Lawyers in Idaho say Justice Roger Burdick is more qualified to keep his job on the Idaho Supreme Court than his election challenger, Judge John Bradbury, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Idaho State Bar (ISB).
The survey of 614 lawyers ranked Burdick as above average in all four areas measured, including integrity, understanding of the law, judicial temperament, and legal ability and experience. Bradbury scored close to average in all four areas. Bradbury scored well in the 2nd Judicial District, where he currently serves, but his ranking from lawyers was still below Burdick.
The ISB, a statewide self-governing state agency for lawyers, sent out more than 4,300 surveys to lawyers and received 14 percent of them back. That’s a better turnout than usual, according to Dan Black, the bar’s communications director.
Close to 250 of the survey respondents didn’t answer survey questions on Bradbury because they didn’t know him well enough. Burdick had slightly more than 100 non-respondents. Responses to the state bar survey also rated Bradbury below Justice Joel Horton during their 2008 race for an Idaho Supreme Court seat.
The survey isn’t meant to be an endorsement for Burdick or against Bradbury, according to Black. “There are no favorites on our part,” he said. “It’s definitely not an endorsement or any attempt to have one candidate look good.” Black said the survey is intended to be another source of information for Idaho voters, who will decide between Bradbury and Burdick on the May 25 primary election ballot. “The survey results are just one more bit of information that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Black said. “I expect voters will consider a variety of sources of information to make their decision.”
Burdick and Bradbury will participate in a televised debate on Tuesday in Boise.
The ISB also released surveys for two contested district judge elections. In a race to fill Bradbury’s seat in north central Idaho, both Michael Griffin of Grangeville and Edwin Litteneker of Lewiston scored above average. In a fifth district race, in an area serving the Magic Valley and Wood River Valley, incumbent Roger Elgee of Hailey scored slightly higher than Douglas Werth of Hailey in all four categories. Both district judge races received fewer survey responses than the Supreme Court race. See the full survey results at the ISB website.
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