Bad or Inadequate Judges are a Public Hazard.

And Justice For All
primary focus on divorce, custody and guardian ad litems

Re: Judging judges: hearings on judicial appointments or reappointment.

At MeGAL we are writing you-in our role as grassroots advocates for Guardian ad litem and family court reform-about your committee’s work on judicial appointments and reappointment. You will soon be reviewing the appointment status of a number of judges. From our perspective, it is “a moment of truth” – the question being: are these judicial candidates good for the public who use Maine’s family courts?

Historically, judicial confirmation activity has been largely a series of privileged decisions by a special interest oligarchy composed of the Maine Bar and members of the Judicial Branch, with a near automatic, stamp of approval from your committee.

We would strongly argue that public users of family courts also have a vital interest in this topic. Bad or inadequate judges are a public hazard. They can cause untold cruelty and harm to families and children with bad judicial decisions. Yet, they are virtually impossible to correct or remove using judicial review procedures – just check the numbers of corrective actions yourself. We know of none.

We look to the legislature to act to remove judges with a troubled public record. As a start, we would suggest a series of questions for judicial candidates, the answers to which ought to be tied to decision making by your committee.

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Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech was about being a father

What MLK Taught Me About How to Be a Dad

“We don’t take black money.”

Those were the cruel words my father-in-law, Dr. Little, heard when he was a young man at a public golf course in 1959.

“Good,” he responded. “Because money is green.”

He left his cash on the counter, turned around, and walked out the door to go play a round of golf.

Later, he and his friends were escorted away by police for playing on a “whites only” course. Rather than exploding into a violent rage, as many others would have done, Dr. Little stayed calm and held his head high during his arrest.

That highly publicized event and his example of a dignified man were instrumental in the future of the golf course, which would be integrated a few years later.

On MLK Day, I find myself reflecting on my father-in-law’s story. I am also reminded that Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech was about being a father. It was about envisioning the future he wanted for his children, and then working to make that dream a reality.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” he said.

We can all learn something from Dr. King, Dr. Little, and Championship Fathers across the globe …

More important than a man’s circumstances—his race, his socioeconomic status, his custodial or marital situation—is the way in which he handles his circumstances and envisions the future.

Do you model self-control? Do you remain calm and rational, even when others are becoming bitter … perhaps even violent? Can you hold your head high because you know you are acting like the dignified man you want your children to see?

Do you communicate to your children that the world is a good place and that the future is bright and colorful?

Or do you act as though the world is a bleak place to live?

When I think about what other fathers—black, white, Asian, Latino, poor, rich, married, divorced—have been through, I am motivated to hold the mantle just as high and to walk with dignity.

I am reminded to be mindful about what my children see through my eyes and how they envision the future.

What are your deepest longings for the world in which your children grow up? How do you want them to see you? The future?

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