Notes on the election

by Walter Olson on November 7, 2012

  • Thank you, California voters, for ignoring the advice of Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman and turning down Prop 37, the badly (or deliberately-badly, depending on your level of cynicism) drafted initiative on labeling of genetically modified foods.
  • Any time a political wave comes crashing in, as it did last night, you lose some outstanding candidates along with the rest. Of Republicans defeated last night, I am particularly saddened by the loss of Nan Hayworth in Westchester and by that of Richard Tisei in Massachusetts, who would have greatly improved the character of representation for the North Shore compared with the present incumbent.
  • Ten Commandments judge Roy Moore, with backing from the plaintiff’s bar, won narrow approval from Alabama voters. Three Florida high court justices with a record of tendentious rulings easily won retention, backed by a wave of money from lawyers who practice before their court. On the brighter side, top-notch Michigan Supreme Court Justice Steve Markman survived another Democratic/union attempt to oust him. So there’s that.
  • Longtime subject of Overlawyered reportage Judy Cates won the judgeship in the downstate Illinois area across from St. Louis for which the term “problem jurisdiction” might have been invented.
  • Readers bored or bothered by the same-sex marriage issue should keep scrolling: four states had it on the ballot, I was deeply involved in the campaign in my home state of Maryland, and we appear to have won in all four states.
  • Readers bored or bothered by libertarian stances should keep right on scrolling because I am also very happy about Colorado’s and Washington’s removal of criminal penalties for marijuana use and California’s modification of its draconian “Three Strikes” law;
  • One of the most curious features of the presidential contest was the way both sides by seeming consent appeared to set aside the issue of Supreme Court appointments, which never even came up at the debates. Perhaps this silence is good for the institutional interests of the Court, whose public image could use some recuperation after years of Democratic attacks over decisions like Citizens United. But it strikes me as factually inaccurate, because the differences in likely court appointments remain one of the starkest and potentially most significant differences between the candidates, and would have made one of the more compelling themes for the Romney candidacy.
  • Go Wolverines: “Michigan voters soundly defeated a measure that would have given public-sector unions a potent tool to challenge any law — past, present or future — limiting their benefits and powers.” [Shikha Dalmia, Bloomberg]
  • More post-election thoughts from Ken at Popehat.

{ 2 comments }

1 Brat Magursky 11.07.12 at 5:01 pm

Robert Gibbs says this election was a strong message for Republicans (whose approval ratings were less than their shoe sizes) to stop the bickering & get on board. So, if those Republicans (i.e. conservatives) don’t give up their old antiquated traitional marriage, pot smoking is bad, anti abortion ways…they will be run over by a new brand of progressive “forward” thinkers who really only care about the mid to lower class. I love history & can’t wait to experience what it was really like living under the rule of Henry the VIII but then they didnt have Big Bird or Planned Parenthood so what did they know anyway……

2 aaaa 11.08.12 at 4:40 am

Maybe the Florida people did not seen those judges as tendentious, but as victims of partisan political fight started by one party. Some arguments have been utterly unconvincing. (The judge followed the law where he had no discretion and made decision according to law instead of popularity – that is not tendentious, that is what we pay them for).

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