TruthToTell, Monday, Nov. 26−9AM: ALL ABOUT THE COURTS AND JUDGES: Dispensing Justice? Or Bias?


Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, November 26, 2012



Back in February of this year and a couple of years backTruthToTell aired a couple of editions exploring the possibility of instituting an entirely new way of selecting our judges in Minnesota. Wisconsin’s circus of judicial elections, especially for the state Supreme Court over there (think shoving the face of a colleague there last year), is a very bad one in the minds of many court-watchers. That electoral system only mimics those envisioned in the outgrowth of the US Supreme Court ruling negating one of Minnesota’s cherished Judicial Canons that had, till then, prohibited as a possible conflict any overt campaign discussion of issues that could one day come before the court for which a given candidate was running. The 5-4 SCOTUS ruling opened wide the political campaigns of judges and justices, and this politicization of judicial races portended for the legal community nothing but trouble.

Legislation promoting a state constitutional amendment ordering new system of appointing judges and justices, then putting their performance before public scrutiny later – when their terms came up for renewal – has fared poorly over several sessions, despite it promotion by some of Minnesota’s most prestigious political and legal celebrities.

I erred in last Winter’s announcement and script when I stated that this new system of appointing judges called “retention elections” – was supported by Hennepin County District Judge Kevin Burke, whose credentials as a Chief Judge and an Assistant Chief Judge among the 62 judges of the Hennepin Court are significant, to say the least. Judge Burke wrote and simply stated he has never supported the proposed system.

So I wrote and called to discover that Judge Burke favors the election of judges in Minnesota. I then suggested that he come on, not just to defend the judicial electoral status quo, or some variation of it, but to discuss the plethora of reforms needed in the courts and criminal justice system.

So. From the horse’s mouth, as it were, we delve into court reforms and criminal justice disparities along with the ways judicial campaigns should be conducted if straight elections are to remain our primary selection method.

Of course, governors will continue to appoint when judges step down or retire before their terms are completed, and the field of candidates will be, as currently done, whittled to three by a nonpartisan merit selection commission, and from those top three contenders, the governor will usually – but not always – make his (or her) appointment. He or she may appoint whomever they wish as Gov. Pawlenty and others have done.





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Monday, November 19, 2012



We had an outstanding conversation on this show. Listen in below:

As this is written, the this year’s sold-out 4th Annual Overcoming Racism Conference was under way Friday and Saturday at Metropolitan State University’s East Side St. Paul campus. Titled Decolonizing Minnesota & Beyond: Historical & Current Struggles, the lineup of keynoters & workshops for the conference include several from Greater Minnesota and take on more Native perspectives in this 150th year commemorating the Dakota War of 1862.

Last year, the author of The White Racial Frame, Joe Feagin, was our guest, among others, and this conference continues exploring that frame in the ongoing problems America’s near-pathological consumption with race and its stereotyping obsessions has persisted from the earliest days of settlement. Starting with the Doctrine of Discovery as originating in the Vatican wherein a dominant white power overcomes an indigenous people, ostensibly for the purpose of manifest destiny, it is wholly justified that such white power engage in necessary genocide to plant the seeds of God’s chosen people in a new land. The Doctrine of Discovery is described in detail by California-based Native lawyer and Judge Robert Miller.

The mindset of that doctrine has essentially controlled the racism and ongoing colonialism we’ve witnessed over several centuries in Africa, Asia and the Western Hemisphere and in the enslavement and genocide of peoples everywhere, especially in the United States, as something to serve the white power structure here.

Monday morning, both keynote speakers are with us live, as well as a founding co-chair of the Facilitating Racial Equity Forum (FREC), Dr. Herb Perkins, Co-founder and Co-director, Antiracism Study-Dialogue Circles, or ASDIC Metamorphosis. FREC has sponsored these annual conferences.

Those keynoters are two of this region’s, nay, the country’s most eloquent speakers on issues of lingering colonialism and racial inequity. From the conference program:

Waziyatawin is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist committed to the development of liberation strategies that will support the recovery of Indigenous ways of being, the reclamation of Indigenous homelands, and the eradication of colonial institutions. She is the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair of the Indigenous Governance Program at University of Victoria. Waziyatawin is also author of What Does Justice Look Like?

Dr. Rose Brewer is professor of African American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota and co-author of The Color of Wealth. 

This excellent conference may be sold out, but, perhaps our show is one way to visit the conference without the ability to be there in person. At least some important highlights can be revisited with our guests, and TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI welcome these three racial justice heavyweights to the program.


  WAZIYATAWIN – Dakota writer, teacher, and activist; author of What Does Justice Look Like?

 DR. ROSE BREWER – professor of African American and African Studies,  University of Minnesota; co-author of The Color of Wealth

 DR. HERB PERKINS, Co-founder-Co-director, Antiracism Study-Dialogue Circles, or ASDIC Metamorphosis; founding Co-chair of the Facilitating Racial Equity Forum (FREC)