What Good Are Judges’ Sales Pitches?
With the judiciary as important as it is, and with those who typically populate its benches being, by nature, somewhat less prominent, in the public eye, than politicians, the Providence Journal‘s series of profiles of the five people whom the Judicial Nominating Commission has passed along to Governor Carcieri as candidates to fill a state Supreme Court vacancy could have been a valuable resource. But the pieces that reporter Tracy Breton actually offered — here, here, here, here, and here — read more like the self-promotional blurbs that actors submit about themselves for playbills than as reportage intended to serve the public. That is to say that they’re useless and not worth the time to read.
Sure, actual research of the potential judges’ pasts, with an eye toward opposition and problems, could create an uncomfortable position for the subject and journalist, both. If a reporter can’t find anything good about one candidate or anything bad about another, that could create the impression of favoritism. But in any employment competition, facts should favor the candidate who ultimately wins. The governor’s task shouldn’t be seen as the selection of the most darned nice and inspiring personage on the slate, but of the one whose experience and proven disposition — in positive circumstances and negative — suits the mission of the court.