Justices not above the law

Judges, including Supreme Court justices, should not be above the law they are sworn to uphold.

Yet a suspended state Supreme Court justice tried to get her colleagues to implement such an exemption last week.

Rightfully, a majority of the colleagues of suspended Justice Joan Orie Melvin quickly dismissed her hare-brained idea. Justice Max Baer abstained from the decision, The Associated Press reports.

In a filing. Melvin had argued that she could not be prosecuted through normal channels because the state Supreme Court oversees the legal profession and only the top court can regulate political activity of court employees.

Melvin is charged with using her state-paid staffers on the Superior Court to campaign for her for the Supreme Court in 2003 and 2009. Melvin lost in 2003 and won in 2009.

Also charged in the case is Melvin’s sister Janine Orie, who managed Melvin’s court staff, AP reports. A third sister, former Sen. Jane Orie, was convicted last year of using her Senate staff to assist in her campaigns and is serving 2 to 10 years in prison.

Isn’t this quite the ethical family?

Jane Orie was acquitted of telling her staff to campaign for Melvin on state time.

Melvin’s argument essentially would exempt justices from having to obey the law by making normal prosecution impossible.

That’s wrong. No one’s position should be above the law or the consequences of it.

Melvin’s argument reminds us of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and its famous quote: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Supreme Court justices aren’t more equal or better than the rest of us, and we’re glad the state’s top court seems to agree.