Democracy Forum 6/21/24: Order in the Court: Who’s Your Judge?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Production Assistance:
Joel Mann

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Ruth Eveland, Michael Fisher, Claire Fox, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Rick Lyles, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Leah Taylor, and Linda Washburn.

Democracy Forum: Participatory Democracy, encouraging citizens to take an active role in government and politics

This month:
We talk about the Maine judiciary.
1. How are judges chosen in Maine?
2. Compare Maine’s judicial selection process to the federal system and to other states.
3. What standards of judicial ethics apply?
4. Are judges in Maine subject to undue influence by narrow special or partisan interests?
5. Are judges in Maine facing escalating threats, the way judges are in other states?
6. What insulates Maine? How fragile are our protections?

– Leigh Saufley, President and Dean of the University of Maine School of Law, former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
– David Sachar, Director of Judicial Ethics at the National Center for State Courts.
– Dmitry Bam, Vice Dean/Provost, Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law.

To learn more about this topic:
1. Judicial Nominations | Office of Governor Janet T. Mills
2. Maine Judicial Branch
3. State of Maine Judicial Responsibility and Disability Committee
4. How to file a judicial complaint in Maine
5. Can State Supreme Courts Preserve—or Expand—Rights? | The New Yorker, June 2024
6. Defense attorneys, ACLU question whether new bail reviews for unrepresented defendants are working | Portland Press Herald, May 2024
7. Probate court reform overdue | Editorials |, May 2024
8. Maine officials seek suspension of Hancock County probate judge | BDN, April 2024
9. Judges and Prosecutors, Targeted by Trump, Will Not Be Intimidated, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, April 2024
10. Judicial Leaders Praise Federal Bill to Protect State Judges | NCSC, March 2024
11. Maine’s chief justice cites progress and challenges for backlogged court system | Maine Public, February 2024
12. Maine’s Part-Time Court | Maine Monitor, June 2023
13. Maine courts may take until 2028 to touch backlog of cases | Maine Monitor, March 2023

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.