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Jim Jones' views of the state's judicial system are extremist

Jim Jones' views of the state's judicial system are extremist

Wayne Hoffman
November 3, 2023
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November 3, 2023

"Idaho has a remarkable judiciary," shouts the headline in Jim Jones' latest column, "We can't let extremists ruin it."

If only. If Idaho's judiciary was so wonderful, would the Idaho Judicial Council, the panel responsible for picking the state's judges and justices:

  • Be made up of lobbyists, who represent the interests of their clients?
  • Delete the video record of its interviews with judicial candidates within hours after they were streamed?
  • Spend a mere 30 minutes interviewing each candidate for the state's highest and most important court?
  • Completely ignore questions about judicial philosophy and ideology, or completely avoid offering questions about previous decisions or opinions?
  • Keep from the public its report to the governor explaining the reasons behind its selections to the Supreme Court?
  • Provide the governor with a stacked deck of names to fill a vacancy, forcing him to choose a candidate of a particular gender to fulfill a quota? (this having occurred in 2021, and the Legislature later had to rewrite the law to keep this from occurring again)

Isn't defense of these actions itself extremist? Most people would say so. In fact, if the Idaho judiciary were under the control of conservatives, and the judiciary did what we've uncovered is happening today, Jones would rightfully complain. But because the system is controlled by leftist special interests, Jones would have you believe all the above is perfectly normal. It's not. 

In his column, Jones, a former state attorney general and member of the state Supreme Court claims, "our judges rarely deal with hot button issues. Those generally go to the federal court in Idaho." Here, I'd like to think that Jim isn't flat-out lying. But he certainly is flat-out wrong. 

At least most recently, the state Supreme Court decided a case on how the state was to be divided in terms of legislative representation, decided the fate of Idaho's initiative process, decided that the government was responsible for covering just about every medical condition under the sun, and decided that Medicaid expansion is constitutional, even though the federal government decides every aspect of how the program runs. 

Jones calls us "extremist." This is helpful, because I know of no Idahoan who thinks there's something extreme in wanting the court system to be transparent; or wanting a more deliberative process for choosing the next Supreme Court justice; or thinks it's OK for the government to delete official records of its proceedings. I know of not a single Idahoan who thinks that Boise lobbyists need to be integral to the process of making judicial appointments.

More than that, there's a certain arrogance in Jones' commentaries, this one included. We are but mere mortals, who are not allowed to question the propriety of the existing system. We're supposed to take people like Jones et al at their word that all that is is exactly how it is supposed to be. Says Jones: IFF clearly "doesn't understand" how the system works. 

Indeed we do, Jim. Indeed we do.

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