Jul 17 2012
According to the Texas Tribune, Texas Supreme Court elections are already becoming heated. Former district court judge, John Devine is running against eight-year incumbent Justice David Medina in a Republican runoff election.
John Devine has taken a grass roots approach to the election. Justice David Medina has the support of Republican elected officials, and he has traveled
the state introducing himself to voters.
Both candidates have had their fair share of controversies. In 2008, Justice Medina was indicted in an arson case causing $1 million in damages to his home. Charges against Justice Medina were dropped. “Afterward the Harris County grand jury’s foreman said the dismissal of the charges had been politically motivated.” In 1997, Devine was sanctioned by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct for “using court chambers to announce his run for Congress.” He has also struggled to keep the 10 Commandments in his courtroom and is an anti-abortion activist. “At a June rally in Fort Worth, Mr. Devine told the crowd he had been arrested 37 times while protesting abortion clinics. . . . His activism on behalf of anti-abortion causes raised concerns when it appeared likely that he would hear cases related to abortion laws.”
According to the Statesman, one recent controversy between the two involves Devine’s motivations for running against Justice Medina. Scott Link, a former district judge, and Frank Harmon, an attorney, claim that Devine targeted Medina because “‘he had a Mexican name’ and was therefore vulnerable in a GOP primary.” Devine claims these statements are untrue and dishonest. The Statesman reported that Devine thinks this is an attempt to distract the public from Justice Medina’s 2002 driving while intoxicated charges, “his trial ended in a hung jury — and a $35,000 Texas Ethics Commission fine for improperly spending campaign money on personal travel.”
The Republican primary runoff election is scheduled for July 31, 2012. As the date nears, how much more time and money will be spent pointing fingers? Is this how we should be choosing our judges?Tags: ethics, judicial elections, other states, state supreme court, Texas