It’s very difficult to learn the background and fundamental judicial philosophy of candidates for judge. For one thing, most candidates have never held public office before, so there is little public discourse or scrutiny of their political or philosophical positions available for review. Every voter wants to know if a candidate is conservative, liberal, or moderate. What are their personal beliefs and opinions on the current issues of the day: gay rights, immigration, terrorism, abortion, unions, guns… you name it. But judicial candidates are largely barred from sharing these opinions in California by the Judicial Canons.
Yet there is a “magic” question that all judicial candidates can freely answer, and that truly reveals a great deal about their approach to the law, justice, and many of those hot-button issues. Most simply: which United States Supreme Court Justice, living or dead, do you admire most and why? Continue reading