We didn't orchestrate it, but we have endorsed against four of Butch Otter's gubernatorial appointees, and haven't endorsed any of them.
In this morning's paper, we endorsed challenger John Bradbury over Joel Horton, appointed seven months ago to a seat on the Idaho Supreme Court.
This was the toughest of the four choices. Horton certainly has the credentials, the temperament and the intellect to serve on the Supreme Court. In other words, Horton is no disaster — unlike Otter legislative appointees Rep. Curtis Bowers of Caldwell and Sen. Shirley McKague of Meridian.
So why Bradbury, who is running as an outsider? We like his determination to make the court system more accessible and affordable — from seeking magistrate courts in West Ada County's rapidly growing bedroom communities to encouraging the courts to allow expert witnesses to testify by video. "People will use a system that they trust and they can afford."
Another interesting idea: Bradbury would like the courts to create a database that measures sentencings across the state, looking for disparities based on race, gender or geography. A database makes a lot of sense and could lead to fewer appeals based on sentencings. The danger, and Bradbury is well aware of it, would be the temptation to set a series of binding guidelines that take away judicial discretion.
Not surprisingly, Bradbury is a critic of judicial appointments and an ardent supporter of judicial elections. There is an obvious downside, Bradbury says: the system forces candidates to set up fund-raising committees and try to keep arm's length distance from donors (to his end, Bradbury says he is self-financing his campaign). The upside: Elections force candidates to scrutinize the court system, and ways to improve it. "That's how ideas get discussed."
Amen. And we like the ideas Bradbury is discussing.