Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Lora Hubbel made a statement on her facebook page on Tuesday on what her policy would be towards members of the Judicial Branch of South Dakota’s Government if she was successful in her bid to be the State’s next Governor.
Hubbel notes that “As Governor I plan on weeding out the bad ones” in reference to an inquiry on seeking a judge who would be fair in a child custody battle:
While the Governor has the ability to appoint judges (working with the judicial qualifications commission), in the instance of vacancies it is unclear by what mechanism Hubbel believes a standing Governor could remove a judge.
According to state law and the South Dakota State Constitution, South Dakota judges may be removed in one of two ways: On the recommendation of the judicial qualifications commission, the State Supreme Court, after a hearing, may censure, remove, or retire a judge. Or in the case of a Supreme Court Justice, a Justice may be impeached by a majority vote of the House of Representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the State Senate.
Conceivably, to “weed out” what she perceives as the bad ones, Hubbel could send an endless flurry of sternly worded letters to the Judicial Qualifications Commission. Or she could try to leverage her “Two citizens who are not of the same political party, appointed by the Governor” appointments to the Judicial Qualifications Commission to do her bidding. But nowhere in the Constitution or State Law can I find that the Chief Executive of the State of South Dakota has the ability to unilaterally “weed out the bad judges.”
As Governor, she could conceivably endorse or oppose circuit court judicial candidates when they’re up for election. However, if her intent as Governor would be to endorse judicial candidates, this would be somewhat hypocritical, considering her past statements.
Any thoughts? Or is this just another reminder of why Lora Hubbel is utterly unfit in any capacity to be considered as a candidate for Governor.
“It’s like deja-vu, all over again.”
– Yogi Berra