On January 1, 2012, new rules will take effect that prevents judges from taking part both personally and financially in the political process. These new rules strip judges of their constitutional right of free association. It also strips them of their right to free speech. It encourages them to take part publicly in religious activities.
The New Mexico State Supreme Court has sent a very strong message that separation of church and state is not important in our legal system. It has sent the message that judges should not have to associate with member of the public unless they are members of there own churches. The end result will be a very limited world view on how the voting public views religious issues.
The Supreme Court has made it possible for third party groups to control elections for our state judge positions. Those third party groups with unlimited financial resources and an unnatural right to freedom of speech will be able to speak out during elections while judges are forced to stay silence and separate from the voting public.
It has not given any alternative such as bipartisan public education requirements on the legal system by sitting judges. It has handed the future judgeships in this state over to the Republican Party at the cost of fair and equal justice for the voting public. The voting public knows very little about our sitting judges even now. In the future judges will be totally unknown to the voters. The voters will not know their party affiliation or their views on issues that affect our whole state. Those views could be express in a general manner without commenting on any current case in non- election years if sitting judges had the right of free association.
Voters should express their outrage on these new restrictive overreaching rules that will only result in a negative result for our state’s legal system. The New Mexico Supreme Court has exceeded their ability to fix the problems in our current legal system until it is completely and totally broken.
The sad part is that the most conservative newspaper in this state clearly thinks that this is a great idea. What has happened to our state party’s respect for the rule of law in this state?