St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic said the protest last week calling for his resignation and drug testing for all judges was politically motivated.
He's probably right. Most things involving this county courthouse are politically motivated.
Circuit judges and county officeholders have to run for election in political races. Associate judges and most county employees are selected for their jobs by political friends or family members.
Joe Christ and Mike Cook's selection as judges were politically motivated. Christ died of a cocaine overdose just days after taking office. Cook, who was with Christ when he died, is facing drug charges and is in rehab. He has resigned his office.
We don't think that Baricevic needs to resign, but the protesters have a point about drug testing for judges. As Baricevic points out, no one realized that Christ and Cook were using drugs, so how do we know that other judges are not doing the same? Testing would help reassure the public that the judges making critical decisions about others' lives, including sending people to jail for drugs, are themselves drug-free.
Baricevic said the U.S. Supreme Court prohibits drug testing as a requirement of elected office. He misses the point. Baricevic could voluntarily take a drug test, make the results public and ask the other judges to do the same.
If they're not using drugs, why not take the test? Because they don't have to?