Thanks to one of our friends, the Idaho Freedom Foundation managed to get a copy of the Idaho Judicial Council’s “interviews” with candidates to be Idaho’s next Supreme Court justice. And as expected, the interviews aren’t very illuminating. We are posting them HERE for posterity, as the council deleted the videos from its YouTube page shortly after the interviews were conducted.
If there is a frontrunner for the Idaho Supreme Court, it’s Lawrence Wasden, Idaho’s attorney general for 20 years before his defeat in the Republican Primary to Raul Labrador. In his interview, Wasden repeated his claim that, as the attorney general, his job was to “call balls and strikes.”
Yet the panel never bothered to ask him how he concluded that Gov. Brad Little could extend a state of an emergency on and on and on forever, despite state law limiting the length of a declared emergency. Nor did the panel ask how Wasden concluded that the governor could postpone the May 2020 primary election. Nor did they ask how Wasden concluded that the lieutenant governor didn’t need to act as governor in Little’s absence, despite the plain language of the state constitution.
There was plenty to ask. Plenty of decisions that a reasonable person would want to offer a line of inquiry. Yet the council failed to ask Wasden anything meaningful. The only illuminating bit of information came from Wasden’s acknowledgment of a certain negative appearance in Little appointing him to the Supreme Court after voters rejected him. But it wasn’t at the Judicial Council’s prodding that produced it.
Per a state law that was passed in the last legislative session, the council is supposed to provide the governor with the reasons for selecting the four candidates from which he will choose one. But if the council did so, it didn’t make its explanations known on the council’s website. Only a list of the names appears.
The interviews prove that the council isn’t the deliberative body Idahoans need. When conducting interviews with judicial candidates, the sessions were confined to a mere 30 minutes. The questions weren’t very substantive. The videos of the sessions were deleted immediately after they were posted. And the council hasn’t been transparent about the rationalization for its picks. Something needs to change, or the council’s selection process lacks credibility, and by extension, the court’s decisions also will.
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