Shut up, he said | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Shut up, he said

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2006 at 5:06 AM

For election day, Brummett revisits one of the races for state Supreme Court and confesses an uneasy vote for Wendell Griffen over Paul Danielson, ultimately echoing our sentiment that, just because the First Amendment allows Griffen to speak robustly, doesn't mean he must.

If this were a race for some office other than judge, I'd have voted eagerly for Griffen. We need his articulate, passionate and brutal candor in the public arena.

But this was for Supreme Court justice, and the other candidate, Paul Danielson, seemed an acceptable mainstream choice.

Alas, I voted uneasily for Griffen. Then I decided to atone by writing a column sometime saying that if Wendell gets elected to the Supreme Court, which I'm pretty sure won't happen, I hope he'll shut up.

It's the same wish I have for Antonin Scalia.

It's no doubt true that judges get free speech, too. It's also true that the bench has the right, even obligation, to lay out rules of conduct in the interest of both a fair judiciary and the vital appearance thereof.

It would be nice if all judges would volunteer to play by those rules. It would be nice if all judgeship candidates would play by them, too, or run for something else.

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