Mountain Mamas making a difference
In 2018, I started a political action committee, which was named by forward-thinking women who had come together to get to know each other and help each other in their quest to become West Virginia legislators. Six Mountain Mamas joined two incumbents, and 25 are on the Democratic primary ballot (although you don’t have to be a D to be a Mountain Mama).
Because of the candidates’ inability to do grassroots campaigning, going door-to-door and events to meet with voters, we started a Facebook/YouTube live stream called Mondays with Mountain Mamas. Every week at least one of the incumbents and three Mountain Mamas discuss that Monday’s topic. May 18 the topic was Saving Our Democracy about voting, election reform, and getting money out of politics.
Something about that discussion–plus the many questions I have received asking about the candidates for the Supreme Court — prompted this letter. The process of electing our judiciary in a single election held on the day of the primary is relatively new — and the fact that three of the five justices, a majority of the court — are on the ballot may be unprecedented. It is an important vote and under the current system you don’t even need to get a majority of the votes to be on the state’s highest court for 12 years.
Most people understand that, under the separation of powers, it is the judicial branch that interprets statutes, applies what is called “common law” and rules on challenges of constitutionality. In doing so, it is the citizenry’s last resort for protection against government and corporate overreach and official, corporate or individual violations of the law or abuse of power. Clearly it is in the public interest for us all to make well-informed decisions about who will be elected to these high positions. Another process change made the election non-partisan, so if your party affiliation is what often guides your vote, you don’t even have that to inform your choices.
As a West Virginia voter, I found www.wvcourtelections.org to be a useful, unbiased resource. The submissions were from the candidates themselves, although there are many restrictions about what judicial candidates can comment upon, unlike candidates for legislative or executive office. Please visit the website before casting your vote for Supreme Court justices. You can find out more about the 25 Mountain Mama candidates at mtnmamawv.org.
Debra L. Hamilton
President, Mountain Mamas PAC
Former Managing Deputy, WV Attorney General’s