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Friday, September 12, 2008

Judicial campaign conduct committee's idea is food for thought

The Minnesota State Bar Association committee monitoring the conduct of judicial campaigns has an interesting idea -- get together with the opposing candidates over a meal.

Detroit Lakes attorney David Stowman, the chair of the MSBA Judicial election Campaign Conduct Committee, recently explained it this way to Minnesota Lawyer's Michelle Lore: "When people get together face to face and they get to know each other on a personal basis, it's more difficult for them to have a nasty campaign. I don't see any downside in doing and I think some good might come of it."

Hmmm. Well, the words "food fight" do come to mind ... But assuming the candidates mind their table manners, it's an intriguing concept.

If a lunch can't be arranged for logistical or other reasons, the committee will try to coordinate a conference call.

Stowman also said he plans to contact the candidates who lost in Tuesday's judicial primary to get their input on the committee and how it might be improved.


Peter said...

David Stowman is a longtime DFL activist (nothing wrong with that). He wrote a hit piece in the October 2004 Bench & Bar against Justice "Anthony" (sic) Scalia for going on a hunting trip that included Vice President Cheney. A lawsuit against Cheney in his official capacity (not individually - a fact that Stowman left out of his hit piece) was pending before the Court. Although it was not in Stowman's piece, Scalia was also criticized for having dinner with Cheney and their fellow Ford Administration staffer SecDef Donald Rumsfeld.

It is nice to see Stowman support the idea that people can break bread and be civil without there being ulterior motives. I hope he is sincere.

Mark Cohen, editor said...

Detroit Lakes attorney (and former MSBA president) David Stowman sent in the following response, which he asked me to post:

"I would like to respond to Peter's comment. His reference is to an article titled "Electing an Impartial, Independent Judiciary" dated October 2004. Please read it in its entirety by going to stowmanlaw.com, click on Minnesota State Bar, which leads to a list of articles, including this one."

I will make it even easier, just click here for a direct link to the full text of David's article.

Personally, I don't have much of an opinion on the dining habits of vice presidents (other than the hope that Dick Cheney is opting for a heart-healthy menu now), but I have had enough contact with David to know that he's about a civil a practitioner as you ever want to meet. I have little doubt he'd have no problem breaking bread with anybody of any political stripe.