Thursday, March 31, 2016

Arkansas Supreme Court gets political

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 7:31 PM

KAREN BAKER: Who voted her God?
  • KAREN BAKER: Who voted her God?

A post 5 p.m. news release from the Arkansas Supreme Court today:

Today, the Arkansas Supreme Court formed the Arkansas Supreme Court’s Committee on Judicial Election Reform. The Committee will evaluate issues that have arisen in the most recent judicial elections that warrant further discussion and study with the goal of promoting public confidence in the independence, integrity, and the impartiality of the judiciary. The Committee on Judicial Election Reform may be contacted as follows: Committee on Judicial Election Reform; Attention: Justice Karen R. Baker, (Chair); c/o Stacey Pectol, Clerk, Supreme Court of Arkansas, 625 Marshall Street, Little Rock, AR 72201. Committee Members: Justices Karen R. Baker, Courtney Hudson Goodson, Josephine L. Hart, Rhonda K. Wood, and Robin F. Wynne.
Lots to infer from this. Lacking is Chief Justice Howard Brill. Lacking, too, is Justice Paul Danielson. He did issue this telling news release:

A press release was issued by the Court today concerning its committee on judicial election reform. Justice Paul Danielson has no comment on the subject.
Brill's term expires this year. Danielson is retiring. This is more evidence of the rule of four. Though Supreme Court business in years past, administratively at least, once was considered the province of the chief justice, recent events have changed that. And it has altered practice in everything form hiring of court personnel to the embarrassing handling of the same-sex marriage case.

Justice Karen Baker
testified yesterday, for example, against appointment of judges and in favor of continued elections paid for by lawyers through a fee. (They essentially pay for elections now anyway.) Her idea is going nowhere.

This is just more stinky business from a court that has stunk for years thanks to the quorum formed by Baker, Goodson, Hart and Wood, with Wynne going along for self-preservation.

Why do they need to form a committee? Who named Karen Baker God? The law and Constitution are the law and Constitution. Are THEY suggesting a change is needed? If so, what? Who elected Karen Baker chair? Does anyone know Karen Baker is a chief exponent of sealing domestic cases in Faulkner County and that Rhonda Wood has continued that practice? (Just try to find divorce cases of their pals like Mike Maggio in the public record.) This kind of leadership we don't need.

The good news is that the Arkansas Supreme Court is short of political clout, particularly after Courtney Goodson's trashing at the ballot box in the race for chief justice. The bad news is that there's every indication this bunch will get even with people they don't like.

Arkansas Justice?  Did Dan Kemp really know what he was getting in for when he ran to beat Goodson?

I'm guessing this committee will deplore dark money, which helped beat Courtney Goodson. Though her own checkered personal record was far more damaging.

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