It must be “law & order” week here at Peach Pundit because we’re seeing an abundance of front page posts debating judges, the courts, the court’s rulings, and the law. Today I’m going to contribute to the law conversation by asking this question…
…Should Supreme Court Justices (or any judge for that matter) officiate at political party events?
In today’s Newton (County) Citizen, it’s reported that state Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle) sent a letter to state Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham “urging him not to officiate at the swearing-in ceremony for new executive officers with the Rockdale County Democratic Party.”
Supreme Court justices run in nonpartisan elections, and according to Douglas, Benham’s participation in the Democratic Party event is inappropriate.
“I think this is not the type of situation a Supreme Court justice should put himself into,” Douglas said. “It’s purely partisan. The Democratic Party, just like the Republican Party, has the goal of electing Democrats or Republicans to office. Having a judge or justice swear in an office holder who has received a majority of votes from the county or city is a completely different situation, I would think.”
Read the 11/2/2007 Newton Citizen article “Senator wants justice to stay away from ceremony”
The incoming chair of the Rockdale County Democratic Party, Ruth Wilson, has said that she disagrees with Sen. Douglas and noted that Justice Benham’s presence at the ceremony wouldn’t be the first time “a member of the judiciary has conducted a swearing-in ceremony in Rockdale County.”
Here’s what I think…I think that having a Justice of the Georgia state Supreme Court swear in a chair of a local political committee is a bit much. I mean these county chairs don’t get paid anything and their power is essentially limited to appointing poll watchers & members of their county’s board of elections. To my knowledge, DPG Chair Jane Kidd and GAGOP Chair Sue Everhart were never “sworn-in”. They were elected and that was that. Shoot, DNC Chair Howard Dean was never “sworn-in”. I mean who really needs a swearing-in ceremony, especially one that involves a member of the judiciary, for a local Democratic or Republican committee.
What do you think?