August 13, 2004: Headlines: COS - Fiji: Politics: Election2004 - Younkin: Great Falls Tribune: Fiji RPCV Cindy Younkin in debate for Montana Supreme Court

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Fiji: Peace Corps Fiji : The Peace Corps in Fiji: August 13, 2004: Headlines: COS - Fiji: Politics: Election2004 - Younkin: Great Falls Tribune: Fiji RPCV Cindy Younkin in debate for Montana Supreme Court

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Fiji RPCV Cindy Younkin in debate for Montana Supreme Court

Fiji RPCV Cindy Younkin in debate for Montana Supreme Court

Fiji RPCV Cindy Younkin in debate for Montana Supreme Court

Younkin, Nelson debate with gloves on

Tribune Staff Writer

Spicy Beer Baron hot dogs were the only bombshells lobbed Thursday as the two contenders in the state's most heated Supreme Court race debated briefly and politely at a GOP luncheon meeting Thursday in Great Falls.

The competition between Supreme Court Justice Jim Nelson and Bozeman state Rep. Cindy Younkin is considered pivotal. Despite the nonpartisan nature of the job, a win by the conservative Republican Younkin most likely would tip the seven-member court's balance firmly to the right.

Nelson, 60, a former Glacier County attorney who's been on the high court bench more than 11 years, is backed by labor, environmentalists, trial attorneys and Democrats -- traditional liberals.

The two solidly reiterated their campaign themes Thursday in front of an audience of 20 or so at the weekly meeting of the Pachyderm Club.

It is the job of the Legislature, the branch of government closest to the minds and hearts of the people, to establish public policy through legislation, Younkin asserted.

This court has become too activist, often ruling on issues beyond the scope of the cases presented and overriding lawmaker's -- and therefore the people's -- intent, the 45-year-old attorney said.

"The court can't be so independent that it goes off on its own," Younkin said. "The court needs to wait for issues to come to it."

The court exists solely to defend the Constitution by interpreting the law, and should "leave the legislating to the Legislature," Younkin said.

There is a reason for the separation of powers, and in part, it's so the judicial branch can ensure neither the executive or legislative branches overstep their constitutional authority, Nelson countered.

"If we get to a point where our judiciary is just a rubber stamp for the Legislature, our rights are in for a rough ride, indeed," he said.

Nelson agrees, however, that the primary purpose of the Supreme Court is to uphold the state's Constitution and guard the unique rights it affords Montanans.

"That's the one promise, and the only promise, that I'll make to the voters of Montana -- that I will protect and defend our constitutional rights," he said.

But part of the court's constitutional mandate is to "fully resolve" all issues in the cases before it, Nelson said.

That at times leads to decisions that some people may think are outside the scope of a case, but in reality are part of the justices' obligation to "leave no loose ends," he said.

Schultz can be reached at, (406) 791-1474 or (800) 438-6600.

When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Great Falls Tribune

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Fiji; Politics; Election2004 - Younkin



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