In response to a public call to action regarding drug testing judges in St. Clair County, our chief judge commented, "The U.S. Supreme Court prohibits drug testing as a requirement for elected office and noted drug tests are not full proof."
I think that the U.S. Supreme Court case that Chief Judge John Baricevic refers to is Chandler v. Miller, governor of Georgia et al (1997). At best, this only raises the question of whether a candidate for retention is the same as a candidate for public elected office.
What about after the election is over? This would not seem to prevent access to the ballot and there is plenty of suspicion now to warrant taking severe action to ensure that the power to destroy people's lives is being wielded by sober, competent people. Melinda Hult's proposal to conduct hair follicle testing is an idea that is way smart and overdue.
If indeed the current drug tests are not fool proof, then why continue to administer them to other county employees? Of all people, why would judges resist taking drug tests? If nothing else, they could all voluntarily waive their Fourth Amendment rights to make sure that public faith was restored.
On another note, how many pharmaceutical drugs are too many to be on the bench? What if the judge has a drinking problem? Without a doubt, we need an independent, special prosecutor to have any chance at finding out what is really going on beneath the robes.
President, Civic Alliance of East St. Louis