Most voters know who they want to vote for, and why, when the step into the voting booth. Then they come to the judicial selections. When it comes to voting for a Supreme Court or Appeals Court justice, most voters have little idea of who the candidates are.
This year, Supreme Court Chief Justice Lori Gildea, Justice Barry Anderson and Justice David Stras are up for re-election. They are challenged, respectively, by Dan Griffith, a private practice lawyer from International Falls, Dean Barkley, an attorney with a political background that includes founding the Minnesota Independence Party, and Tim Tingelstadt, a district magistrate from Bemidji.
Like most Minnesota judges, the justices were appointed to their positions after another judge or justice left the bench in mid-term. They have undergone a thorough review of their qualifications and background. This is a system that has served Minnesota well by providing qualified, thoughtful jurists, but there are many, like their opponents, who favor the election of judges, which is what the state constitution calls for.
The Journal recommends returning the incumbents to office, based on their better qualifications and service on the bench. The fact that they were appointed should not be considered a reason to turn them out of office.