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Let's say you're a governor and ...

October 18, 2007 |  9:00 am

Let's say you're a governor and you've got to name a new state Supreme Court justice to fill a vacancy. And the Judicial Nominating Commission picks the top two of 15 applicants. Oh, and let's say just to make it interesting that as governor, you're also running for president as a Democrat.

And the top two nominees have both donated the maximum $2,300 to your presidential campaign, although one did it two weeks before the other last winter. Now, the one who donated first -- let's call him Michael Vigil -- you named to the bench four years ago, despite some drunken driving convictions back in the 1980s. His long record of political contributions tends toward the Republican side -- Sen. Pete Domenici, Rep. Heather Wilson and George W. Bush.

The other candidate -- call him Charles W. Daniels -- has been a senior partner at the Freedman, Boyd, Daniels, Hollander, Goldberg and Ives law firm in Albuquerque for more than three decades and, as it happens, members of that law firm have donated $6,100 to your presidential campaign.

Daniels graduated first in his class at the University of New Mexico School of Law, and his wife, Randi McGinn, also happened to donate $2,300 to your presidential campaign, although she also gave $2,300 to someone named John Edwards.

And this Daniels fellow and his law firm friends have a long record of donating to Democrats like John Kerry and Tom Daschle and Tom Udall. Also, with his neatly trimmed white beard, he looks like a judge.

Now, if you had to make a choice, which nominee would you pick?

"I chose Charles Daniels for the Supreme Court given his keen intellect, outstanding reputation and unwavering commitment to uphold the rule of law," you might say if you selected him. Coincidentally, those are exactly the words used by Gov. Bill Richardson in announcing his pick Wednesday.

Funny how things happen.

-- Andrew Malcolm (with appreciation to colleague Dan Morain)

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