There's no clear parallel to the situations in other areas and other states where the judiciary is being compromised by electoral politics. Nava had every right to run — and has mounted an honest campaign that discusses the need for diversity on the bench.
Ulmer's supporters note — correctly — that the San Francisco courts have more ethnic and gender diversity than any county in the state. And we're not going to try to come to a conclusion here about how much diversity is enough.
But we will say that life experience matters, and judges bring to the bench what they've lived. Nava, who is the grandson of Mexican immigrants and the first person in his family to go to college, may have a different perspective on how low-income people of color are treated in the courts than a former Republican who spent his professional career in big law firms.
We were impressed by Nava's background and knowledge — and by his interest in opening up the courts. He supports cameras in the courtrooms and allowing reporters to record court proceedings. He told us the meetings judges hold on court administration should be open to the public.
We're willing to discuss whether judicial elections make sense. Meanwhile, judges who don't like the idea of challenges should encourage their colleagues not to retire in midterm. If all the judges left at the end of a four-year term, there would be plenty of open seats and fewer challenges. But for now, there's nothing in this particular election that makes us fear for the independence of the courts. Vote for Nava.
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