Politics and Judges

On this day of fasting and atonement, some judicial politics:

Hovering over the judicial elections this year is the federal lawsuit that could do away with the judicial conventions, which is where county leaders basically pick judges. With the lawsuit in review, the last thing a party wants to do is be seen playing politics with judicial races.

The one bright spot in the unsavory judicial selection process has been the independent screening panels which determine who is qualified to run in a judicial primary. The panels are used in Manhattan which, this year, has a civil court race with no Democratic candidate.


Four Democratic candidates went before the committee; three were reported out. The fourth was Shari Michels, daughter of the former Manhattan councilman and Borough President candidate [corrected], Stanley. (Shari was found to be qualified city’s bar association.) Only one of the three candidates, Louis Nock, circulated petitions to get on the ballot but, for some reason, never created a committee to fill vacancies.


When Nock opted not to run, that left the Democrats with no (official) candidate in the race. According to Stanley, that’s when elected officials “encouraged” his daughter to make another attempt at the seat. What elected officials encouraged her to run for the seat after the independent screening panel found her unqualified, he wouldn’t say.

Without an official party candidate, the Democratic establishment is free to help Michels – who is running as an Equal Justice Party candidate. So now the Democratic Party doesn’t look like they’re helping elect a Democrat who wasn’t approved by the screening panel. If they did, that would have looked like, um, politics.

— Azi Paybarah