Experience, not politics, better choice in Conshy/Plymouth District Judge Race

Judge Frank Bernhardt worthy of voter support in Magisterial District 38-1-13

Ask anyone on the streets and they will tell you that politics has become more polarized and more partisan than ever before. Far too often political party and ideology is looked at before a candidate’s ideas, platform or experience.  One area of elections, until this year, that has bucked this trend is elections for Judges – from the local, Magisterial District Judge level all the way up to state Supreme Court. This has been by design, as our courts are supposed to be free from politics and political influence; remember: “justice is blind” is the basis of our court system. Unfortunately, things seem to be changing this year.

Voters in Plymouth Township and parts of Conshohocken will go to the polls or return their mail-in ballots and make a choice between sitting Judge Frank Bernhardt and challenger Jodi Lukens Griffis for the seat of Magisterial District Judge.  Unlike past years, one of the candidates seems to be relying on their resume while the other is focusing on partisanship.

Bernhardt has run his campaign based on three basic messages: his proven experience; his long-time, illustrated commitment to community; and his support from a bipartisan coalition of residents, leaders and organizations.  He has eschewed a political party label and completed the League of Women Voters’ important vote411 survey. 

Bernhardt’s campaign cites 20 years of experience on the bench in one of Montgomery County’s busiest District Courts presiding over tens of thousands of hearings and handling hundreds of thousands of docket cases as proof of his abilities as Judge.  Bernhardt is also an accomplished attorney who is admitted to practice in the U.S. Federal Court Eastern District and U.S. Supreme Court.

Bernhardt also focuses on his work in helping create a diversionary program that helps first-time non-violent juvenile offenders get back on the right path; his efforts at coming down from the bench to work in schools and with countless civic groups; and,his efforts as a Plymouth Fire Company No. 1 Life Member and former youth sports coach to illustrate his that his to our local community goes far beyond his job as District Judge.

Bernhardt’s experience has earned him the support of local attorneys and residents of all political leanings, including well-known children’s advocate attorney Lisa Kane Brown who says, “My job is to fight for the well-being of children. He has always taken great care to ensure that children who have to come to his courtroom feel safe, and helped develop programs that give kids who make a mistake the chance at a better life.”

Kane further explained her support saying, “Judge Bernhardt is also the most qualified candidate… and qualifications are the only things we should care about in a Judge. Not the person’s political party, sex or personal beliefs…because none of that belongs in the courtroom.”  

Bernhardt’s experience and record have also earned him the official endorsement of our community’s local police (Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 37) and local trade unions, including IBEW 98, Steamfitters 420, and IUPAT District 21.

Griffis, on the other hand, has chosen to run a campaign more befitting a typical political effort than someone seeking to become a Judge. She has strongly aligned herself with a single political party, accepted campaign funding from local political boss Jason Salus (the man behind the failed Colonial School District team that residents recently ran out of office), and has refused to complete the League of Women Voters’ survey. Griffis’ campaign should give pause to any resident – of any political stripe – about her ability to separate political party from blind and fair justice.

With Election Day fast approaching, voters can strike a blow against the extreme partisanship by voting experience, not politics, in an office that should always be determined on that basis: District Judge. If they do, Judge Frank Bernhardt is worthy of voter support in Magisterial District 38-1-13.

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Frank Bernhardt