"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

SRBA judge number five

The press announcement from Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter about his new appointment to the state Court of Appeals somehow managed to leave out the most significant aspect of it: The new appointee, 5th District Judge John Melanson, is also presiding judge of the Snake River Basin Adjudication.

That’s not a disqualifier, of course; and on the merits, Melanson is a solid choice. His work on the adjudication has been even-handed and steady.

Which leads to, more or less, the matter of: The next judge will be the fifth to preside over the SRBA. So far, Idaho has experienced something of a miracle that the adjudication has progressed as smoothly and as (yes) quickly as it has. Will this continue until judge number five?

That person, presumably, will be chosen by the Idaho Supreme Court. Thus far, all presiding judges have come from the ranks of 5th district judges. In this case, one of them (Barry Wood), who happens to have been a former SRBA judge, is effectively disqualified for the same reason he was removed from the case: His brother in law, Daniel Eismann, is on the Supreme Court.

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