Thursday, May 01, 2008

NEWS RELEASE: Jean Welch Hill Criticizes Shurtleff's "OVERLY COZY" Support for a Pro-Voucher Judicial Nominee

SALT LAKE CITY - Jean Welch Hill, the Democratic nominee for Utah Attorney General, today took issue with Attorney General Mark Shurtleff after he voiced strong support for a judicial nominee who was one of the principal advocates for last year's failed voucher effort.

"As a sitting Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff should not be fawning over a judicial nominee," Hill said. "Our judicial system depends on strict independence between the executive and judicial branches. The public's faith in the system is compromised if there is any question about that independence. Overly cozy comments about judicial nominees could raise serious concerns if the Attorney General's office ever has to appear before the judge, which would be a near certainty if the judge is confirmed by the Senate."

The judicial nominee is Clark Waddoups, who was nominated yesterday by President Bush to serve on the Utah district court. Shurtleff was quoted in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune as saying, among other comments, that Waddoups "goes above and beyond in everything he gets involved in," is "as qualified as they get," and is "a great pick."

Waddoups has a long history as a voucher proponent. He unsuccessfully represented pro-voucher forces before the Utah Supreme Court in an attempt to strike down the referendum that enabled Utahns to vote on the voucher program. The Supreme Court rejected Waddoup's arguments, and Utah voters subsequently rejected the voucher scheme in a resounding fashion.

Shurtleff has been a vocal voucher supporter as well, and has clashed with Jean Welch Hill on the subject. Ms. Hill, who is an attorney for the State Board of Education, advised the Board against implementing the controversial voucher program while the issue awaited the referendum vote. Shurtleff was intensely critical of Ms. Hill and stripped her of her status as a special assistant attorney general.

"It is alarming that Mr. Shurtleff went out of his way to comment about this particular judicial nominee, because they worked so closely together on the voucher debacle," Hill said. "It raises legitimate concerns about cronyism, and also suggests that Mr. Shurtleff hasn't learned many lessons from the voters' overwhelming rejection of vouchers last November."


Anonymous said...

Support for vouchers must be an automatic disqualification for anyone seeking public office at any level or in any branch of government.

Voucher supporters lost and now they must leave the stage of public policy.

Anonymous said...

WTF Jean?

The educrats need to get over it. Instead, you, Janet, Dave and Alan are going to waste the people's time on another lawsuit.

Rob said...

If anyone has wasted the people's time it is our Republican lawmakers who don't understand the Utah State Constitution.

Thanks for dropping by Mark.

Cameron said...

"Support for vouchers must be an automatic disqualification for anyone seeking public office..."

So we've got a "voucher test" for office now, do we?

Odd that Democrats in Utah advocate shunning those that lose elections.

UtahTeacher said...


C'mon. That's just some crank trying to get people wound up. Vouchers is huge in how I will vote, but it is one of many factors. Most of the pro-voucher legislators have given me numerous examples of their dedication to ideological, non-representative government (lack of ethics reform, omnibus, restricting the public's rights of redress in SB 53 and 54, etc.) that should make honest people upset.

Cameron said...

That crank shows up in an awful lot of places, and he isn't always anonymous. Nor is it always the same person.

So yes, I think that - at least in the blogosphere, and likely in "real life" as well - there is a "voucher test" for public office.

Which is really ironic considering all the hand wringing over possible legislative "payback" during last session.