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to serve out their term, providing they haven’t disgraced themselves or their office. We would not suggest than an official has a higher duty to serve the state than to serve himself and his family, but Hill did not indicate that private matters were behind his resignation. So it appears that he has let the voters down. As Attorney General Jim Mattox put it, speaking about the recent resignation of Mack Wallace from the Railroad Commission as well as Hill’s, `.`There’s a real sense of disappointment, even a sense of betrayal in the matters. These people have promised the voters and the party they were going to finish out ther terms and now they’ve turned their seats over to an unpopular governor.” But even more distressing than Hill’s stepping down at a politically inopportune time is the shallowness of what he now hopes to accomplish in the way of judicial reform. “The big, big problem is the excessive amount of campaign money that is involved in judicial politics,” Hill said at a Capitol press conference, explaining the frustration that led him to resign. He said he is worried because the public has gotten the impression the system of justice has been corrupted by the big money involved in elections. And indeed, with revelations that have come out about Justices C.L. Ray and William Kilgarlin apparently being willing to use their influence to the benefit of wealthy lawyers who have backed them, such public suspicion is not unwarranted. And indeed, there is an absurd amount of money spent these days to win a seat on the Supreme Court, and Justices are put in the dubious role of accepting contributions from either the defense bar or the plaintiff’s bar, and often from attorneys who come before the bench. The mystery, though, about people of John Hill’s stripe is why their first impulse in seeking reform is to do away with elections. The problems besetting Texas courts are not rare and isolated problems. All elections cost too much. Most candidates who run for statewide office are forced to cozy up to one fatcat or another. That’s why talking about “judicial reform” outside the larger context of the corruption of the electoral process is a waste of time. Why not talk about campaign finance reform instead? If the moneyed interests have become too much a part of the selection of judges, why not remove the moneyed interests? Why not put limits on the size of campaign contributions? Why not make it less expensive to run for office, perhaps service programming during the election season? Why not try to make the election system work properly instead of giving up on it? A man with the distinguished record of public service that John Hill has could do much more good by taking on the real problems of running for office in the modern era than by focusing obsessively on an unpopular plan to put the selection of judges in the hands of “the experts. ” 0 NE REASON Hill’s resignation was met with nearly unanimous admiration by the editorial writers around the state who extolled the Chief Justice as a man of principle who wants nothing more than to clean up the judicial system is because the editorialists bought Hill’s line that the court system should be “above politics.” The idea that one could choose judges based on academic and intellectual qualities, with an eye perhaps to certain “character concern for ideology, is an enduring American fantasy. If ever there was a time to be clear-headed about the political nature of the courts, that time is upon us with the nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the broad sense, the court system is never “above politics” because their work involves political values and choices. But this is especially clear in President Reagan’s choice of Bork. It is John Hill in earlier, happier days CONTENTS FEATURES 2 The Courts and the Constitution Dave Denison 6 Beat the Editor Kaye Northcott 8 Economic Development Louis Dubose 10 We the People Molly Ivins 11 Goetz, North and the Brutish Life Gregg Franzwa 12 The Constitution and the Power to Wage War Michael Tigar DEPARTMENTS 4 Dialogue 14 Political Intelligence 22 Social Cause Calendar Books and the Culture: 16 Portrait of a Movement Leila Levinson 18 Contemplative Cowboy Michael King 19 Retro Melodrama And Chicano Pop Michael King Afterword: 23 The S&L’s Are Falling Charles Reinken THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3