Judicial races are different because they are non-partisan and candidates aren't allowed to talk about issues. Both candidates have solid experience which they tout on their websites.
Some information can be gleaned from examining endorsements. Murphy lists the endorsements of several moderate Republicans on his website. Julie Phillips has the endorsement of conservative Republican Mary Balkema. Right to Life found that Phillips and Murphy meet their criteria.
You can also get a sense of the candidates from who the local trial lawyers are supporting. A number of area trial lawyers have signs for Murphy in front of their offices. These same trial lawyers have consistently supported the most liberal judicial candidates, including democrat-nominated candidates for Michigan Supreme Court. Trial lawyers usually support the candidates who will award them the largest judgements.
One troubling aspect of Murphy's campaign is his placement of several large signs in the city of Kalamazoo contrary to city ordinance.
A question about whether his 4-feet-by-8-feet signs are allowed under a Kalamazoo city ordinance is being researched, Murphy said. The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled municipalities may limit sign size, but it must be enforced across the board. Murphy contends there are many signs, as large or larger, in town that have not been challenged.Murphy's attitude toward the signage law is troubling for someone running for a job to enforce the law. While the law might ultimately be unconstitutional, it has not been ruled so, and it is unwise for him to substitute his opinions for the law as it stands.
None of this is to say that Murphy would be a bad judge, but there are several red flags about his candidacy. Based on endorsements and experience, the best candidate is Julie Phillips. Conservatives should support her election.
See Julie's website: http://www.phillipsfordistrictcourt.com/
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