Sunday, October 26, 2014

Is Richard Bernstein Violating the Judicial Code of Conduct?

Ordinarily, I fast forward through commercials when I'm watching a program on DVR.  Sometimes, though, I'm not quick enough or I'm busy, and then I get to watch advertisements that remind me why I usually zip through them.

Yesterday, one of the commercials I saw by accident really caught my attention, but not in a good way.  It was a political ad for Richard Bernstein, who is running as a Democratic nominee for the Michigan Supreme Court.  At about the 14-second mark, Bernstein says:
Big corporations, polluters, and insurance companies have their high-priced lawyers, so let me be your judge.
Your wizard was astounded by this comment, so I quickly went to my copy of the Judicial Code of Conduct.  Right there, in Canon 7, part B, it clearly states:

(1)   A candidate, including an incumbent judge, for a judicial office:
*   *   *
(c)  should not make pledges or promises of conduct in office other than the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of the office.

So, what is going on in this commercial?  It is patently obvious that Bernstein is pledging that he will rule against big corporations and insurance companies.  Prejudging cases that are likely to come before the high court is the exact opposite of "the faithful and impartial performance of the duties" of Michigan Supreme Court Justice.

Perhaps this sort of inattention to the rules is to be expected from someone who has never been a judge and, according to the Michigan Courts website, has never appeared on a case in either the Court of Appeals or the Michigan Supreme Court.

Regardless of the cause, there is no excuse for a candidate so blatantly flouting the code of conduct governing the office to which he aspires.  This is a bad way to start, and voters would do well to make sure he doesn't get the chance to follow through.


  1. The sheeple win again. I guess it is all about name recognition.


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