What do you think? Will Keller resign? Is it possible the Commission on Judicial Conduct will force her ouster? Or are impeachment proceedings remotely likely to proceed?
Stick a fork in her: She’s done. There is no way Keller can survive this. The statute governing the Commission on Judicial Conduct states:
A voluntary agreement to resign from judicial office in lieu of disciplinary action by the commission shall be public upon the commission’s acceptance of the agreement. A judge may ask the Chief Justice of the [Texas] Supreme Court for appointment of a special court of review. (There is no ordinary right of appeal.)
Keller has three choices: resign, be removed by the Commission, or be impeached. The odds against her serving out her term, which expires in 2012, are astronomical. My money is on resignation. The sooner the better.
My own view is that the answer to all three questions is probably "no," though I think Judge Keller should have resigned in disgrace a year and a half ago when all this first came down. But she clearly has plenty of chutzpah and I'd guess she'll stay on the job, similar to Illinois Governor Blagojevich, until she's dragged out kicking and screaming.
What's more, the Commission on Judicial Conduct is hardly known for ousting powerful, high court judges, though I'd be (pleasantly) surprised to see them do so now. And the GOP dominated Senate would never convict her, even in the (highly) unlikely event she was impeached in the House.
My guess is still that the best chance to actually get rid of Sharon Keller won't come till she's up for reelection in 2012. But by then, no matter what happens, she'll have a big, fat target on her forehead and could easily become the first statewide Republican candidate in more than a decade to lose their job to a Democrat at the ballot box.
MORE (Updated 2/21):
- Rick Casey at the Houston Chronicle says Keller should hope for more mercy than she has shown to defendants in the past.
- Lon Burnam said "if [Keller] had any integrity at all, in two weeks, she’d resign."
- The Houston Press said recent events affirm their decision to label Keller 2007 "Turkey of the Year."
- The Dallas Observer's Unfair Park blog notes that "incompetence" is one of the charges alleged by the Judicial Conduct Commission.
- The Fort Worth Star Telegram says, "There’s little question ... Keller acted harshly, unilaterally and inappropriately."
- The New York Times says it's unusual for the Judicial Conduct Commission to go after a judge for closing access to the courts, predicting Keller may lose her job.
- The Chicago Tribune says "refusing to keep court open could lead to [Keller's] dismissal."