Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Kochs and their ilk work to take over courts, too

Posted By on Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 10:02 AM

RHONDA WOOD: Nursing home money powered her Arkansas Supreme Court candidacy.
  • RHONDA WOOD: Nursing home money powered her Arkansas Supreme Court candidacy.
The New York Times reports on outside group funding — including the Kochs of course — being used to oust Tennessee judges viewed as too liberal.

This has been and is happening to varying degrees all over the country. What's the point of having corporate-friendly statutes if you run the risk of a judge finding constitutional problems with them?

The movement is creeping into Arkansas. Corporate money helped build a treasury for Republican Rhonda Wood, elected without opposition to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Outside money — still unidentified as to source — helped defeat another candidate for Supreme Court, Tim Cullen, who opposed Robin Wynne. Corporate money — particularly from nursing home magnate Michael Morton and other "tort reform" champions — flowed heavily into Mike Maggio's race for Court of Appeals (before he undid himself) and into the races of a number of circuit judge candidates in Faulkner County (nearly all the successful ones).

Gilbert Baker, the disgraced former senator who has served as bagman for legal reform causes for years, undoubtedly isn't through with his work. After a brief time out of the limelight while various investigations work their way through the system, I expect to see him in the halls of the Capitol again with a checkbook for a 501C4 organization intent on good judicial results.

It's a bad idea to elect judges. But appointment alone isn't a panacea. There's politics in that process, too. And the appointment system is often accompanied, as it is in Tennessee, by judges standing for approval periodically. This once was pro forma. But that was before the Kochs, Chamber of Commerce and others started throwing money around.

Election also leaves judges open to demagogues like Jason Rapert. Unpopular decisions — equal rights for gay people — can cause you trouble. The timid avoid the possibility of recall by ignoring the Constitution or otherwise finding ways to duck their oaths.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Natural gas pipeline ruptures east of I-30 bridge, closing two miles of Arkansas River

    The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed news that began circulating earlier today: A pipeline carrying natural gas across the Arkansas River ruptured in Little Rock yesterday or over the weekend.
    • Jun 2, 2015
  • In defense of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights

    An op-ed in today's New York Time by Katha Pollitt says what I've been struggling to say about the reaction to the attack on women's reproductive rights launched by means of the undercover videos made by anti-abortion activists.
    • Aug 5, 2015
  • Matt Campbell files ethics complaint against Dennis Milligan

    Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, whose knack for deep research brought down Mark Darr, Mike Maggio and Dexter Suggs, now has his sights trained on another worthy target. Today, he filed a 113-page ethics complaint against state Treasurer Dennis Milligan that includes 14 separate allegations.
    • Aug 20, 2015

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Lessons from Standing Rock

    A Fayetteville resident joins the 'water protectors' allied against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Child welfare too often about 'punishing parents,' DCFS consultant tells legislators

    Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
  • Donald Trump taps Tom Price for HHS Secretary; Medicaid and Medicare cuts could be next

    The selection of Tom Price as HHS secretary could signal that the Trump administration will dismantle the current healthcare safety net, both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation