Elected office holders are obliged to bend over backwards to avoid partisan favoritism, or even the appearance of partisan favoritism. Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz appears to have crossed that line by trying to enforce a convoluted definition of who is and is not a candidate in a primary election in order to tilt the level playing field in the campaign for Governor.
The fact that Markowitz chose to speak to the media about this issue numerous times before she finally put something in writing to the Pollina campaign (and then only at the campaign’s request) shows unprofessional and biased behavior. The fact that this occurred at the same moment when the candidate for Governor at the top of her own party ticket was under attack for an issue related to full disclosure of tax returns makes her actions even more suspect.
It is also unfortunate that the office of Attorney General William Sorrell concurred with the Secretary of State’s wacky logic and was willing to add their enforcement power to this partisan attack.
Thankfully Judge Sessions realized how illogical this convoluted interpretation of the rules was and took the time to think through the practical realities of political campaigns and to thoroughly question the assumptions which were underlying this unfair interpretation.
There are many places in this country where the judiciary has also become involved in partisan politics. But yesterday, in a Vermont Courtroom, justice prevailed.