By MEL KESSLER

BECKLEY -- I get so tired of hearing how unfair our judicial system is here in West Virginia! I have made up my mind that you can not give businesses or the Republican Party enough reform to make them happy.

Do we want to jeopardize our constitutional rights for the sake of jobs? Do we want to sacrifice our rights and let people hurt other people in the name of more jobs? Do we not have any faith in our system of judges and juries that have worked hundreds of years?

Remember, Mountaineers Are Always Free. That doesn't mean selling our souls for jobs.

We heard the same excuses by the insurance companies when they convinced West Virginia to change the third-party laws that were going to reduce our premiums by a hundred dollars per vehicle. My insurance premiums didn't drop, how about yours?

How fair do you think the Republican Party would be if the shoe was turned on the other foot and the Democrats couldn't get liberal judges elected? Would we be pushing for a new method to elect judges by not letting the public know their ideology?

If you can't win any other way, screw with the Constitution on how we select judges and take that from the people also.

I served on the House Judiciary subcommittee C that took up letting the governor appoint judges. We listened to several opinions and concluded it was an awful idea.

I questioned if this method would parallel how we got our West Virginia University president. I also wondered how we would like someone appointing judges that would submit a friend of the court brief against a judgment for the people in the DuPont case as our current governor did?

Do we want someone to appoint unbiased judges that would ask the Legislature to let natural gas companies take royalties from landowners as our current governor did?

I pray we remain free, free to select our judges. After all, the courts are really where justice begins and ends. I also pray we are not convinced to give up our rights for jobs!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kessler, a Democrat, represented the 27th House District from Beckley.

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