Alright – so, if you have a child with autism, you have probably been in front of a judge. It may have been something with school and went to an administrative judge. Maybe it was about the county and had to go to a DHS judge. Or maybe your kid was discriminated against and went to a district or a federal court judge as I have done.
For me, I have been in front of almost every kind of a judge. I am yet to see a judge that looks like me. Why? how does one become a judge? Is it a job they apply for? no. Is it a job they are appointed to? yes. By whom? the state governor for state courts. Is it a job you campaign for? Yes. In Minnesota, a judge runs for an election after his/her term is done if they have been appointed by the governor. Federal bench judges are appointed by the president.
There are 87 county attorneys in Minnesota. One is a minority; the one in Ramsey county. Think about that. No minority even runs for these positions. Why? because we are sleeping and are only good at useless marches. Oh please, stop being so sensitive. Remember, Henn County district attorney – Freeman? how many times did black people protest and demonstrate against some wrong decision he made. Imagine, if one black or brown attorney challenged him in an election. No one ever did. He retired last year and there is now a white woman district attorney. A black lawyer also ran for this, but she lost.
The point is instead of our usual – we shall march and always be at the mercy of someone else’s decision and thumb, why can’t we simply run to be judges. I think every black and brown attorney should run to be a state court judge. Then there is the Minn Supreme court and the appeals court. As you can see there is one black judge in the MN supreme court who was appointed by Gov Dayton. She ran when her first term was up and won. No one challenged her. The other is a black man on the MN Court of Appeals; he was appointed by previous Republican Governor Pawlenty. It is worth mentioning pretty boy Thiesen who was the previous speaker of the MN House of Reps and voted against what is now known as EIDBI is now a judge in the state’s supreme court. This is the law that requires Medicaid to cover autism therapy for low-income autism families. He was appointed by Gov Dayton and sadly won the election after his term was up. No one ran against him. You see this is how disparity stays alive in the justice system. They just shuffle their cousins around to ensure we are always at the bottom of the pit.
So, how does one become a judge there? Usually, the governor appoints them; then after serving a few years, they run in an election year. They are usually listed on the second page of the ballot. In the last election (2022) in my precinct, there were 36 judges up for reelection. Guess how many had competition. One – Charles Weber. Every other judge ran unopposed. Imagine that?
They decide so many things that we depend on and we are never at the table; usually on the table like chopped meat. So frustrating why can’t we make the connection of bargaining with our votes. For example, telling the current One Minnesota Hoax governor if we vote for him and he wins, he will appoint 2 or 3 black/brown judges if/when the opening arises including a Somali. There has never been a Somali judge anywhere in Minnesota. Ugh. soooo frustrating and depressing. Where are all of the Somali state legislators? Sleeping and kissing ass.
I will write more about judges and how Walz, Dayton, and the last few presidents faired in appointing judges of color to the benches. The data/facts of this will surprise you. I will also write my experiences with both federal judges and state judges. By the way, DHS judges are DHS employees; they are not appointed nor run for elections. DHS hears and decides on thousands of cases for Minnesota’s most vulnerable population. I don’t know the racial makeup of this yet and will share once I get that data.
The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate