I would like to thank Robert Haslag for his response to my letter. First, I was not in attack mode, I was simply expressing my opinion (First Amendment.) Second, I was not insinuating, but openly opining. I am expressing my opinion as Mr. Haslag is expressing his.
I should clarify that I do not think it matters whether a judge has been elected through a partisan election or appointed by a partisan office holder. Partisanship is always involved in picking judges. However, in my opinion, it is not helpful for judges to openly display partisanship during their time of service.
For example, U.S. Supreme Court justices are appointed by partisan presidents, presumably so that their interpretation of the law will assist the president in advancing his agenda. Of course, it goes both ways. Republican presidents will appoint more conservative justices, and vice-versa.
However, the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court avoid all appearance of partisanship after they are appointed. For example, when they attend the State of the Union address given by the president, they do not stand, clap, or otherwise show preference to the ideas advanced in the speech, regardless of which party the president is affiliated with. I personally think that is a good thing, as I would like our nation's judges not only to be impartial, but to show us by their public actions, or lack thereof, that they are impartial. I believe this is important at all levels of the judiciary, including local courts.
As for Haslag's invitation to the award dinner, thank you very much. However, I would not attend such an event given by either party for any judge, as I philosophically disagree with the practice. I do, however, respect his right to disagree!