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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


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For the week of June 5 - 11, 2002


Idaho’s fixable scandal

The insulting campaign of Starr Kelso for a seat on the Idaho Supreme Court had unintended consequences: He demonstrated the risk of gadflies being elected to manage Idaho’s deadly serious business of the courts.

Even legislators slow to reform should now consider a better system that takes courts out of politics and protects them from candidates with scant little to recommend them.

Happily, Chief Justice Linda Copple Trout was re-elected by a substantial 62 percent after an 11th hour television response to brand Kelso’s campaign for what it was—a smear and a mockery.

The candidacy of Kelso, a Coeur d’Alene attorney, and the mysterious support of the so-called Idahoans for Tax Reform is under investigation. Presumably the state attorney general has the stamina to impose penalties if required.

The so-called tax reform group and its swashbuckling leader, Laird Maxwell, spent handsomely on TV ads that offered rightwing gibberish in Kelso’s behalf—Trout is "liberal," Kelso is a man of "values."

Kelso, meanwhile, played ignoramus. He knew nothing of the campaign, couldn’t explain how family photos fell into the hands of the campaign, and hadn’t even seen the commercials. He told one Boise TV station his dog chewed through the TV cable. So much for Kelso’s believability.

As for Kelso’s qualifications, he boasts a populist resume—he provided basketball nets for a school, raised money for a playground, worked as a roofer, miner and deputy sheriff, among other things.

But not much about lawyer skills.

Justice Trout’s career, however, is festooned with various judicial assignments that testify to her credentials.

Yet, the frightful reality is that the likes of a Starr Kelso could sit on the Idaho Supreme Court because of a system that trifles with the public’s right to quality in the courts.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.