AGE RULE DISCRIMINATORY IN CIRCUIT JUDGE RACE

March 22, 2002 12:00 am

A Jackson County man is understandably upset because his name will not appear on the May 21 ballot for circuit court judge because of his age.

Walter Walt Nunley, 82, might try to pursue legal action to get his name on the ballot.

The state elections office notified Nunley this week that since his age was older than 75, the maximum under Oregon law for service as a circuit court judge, he would not qualify to hold the position if elected.

Because of the law, the would-be candidate will have a hard time getting his name on the ballot. But in a practical sense, age should not be the determining factor on whether someone serves as a judge.

Consider the lifetime appointment of justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. A person could continue serving as a member of the highest court of the land well into his 80s or 90s. Of the nine justices on the court, two are over age 75.

Why should age be a factor in determining who should serve on an Oregon circuit court?

A candidates experience with the law, knowledge, intellect, reasoning ability, common sense and interpersonal skills are much more important factors than age.

Voters in Oregon should judge a candidates fitness for office and select the best person. Nunley should have the chance to put his name out there to see how voters respond. Oregons law requiring judges to step down at 75 is discriminatory and should be repealed.

NO ALLIES IN UTAH

A strong statement issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should make it clear to a white-supremacist group that Mormons in Utah will not not tolerate its views.

In launching its door-to-door distribution of its 32-page newspaper to homes in Utah, the World Church of the Creator said it was hoping to find allies in the state because Mormons historically have sympathized with the white-supremacist cause.

The suggestion brought a firm response from Mormon church spokesman Dale Bills, who said to infer that Utahs Mormon population is sympathetic to racism is outrageous. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints repudiates any efforts to deny a person his or her inalienable dignity and rights on the abhorrent and tragic theory of the superiority of one race over another, Bills said.

Twice a year the Illinois-based World Church selects one area where it can drop its literature. Previously the church chose Florida, Ohio, Illinois and California. The latest World Church publication condemns Jews, Latinos and blacks, saying the nonwhites are destroying our country.

The message from the LDS Church is clear. The World Churchs white-supremacist message should get no better of a hearing in Utah than it does in other parts of the country.