serve lifetime appointments, and even in state courts there seldom are firings.
“Sitting judges win retention elections 98.9 percent of the time,” Gizzi reported. “A sample study of 10 states … found that in 4,588 retention elections 1964-1998 only 52 judges were not retained.”
In Iowa, where voters are trying to remove three justices, there hasn’t been a judge booted from office in nearly five decades.
Gizzi quotes historian David Pietrusza, who said, “The idea that appointing court of appeals judges makes for less politics and better decisions is a concept simultaneously elitist and naïve. Political maneuvering has merely moved into a shabbier and more shadowy back room within the house of politics.”
‘No such accountability’
The earlier American Justice Partnership report said the Soros campaign is “highly-coordinated, well-funded” and is intended to “exclude conservative, rule-of-law judges from the bench.”
The report noted Soros’ game plan was explained by a retired judge, who said, “I do not mean to suggest that elected judges are necessarily unqualified or corrupt, but rather that merit selection is far superior to selection by election, since the voting public does not have the slightest idea which candidates are qualified or what are the qualifications for a good judge. As I have said previously, there is a suggestion that elections should be retained because they make judges accountable to the people, but there should be no such accountability.” (emphasis added)
The California same-sex marriage decision was by Vaughn Walker, who determined that voters would not be allowed to define marriage in their own state constitution as being between one man and one woman.
His opinion said:
“Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”
“Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.”
“Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”
In Florida, Liberty Counsel has been battling a case in the Santa Rosa County School District in which district officials agreed to comply with an ACLU demand that teachers be banned from praying, even off-campus.