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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bohr, Orenstein face off as Second District race winds down

Last night, Second District judicial candidates Gail Chang Bohr and Howard Orenstein faced off in the only public forum between the two prior to Tuesday's election.

Given that the race is one of the tightest of any district court race in the state, the tone of the forum was cordial. But both candidates were determined to shine a spotlight on their experience and temperaments in an effort to impress the 70 or so attendees who crowded into the Hamline University School of Law's mock courtroom.

Bohr stated that among her priorities as judge would be to work to reduce the incidence of youth contact with the judicial system, especially among minorities.

Orenstein, meanwhile spoke about his passion for justice and his belief that “courts can be a place where people who aren’t respected in other parts of society can find justice.”

Bohr touted her temperament and her background as an advocate for disadvantaged children, hinting that she would transfer that demeanor to her court if elected.

“I know people,” she said. “I know how to deal with them respectfully and talk to them.”

Orenstein pointed to the diversity in his legal background, ticking off a dozen practice areas in which he’s worked. He also indicated that his five terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives made him more qualified to interpret the law.

“A judge needs to know lots of areas of the law,” he said. “As a legislator, I was involved in crafting laws in just about every area that would come before the bench.”

A full story about the candidates' forum will appear in Monday's Minnesota Lawyer.

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