Judiciary: Internal housecleaning?

Judicial elections in Mississippi have turned into a virtual bidding war between business and medical interests and the state’s trial bar.

The outside counsel contract relationship between the attorney general’s office and campaign contributors is also problematic with no outside oversight.

There is much political hay to be made over these issues by Republicans and Democrats alike and the interests those parties represent.

But this is not at heart a political problem.

The Supreme Court and the Mississippi Bar need to be proactive in crafting solutions that protect access to the courts, the ethical considerations of the bar and the setting of appropriate boundaries between lawyers and judges in the political arena.

The time is now. Mississippians don’t trust the current process and are skeptical of the campaign finance competition between both business interests and the trial bar.

Does the federal government have to come in and clean up the courthouses of Mississippi like it cleaned up the road barns of county supervisors in this state in the 1980s?

No, it’s time for some internal housecleaning – and the Supreme Court and the Mississippi Bar should be wielding the broom. They can start with revisiting how judges are selected.

Clarion Ledger
3/2/8