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Recall Effort is Wrong

Shocking! Outrageous!

The Oregon Constitution Party has mounted an effort to recall Judge James, who recently overturned Measure 37. (Yeah, Oregon has active minor political parties. Aren't we cute?) As I've already written, I think the judge's decision was wrong and I'm a strong supporter of Measure 37. But this recall effort is very bad.

When a politician ignores their representatives, a recall is appropriate. It's their job to represent the people. The case of judges is very different. Judges interpret law in order to settle conflicts. Judges are guaranteed to make people unhappy — after all, someone has to lose the conflict. And very importantly, judges are a defense against the tyranny of the majority. The popular will should not always win. This is not a democracy; true democracy is horrible.

Judges can't do their job under the constant threat of recall. Especially in politically-charged cases like that of Measure 37, vast numbers of people are guaranteed to be made unhappy by the result. Judges should not be placed in no-win situations where they face a recall no matter how they rule.

The proper outcome is for Measure 37 to be reinstated on appeal. Judges shouldn't be recalled merely because they've made an unpopular and/or badly-argued ruling. Let's only recall judges when they do egregiously awful things. Not for doing their job … even when they do a bad job.

(Hat tip: Dave)

Tiny Island