The appropriately named John Adams, a political independent and a Delaware attorney, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that he and other independent and third-party members are being discriminated against when they are passed over for judicial vacancies by virtue of the Delaware Constitution’s ridiculous partisan provisions that require an equal number of Republicans and Democrats in the judiciary. He is absolutely right.
That means if a judge steps down, the governor must fill that vacancy with a member of the same political party. If a judicial vacancy creates an even number of Democrats and Republicans on the bench, the governor is then free to appoint a member of either political party to give that party a “bare majority” of one. Therefore, when Delaware’s Judicial Nominating Commission, the task force responsible for screening and recommending candidates for judgeships, requests applicants, it will stipulate if the opening can be filled by a Democrat or Republican.
The lawsuit says the Delaware Constitution’s political balance requirement thus violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, in that it bars potential judges from office due to their political affiliation, a violation of their freedom of expression.
Now, I oppose this provision for purely partisan reasons. The Delaware bench currently should be filled with liberal and Democratic judges up and down all the courts. Why? Because Delaware Democrats have controlled the Governorship and the Senate together since 1993. The better part of three decades. To the winner should go the spoils. And this provision is nothing more than a life support machine for the Republican Party. It is time to pull the plug.