Oct. 4, 2022
It was mostly quirks in the Forum scheduling process that put at one presenters table the candidates for a Mecklenburg soil and water conservation district board – and those in contested judicial races for N.C. Superior, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
And yet. And yet.
Judges of all stripes have awesome powers to dispense justice – but also horrific limitations on the treatment and restorative justice programs they know would help the people coming before them to repair their lives. Soil & Water Supervisors can’t order landowners to make environmental repairs, so they turn to what Forum veteran Nancy Carter called “not a stick, but a lollipop.” Both groups of officeholders will thrive, or burn out, in part based on how they best marshal the resources they do control.
Judicial standards limit what judge candidates can say about pending cases. But a listener to the video below from this morning’s Forum can come to know a lot about what the candidates value, how they present themselves, and all those other factors that go into that term “judicial temperament.” The American Bar Association defines judicial temperament as involving “compassion, decisiveness, open-mindedness, sensitivity, courtesy, patience, freedom from bias and commitment to equal justice.” Most voters might simply ask themselves, “If I were a defendant, do I think would I be treated fairly under the law?”
Soil & water supervisors, forever relegated to the bottom of the ballot, have become advocates and persuaders in an era of climate change and environmental crisis. Napoleon Bonaparte need not apply. Voters have important decisions to make.