Every primary ballot includes Supreme Court contests.
Updated: August 11, 2012 - 6:22 PM
You may be thinking that this Tuesday's primary election isn't for you. Please think again.
The primary isn't just for First District Republicans, where Allen Quist and Mike Parry are battling for their party's congressional nomination. It isn't just for DFLers in the Eighth District, where the three-way congressional tussle between Rick Nolan, Jeff Anderson and Tarryl Clark has been filling the airwaves.
It isn't just for people who live in the several dozen legislative districts in which the primary will decide whose names go on the November ballot.
Every Minnesota voter has reason to vote on Tuesday. That's because every primary ballot will include two three-way races for the Minnesota Supreme Court. Tuesday's election will trim the number of contenders in those contests from three to two.
The three-way races each involve incumbent justices. Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea is challenged by attorneys Jill Clark of Golden Valley and Dan Griffith of International Falls. Associate Justice David Stras is opposed by attorney and computer engineer Alan Nelson of Woodbury and administrative law judge Tim Tingelstad of Bemidji.
The Star Tribune Editorial Board has not yet screened judicial candidates for endorsement. For us, that will come before the general election.
But we want readers to know that we admire the merit-based screening of judicial candidates that Gov. Al Quie instituted in 1979, and every governor has used to some degree since. Gildea and Stras are both products of that process. Both have served honorably since their appointments by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Gildea has been an engaging and effective advocate for an impartial, adequately funded judiciary.
We also favor preserving gubernatorial appointment as the starting point for judicial careers, rather than turning judicial selection over to free-for-all elections financed by special interests. Judicial independence would be at risk if that happened.
For those reasons, we hope Gildea and Stras are among the two survivors of Tuesday's election. And we hope that Minnesotans who value an impartial judiciary will put "VOTE" on their Tuesday calendars.
Readers, what do you think? To offer an opinion considered for publication as a letter to the editor, please fill out this form. Follow us on Twitter @StribOpinion and Facebook at facebook.com/StribOpinion.
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