Pressures can thwart fair judicial review
The Commission on Judicial Independence and Impartiality is gravely concerned by the Judicial Merit Selection Commission's failure, by a 7-3 vote, to find Family Court Judge Charlie Segars-Andrews qualified for re-election. While the commission's decision will not be final until its report is published, the reported basis for disqualification lies in her conduct in a single case after 16 years of service as a judge.
Particularly alarming is the rehashing of this court case before a legislative commission charged with approving judges for re-election. Judicial independence is jeopardized if the judicial screening process becomes a place where cases that have already been thoroughly reviewed and disposed of through both the appeals and judicial disciplinary process can be retried.
Further, these actions are evidence of a dangerous influence that must not be present in a judicial system that depends upon absolute impartiality. Judges must be allowed to rule in good faith and fulfill their constitutional requirements without fear of losing their jobs at the hands of disgruntled litigants. The very existence of the appeals court process contemplates that judges are human and will sometimes make mistakes. The ability and process for challenging rulings are already in place and functioning as they are supposed to. The judicial screening process must be one which resists political pressures and respects those safeguards already in place which ensure fair judicial review.
M. DAWES COOKE JR.
Chair, Commission on Judicial Independence and Impartiality
South Carolina Bar
Governor needs harsher punishment
Mark Sanford's platform when running for governor implied that he was a man of solid and noble character. He seemed to espouse correct principles that were good for all of us. I was impressed.
Now, however, he has broken the marital vows he made with his wife and with God. Through his egocentric selfishness, he has betrayed his family and us. He has used state funds to help finance personal escapades with a business veneer. Through his dishonesty and aberrant behavior, he has proved embarrassing, irresponsible and undependable. His lying, deceitful and paradoxical craftiness suggests a decomposition of personal integrity. I don't think he feels true remorse over what he has done.
He has compromised correct decision-making principles. I have lost confidence in him. Can I trust him to make correct and important decisions for me in a moment of crisis when the chips are down? I don't think so. Censure is not enough.
LARRY M. COPE
Harrell directed graduates to God
You left out the most important part of House Speaker Bobby Harrell's recent address to the USC graduates. He encouraged them to seek God's guidance through prayer and reminded them their faith in God would be important to them in their search for success.
PATRICK E. WATSON
Cost of health bill will fall to children
Monday's recap of the terms of the Senate health care bill listed many of the ways the government would collect revenue to pay for the future costs. Do people not realize all the money is coming from us, one way or another - through increased taxes, cost of services or reduced care?
Since I am now in the income category that might benefit from this hodge-podge mess, I should be grateful. However, I have children and grandchildren that will forever be burdened with the increasing debt load. As Hillary Clinton frequently said, "Let's think of the children."