Harry Margolis is one of three people who is running against me for Governor's Council in District 3 (the other two are incumbent Marilyn Devaney and challenger Charlie Shapiro; all three are Democrats). Harry made some observations on his blog, which I have copied below — and which I believe might lead to a healthy discussion.
-- Tom Sheff
From Harry Margolis:
A Disturbing Peek at the Governor's Council
Last week, I attended the Governor’s Council confirmation hearing of Ken
Salinger to the Superior Court pension. It was not a pretty sight.
To begin with, only two Councillors were on time, Marilyn Devaney and Charles Cipollini. Jennie Caissie, Terrence Kennedy and Christopher Iannella trickled in after half an hour passed. The other Councillors -- Mary-Ellen Manning, Thomas Merrigan and the Lieutenant Governor did not show up during the hour I spent observing the proceedings.
Four witnesses testified on behalf of the nominee, including his supervisor in the attorney general’s office, a former colleague at the law firm of Palmer & Dodge, an opposing council on a recent case, and a non-lawyer fellow employee in the attorney general’s office.
To hear them speak, as voters, taxpayers, and potential litigants, we could not ask for a more qualified judge. They described Salinger as brilliant, diligent, incredibly hard working, humble and funny.
Then the circus began. Everyone has the right to testify before the Governor’s Council with no time limits, at least under its current rules. Some people complained about the Council in general and some about the candidate in particular.
Many of those testifying seemed to be in cahoots with Councillor Cipollini. It seems that the fact that Salinger had contributed to EMILY’S List and to
MoveOn.org disqualified him from serving as judge in their eyes. The fact that as an assistant attorney general Salinger had defended the state’s gun laws and those establishing a buffer zone around abortion clinics –- laws that some of those testifying disagreed with -– also disqualified him from
being a judge according to these purported defenders of the public good.
I left after an hour, but the shenanigans are reported to have continued on for another two and a half hours. They gave rise to an editorial in the Boston Herald that concluded as follows:
"We make no judgment about Salinger’s particular fitness for the bench, and his contributions suggest he hasn’t exactly been in the middle of the road politically. But that doesn’t necessarily disqualify him from judicial service. And to have to suffer through questioning by a clown like Cipollini ought to come with hazard pay."
(Click here to read the entire editorial.)
We can only hope that the Council will ultimately approve this fine public servant to the judgeship both he and we deserve, and that all current members of the Council will be present and voting.
What do you think?