Law Schools, State Judges, State Judges Are Clowns

Michigan Law Professors Have The Coolest Friends

We mentioned in Morning Docket that something awesome happened. But I want to emphasize it here. THE WEST WING CAST CAME BACK TOGETHER FOR A MINUTE.

And it was glorious. Anyone who has watched 20/20 Hindsight Room Newsroom knows that the West Wing involves a lot more than witty dialogue and a sense of civic responsibility. The West Wing also required acting, ensemble chemistry, and at least a passing respect for women.

The cast brought all of that to bear in a video made to raise awareness about judicial elections.

And it all happened because a professor and assistant dean at Michigan Law School has awesome family and friends….

Bridget Mary McCormack is the sister of Mary McCormack, and the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at Michigan Law School.

She’s also running for the state Supreme Court in Michigan. Michigan is a state where state judges are elected on the non-partisan section of the ballot, which is a section that some voters, dumbasses that they are, don’t even notice. The Reliable Source blog of the Washington Post picks up the story from there:

McCormack, who launched her bid for office in March, told her sister about a common problem on many state ballots: People vote for the party candidates, but often skip the non-partisan portion where judicial candidates are listed. For years, people have been trying to get the word out, without much luck.

Lightbulb moment! Mary called Janney and Whitford, her closest friends from “West Wing,” and asked them to do a campaign video. “They said ‘sure’ and it spiraled from there,” said McCormack. Others signed on to reprise their old roles: Richard Schiff, Joshua Malina, Janel Moloney, Lily Tomlin and Melissa Fitzgerald. “I think it’s a testament to their good will and good friendships,” the candidate said.

I think it’s great that the cast donated their time for civic awareness.

Of course, it does highlight the absolute freaking lunacy of having popular elections of state judges. I don’t want to sound all Sandra Day O’Connor here, but electing judges is beyond dumb. What do we have to go on, really? How are we supposed to judge the quality of their decision making or the clarity of their thought processes?

Pretty much all we ever get to know about state court judges is whether or not their name makes them sound hot. I try to be an informed citizen, but whenever I can’t vote straight down the party line (and the only time I’ve deviated from the party line in my life have been the two votes I cast for Mike Bloomberg), I end up picking pretty much at random. Maybe you heard the name in a news story? Maybe somebody from your alma mater mentioned their name in a newsletter that you skimmed before deleting it from your inbox? That’s pretty much all you’ve got.

So, yeah, I love the video and the motivation behind it, but boy does it highlight how ridiculous it is to have the public weigh in on who should sit on a state court bench. Flipping to the non-partisan section of your ballot requires some basic reading comprehension, but actually having an informed opinion about the candidates is probably above and beyond the capacity of even the most conscientious voters.

How Michigan judicial candidate Bridget Mary McCormack got ‘The West Wing’ cast for her campaign video [Reliable Source / Washington Post]

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