“Ringside Seat: In a clean race, it’s a shame someone has to lose”

Milan Simonich has this article in the Santa Fe New Mexican about the race for the New Mexico Court of Appeals seat between incumbent Judge Miles Hanisee, the Republican candidate, and his Democratic challenger, appellate lawyer Kerry Kiernan.

The article notes that when Judge Hanisee was a lawyer in private practice, he represented former Democratic state senator Manny Aragon in a corruption case.

I agree with Mr. Simonich that Kerry Kiernan is to be commended for not turning Judge Hanisee’s representation of a controversial figure into a campaign issue. And Judge Hanisee is to be commended for taking on that representation.

When lawyers represent people who are accused of crimes, or are otherwise unpopular or controversial, they are not endorsing the client’s views, goals, or actions. Instead, they are defending the client’s legal rights. It would be much more difficult for our legal system to function if lawyers were not willing to do so. The fact that a lawyer is willing to take on controversial representations makes him or her more, not less, qualified to hold judicial office.

The winners here are New Mexico’s voters, who have a win-win choice in this particular election.


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