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Idaho Statesman - "My Ballot: Idaho Supreme Court"


Location: Boise, ID

John Bradbury

Biographical Information
Web Site:
Age: 71
Family: Single
City/Town: Grangeville
Birthplace: Orofino
Education/Degrees: BA University of Idaho, JD University of Michigan
Experience: Worked in the woods every summer until I finished college, Served with the Eighth Army in Korea, 37years private practice in Anchorage, Seattle and Lewiston, 5 years as a district judge in Clearwater, Idaho and Lewis Counties, Adjunct instructor in international business and money and banking at Lewis-Clark State College for 9 years
Community Involvement: I operate a drug court in Idaho and Clearwater Counties and I established the first rural mental health court in the same counties which takes between 5 and 6 hours a week. I have spoken about the judiciary at the local Kiwana, Lions and Rotary clubs and I have been doing oral histories on the early logging days in Clearwater County with the Clearwater County Historical Museum and the J Howard Bradbury Memorial Logging Museum at Pierce
Last book you read: "A Biography of the First Amendment" by Anthony Lewis


Joel Horton

Age: 48
Family: Wife: Hon. Carolyn M. Minder
City/Town: Boise
Birthplace: Nampa
Education/Degrees: J.D. (cum laude), University of Idaho College of Law (1985). B.A. (Political Science), University of Washington (1982).
Experience: 2007 - present: Justice, Idaho Supreme Court, 1996 - 2007: District Judge, Fourth Judicial District, 1994 - 1996: Ada County Magistrate, 1992 - 1994: Deputy Ada County Prosecuting Attorney, 1991 - 1992: Deputy Attorney General, 1988 - 1991: Deputy Ada County Prosecuting Attorney, 1986 - 1988: Deputy Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney, 1985 - 1986: Private practice, Lewiston
Community Involvement: Rotary Club of Boise Sunrise, 1994 - present (Past president: 2003 - 2004), Coach, Hope House sports: 1999 - present
Last book you read: The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin
Why are you running?

John Bradbury: The average Idahoan can't afford the legal system. A national poll found that only 7 percent of those polled trust the court system. Except for two days a month at Orofino and one day every other month at Nezperce, everyone had to go to Grangeville during the 5 years before my election and my predecessor had 15 trials. I am at Orofino 2 days and at Grangeville and Nezperce 1 day each week. I have had 53 trials in 5 years. I want Idahoans to know that a court system they can afford and trust is possible.

Joel Horton: I am standing for election to continue to serve the people of this State as a justice of the Idaho Supreme Court. Apart from one year of private practice immediately after graduation, my entire professional career has been dedicated to public service. I have served as deputy prosecutor, deputy attorney general, magistrate, district judge and, most recently, justice of the Supreme Court. It has been an honor and privilege to serve in these positions and I look forward to continuing to serve for many years.
What particular experience, skills and talents do you have that qualify you for the Idaho Supreme Court?

John Bradbury: Three years in the Army taught me every person of every race and creed has talent and worth as a human being. Extensive trial experience taught me that lawsuits are emotionally traumatic and beyond the means of the average person. I have never lost sight of who the courts are there to serve. I insist that cases be resolved promptly, that people be treated civilly, that the facts be fairly stated and the law be honestly applied. I have not been afraid to make unpopular decisions when the law required it.

Joel Horton: I am presently a justice of the Supreme Court. Twelve respected lawyers and judges applied for the position. The Idaho Judicial Council - a non-partisan body composed of citizens, lawyers and judges - conducted a rigorous examination of their character and qualifications and forwarded four names, including mine, to the governor. When he appointed me, Gov. Otter explained that his choice was based upon my "insightful legal scholarship, keen intelligence, integrity and independence."
How would you describe your judicial philosophy?

John Bradbury: Precedent should be honored. People should be able to rely on what the law is before they make decisions. It is grossly unfair to have to guess what some judge in the future will say it is after the decisions have been made. I also believe the judiciary protects the liberty of people form the power of the government and the safety of the public from the power of criminals. Our freedom, our property and our safety will be protected only to the extent that our court system is fair, predictable, affordable and accountable.

