Cynical Electioneering by Judges Ginsberg, Jordan and Hoffman Indicts Their Integrity

The Democratic Party primaries for judicial seats in Dallas County are a mess to make a mother weep. In three civil court races, the incumbent judges — all competent, all experienced — have conducted themselves in ways that indict their fitness for continued service on the bench.In each case, the sitting judges — Don Hoffman of the 68th District, Jim Jordan of the 160th District and Carl Ginsberg of the 193rd District — have allowed themselves to become mere politicians in pursuit of another term. These judges appear surprised and even offended to have drawn primary opponents from female candidates whose records they believe compare poorly to their own. They argue female candidates enjoy a built-in advantage among Dallas County Democratic voters, and they have no confidence that running even an energetic campaign based around their admirable experience would suffice to keep them in office. As a result, each of them has embraced a strategy that has placed on the ballot additional female candidates whose primary missions appear to be to split the vote and keep the incumbents in office, rather than to win the seat themselves. That kind of ballot-box bamboozlement is beneath the dignity of any sitting judge — or should be. Like them, this newspaper believes a candidate’s gender — or race or ethnicity or even political party — is a poor basis upon which to cast a vote. But the proper response from incumbents is to show that they're the better candidates. We raise this issue so emphatically because we believe such rank political gamesmanship demeans the judiciary and the electoral system itself.Faced with this behavior, voters — and this editorial board — are tasked with deciding how it should affect their choices.In our view, the standing of all three judges has been severely diminished. But we also believe that if voters are ready to cast out an otherwise respected judge, they must first satisfy themselves that the challenger who would serve instead is ready for the job. After all, in all three of these races the winner in March will face no major-party competition in the general election.In two of these races, we believe the challenger meets this standard. We recommend Hoffman in 68th Judicial District  Continue reading...

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