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November 2nd, 2006

judges

Tonight I attended the Garland Bar Association meeting. Each month, we have one set of Dallas judges speak to our local group. I am president of the association this year, although in fact it is rather less a mark of any distinction than that I was president-elect last year, vice president the year before, treasurer the year before, and so on, back to my days as an ordinary citizen. It's less an electoral process than a matter of ladder-climbing one's volunteer work.

I always like the November meeting because it features the family district court judges. I do very little family law--near enough to none that I can almost say none, but not quite. I do sometimes end up with issues ancillary to a divorce, while wearing my business hat. It all goes back to a promise I made to myself in law school about trying to avoid professional situations in which people cry a lot.

The family district judges always interest me because they describe some of the most human and intense things in life, rendered into court proceedings. Our local crop are all Republicans, and I am a Democrat, yet I like them all and would, if asked, probably vote to keep them. As it happens, I live in Collin County, a Republican bastion, and I do not even get to choose whether or not to vote for a Democrat, because only the libertarians run against the local judges. Our local Dallas-area trial court judges are not ideologues, whichever party they profess, which I find comforting in an increasingly and needlessly partisan time. To me, judges should be judges, and not party hacks.

This election in Dallas County appears close, as early voting stats indicate that a disenchanted population is turning out to vote. I would find it a sad irony if Donald Rumsfeld gets to stay in office but these hard-working judges had to go. Politics often makes for such ironies. I hope these judges live in unironic times, though. It's not that I wish their opponents any ill--after all, on balance, I like Democrat judges better than Republican. It's just that good judges should not be voted out on the basis of politics writ large.

Only two judges showed up this year, as opposed to four to six in the usual year. One associate judge kindly also came. Two who had RSVP'd yes did not come. It's an election year--such a busy time! I feel a certain sympathy for folks who must campaign to keep their jobs.

I am not clear whether, as predicted, one or both houses of Congress will change hands next week, though I am very hopeful that the Democrats take back at least the House. I am reasonably certain that even if both houses stay Republican, two more Bush years will turn the tide in 2008.

I have voted already, though, and I'll find out the answer on Tuesday. I am eager to learn what there is to learn.

I've been tired all week. No more 2 a.m. 1 minute chess on Friday night (my index finger will no doubt be grateful).

I am also not writing a novel this year. But I want to write poems this weekend.