Joel Horton: My role as a judge is to be a fair arbiter of the cases that come before me. My first obligation is to uphold the Idaho Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. When I interpret or apply constitutional provisions, I decide their meaning without injecting my personal view of what constitutes good public policy. I recognize that decisions of public policy should be reserved to the legislative and executive branches. In short, I am a judicial conservative; not a judicial activist.
How would you improve justice in Idaho?

John Bradbury: Establish night courts so working people don't have to choose between a day's pay and their day in court, Install televideos so witnesses can testify in court from where they live without the expense of transporting them to the trials, Phase in electronic filings and records so the public can access them by computer, Abolish the secrecy of judicial disciplinary proceedings so the public's business will be public, Abolish the appointments of judges to unexpired terms as a means to avoid elections.

Joel Horton: Improving justice in this state is an ongoing process. Since joining the Supreme Court, I have worked with my colleagues to institute reforms that will reduce the time it takes to decide appeals. Many people in this state are unable to afford attorneys in important cases involving children and families. As a result of my interest in their needs, I headed the Committee to Increase Access to the Courts for many years. As a result of our efforts, there are court assistance offices in every county of this state.
How would you grade the Idaho Supreme Court's performance over the past three to five years, and why?

John Bradbury: Average. Many cases deserve more analytical rigor than they get. During the past year the court has put its work ethic in doubt by assigning itself, with 5 justices, 150 appeals and assigning to the 3-judge court of appeals 500 cases. The court has been tone deaf to the prohibitive costs of the courts and to the needs of the rural counties. For example, I successfully fought for the first rural mental health court in Idaho without any help from the court despite huge savings to the state and the treatment of desperately ill people

Joel Horton: The Supreme Court has demonstrated a genuine interest and commitment to identifying and solving problems in the administration of justice. The Supreme Court deserves high marks for its recent efforts to address enormous problems that we face in our society. The Court has supported the creation of specialized courts to address problems of substance abuse, mental health and domestic violence.
What judicial decision in Idaho in the past three to five years do you most disagree with, and why?

John Bradbury: The school facilities funding lawsuit has lasted an incredible 17 years. After deciding that the state had the duty to fund repairs of school facilities it refused to let the trial judge award a remedy. Rather than explain its rationale openly in a published opinion the court had its clerk summon the lawyers to the court's basement and tell them privately and without explanation that the case was over. The federal judge now reviewing the case said the court had a problem with transparency I agree.
Joel Horton: I most strongly disagree with a decision of the Idaho Supreme Court that was issued last year. Unfortunately, I cannot identify the case or explain the reasons for my disagreement because there is a case presenting similar issues pending before the Supreme Court. The rules governing judicial conduct expressly prohibit me from discussing issues that will come before me.
What living American judge, justice or lawyer do you most respect, and why?

John Bradbury: Sandra Day O'Connor had the courage to take on the established order and challenge the tired stereotypes of her day. She repected precedent and carefully crafted her opinions. As the first woman on the Supreme Court she was sensitive to the need for equal treatment for all Americans. She did not impose an ideological litmus test on the cased she considered. And she remained true to the best traditions of American jurisprudence which she often tempered with a welcome dose of common sense.

Joel Horton: To answer this question literally: My father, Paul Horton. He is scrupulously honest and his family has always been the most important thing in his life. To answer the question that I think was intended, it is a tie between two lawyers in Ada County: Roger Bourne of the Ada County Prosecutors Office and Amil Myshin of the Ada County Public Defenders Office. Both are extraordinary trial lawyers. Rather than pursuing personal wealth, each has committed his life to a career in public service.
What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponent in this primary election?

John Bradbury: Appointed judges never meet the 90 percent of the people who don't trust or use the court system. Elections require judges to meet the people they serve, hear their complaints and work to improve the system. The court system will never value service to the public over institutional comfort until it has to answer to that public. If you think your judges should answer to you, I ask for your vote. If you want politicians to pick your judges for you, you should vote for my opponent

Joel Horton: My experience, ability and demonstrated commitment to serving the people of this state. I have been a deputy prosecutor, deputy attorney general or judge for virtually my entire career. I have been a judge since 1994, serving as a magistrate, a district judge and a justice of the Idaho Supreme Court. Each time that I have taken a new judicial office, it has been on the basis of merit, rather than my skill as a politician.

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