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Why We Do This

Here in Nebraska, we are asked if we want to “retain” a judge.  It looks like this on the ballot:

Shall Judge “So and So” be
retained in office?

 Yes
 No

Judges are appointed for life, but this question is asked every six years.  Rarely, but it has happened that a judge has been removed from the bench by a vote of the people.

Judges cannot be interviewed like we question candidates, because their decisions on cases must be made on the evidence in each specific case, NOT their personal opinion.   So to learn about the judges, we interview lawyers, law enforcement personnel, and others who do have professional contact with the judges.  These judge opinion givers, obviously will bring their own bias into their view of the judge, so we attempt to inform the voter of the “skew” from which that opinion-giver speaks.

This is totally subjective and must be viewed in that light.  The opinion-givers don’t always agree with each other, but we attempt to provide a large enough sampling of responses to get a general view.

The Nebraska Bar Association, each election, provides their survey of the judges.  We provide selected information from their survey, but with the understanding that we cannot know the “skew” from which those lawyers think.  Also, typically, there are more defense lawyers than prosecuting attorneys providing their views.

Which governor appointed that judge and when, is also provided, along with what biographical information can be located.

© 2012 Voter Information Project