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MARCH 18, 2010

Judge Bradbury makes second bid for the Idaho Supreme Court

By Alannah Allbrett

   Judge John H. Bradbury of the Second District, is making his second bid to serve on the Idaho Supreme Court. He paid almost $120,000 out of his own pocket two years ago for his campaign and just narrowly missed getting elected. A second seat, held by Justice Jim Jones, is also up for election.

   He decided to seek the position, currently held by Roger Burdick, because he believes the court system should be “people’s first choice for the fair and affordable resolution of their disputes.”

Appointments vs. Elections

   Judge Bradbury feels strongly about people’s rights to elect judges rather than have them appointed for them. “In the last three years, twenty-two District and Appellate judges have been appointed,” he said. “The problem is that when you don’t have elections [judges] never have to account for what they do, and they never have to meet the people they serve.”

   “It’s really disturbing to me that we have a judiciary that does an end-run around the Idaho Constitution that requires a non-partisan election. You end up with a partisan appointment because, when’s the last time a governor appointed somebody outside his party?” said Bradbury.

Statewide representation

 “Choosing judges because of who they know instead of what they know has created an isolated court in Boise that is out of touch with the real life and everyday struggles of the people who live throughout the state,” said Bradbury. He points out that for the first time in Idaho’s history, there is not a justice from northern and eastern Idaho on the state’s Supreme Court.

   “The Court has cut funding,” he said, “and forced the Boise model on our rural drug and mental health courts, putting these life saving programs in peril.” Judge Bradbury formerly handled the mental health and drug courts, before having to fight residency requirements due to living in Grangeville and serving Lewiston and Orofino courts.

Spending

   Judge Bradbury attacked past expenditures by the court stating, “The court squandered $78,425.41, of a STOP Violence Against Women grant, to fund a three day judicial conference [in Twin Falls] that spent only four and a half hours on domestic violence.”

Retired judges

   “The senior judges program pays forty-nine retired judges who work thirty-six days a year [for] the same pay as if they worked full time,” said Bradbury pointing out that Linda Trout and Gerald Schroeder (retired Supreme Court justices now senior judges) make 85 percent of their $120,000 annual salary for 36 days’ worth of work. “I frankly think it’s outrageous,” said Bradbury. “What you do is, you get one justice for the price of two. They [the Supreme Court] talk about it being an Idaho success story, but they don’t say whose success.”

   “The basic thing to me is, who’s the judiciary for? Is it for the people, or is it for the judiciary? When you look what they’ve done for themselves and what they haven’t done for others, the conclusion is pretty easy to draw,” said Bradbury.

Donations

   Due to the high cost of legal battles over residency issues, Bradbury will accept campaign donations in this year’s judicial election which will be held in the May 25, primary. The top two candidates (if there are more than two candidates, none with more than 50 percent of the vote) will face off in the November general election.