Corporations eye court takeover | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 2, 2012

Corporations eye court takeover

Posted By on Mon, Jan 2, 2012 at 6:59 AM

GILBERT BAKER: What made him the voice against corporate-controlled Arkanas judicial elections?
  • GILBERT BAKER: What made him the voice for corporate-controlled Arkanas judicial elections?
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Sara Wire (pay wall) wrote further this morning about Supreme Court Justice Robert Brown's idea to create some sort of apparatus to avoid "toxic" judicial elections — that is, elections taken over by excessive corporate contributions, dishonest advertising and the like.

Doug Smith wrote about Brown's effort earlier for the Times.

What interested me about the D-G article was the emergence of Sen. Gilbert Baker as the spokesman of opposition to all Justice Brown proposes. If the article said why Baker was designated as sole spokesman, I missed it.

Could it be that Baker will become the paid figurehead when he's term-limited at the end of this year for a long-rumored organization in the making to take over Arkansas courts for corporate interests, as was done so thoroughly in, for example, Texas? Makes sense. He's been a corporate stooge on anti-union efforts in the past. We'll know in due course.

This is the money (and I do mean money) quote from Baker in the D-G article about Brown's idea of establishing some sort of watchdog agency against improper influence in judicial elections:

“The people don’t like the idea, and if judges want to be thrown out on their ear they will try to eliminate the people’s involvement and eliminate free speech,” he said. “ It’s constitutionally abhorrent, and they know that.”

Can you say Citizens United? The speech and "involvement" Baker wants to protect at all cost is not that of rank and file voters. It is that of corporations with unlimited amounts of money to spend to defeat judges who rule against their pocketbooks. The notion that Arkansas is home to runaway pro-plaintiff verdicts isn't borne out by the evidence. But the corporations prefer to lose none and that's pretty well the system they've purchased in Texas. Why not Arkansas, too? Generally, our state can be bought on the cheap. It's a wonder it hasn't happened already.

Make no mistake, the corporate moneybags don't want strict legal constructionists. They want corporate constructionists. Lawyer after prominent lawyer said the Arkansas Constitution prohibited the cap on punitive damages the Arkansas General Assembly legislated a few years ago. A Lonoke circuit judge — and then the Arkansas Supreme Court — said the Constitution means exactly what it says. For such conservative jurisprudence, Gilbert Baker and his corporate enablers want to throw the bums out.

On this day in 2013 remind me to ask about Gilbert Baker's new employer.

In fairness, I probably should add that, when you talk about "toxic" judicial campaigns it's hard to forget Justice Brown's slashing personal campaign to win a seat on the court against Judge Judith Rogers in 1990. Remember his TV commercials about her office redecoration?

Tags: , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (17)

Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Judge won't back effort to stop demolition of bridge at Clarendon

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning that a deadline to work out a deal to save the abandoned U.S. 79 bridge at Clarendon had passed with no deal between preservationists and the state. It was no surprise.
    • Jul 19, 2018
  • Batesville schools prepare to arm up

    Batesville is the latest in what is likely to be a long list of school districts opting to put more guns on campus in the hands of staff members who've undergone a state training course. KARK reports.
    • Jul 19, 2018
  • More Republicans feel heat on GOP tax deadbeat

    Three weeks too late, Republican Rep. Charlie Collins has announced that his Republican colleague, Rep. Mickey Gates of Hot Springs, should resign from the House and quit the race for re-election because of six pending counts of felony failure to pay state income taxes. Gates, you remember, hasn't paid state taxes for 15 years and has deadbeat the state on withholding payments, too.
    • Jul 19, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • The LR chamber does the public's business. Is it accountable? Blue Hog on the case.

    Matt Campbell, lawyer and Blue Hog Report blogger, has sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Jay Chessir, director of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Mark Stodola related to the publicity stunt yesterday  built around withdrawing from the mayor's rash pronouncement that the city would seek an Amazon HQ2 project even though the city  didn't meet the company's criteria.
    • Oct 20, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Viewed

  • Lawsuit seeks halt of Interstate 630 widening work, sees link to 30 Crossing project

    A federal lawsuit was filed today to halt work on an expansion of Interstate 630 between Baptist Medical Center and University Avenue because the Arkansas Department of Transportation didn't perform an environmental assessment of the work. UPDATE: The state refused service of the lawsuit, an unusual happenstance that a federal judge might hear about Thursday.
  • Which Republican are you going to choose for Arkansas Supreme Court?

    Arkansas voters have a difficult choice in the race in November for Supreme Court justice — incumbent Courtney Goodson or David Sterling, who's using a state job at DHS (wouldn't you like to see his leave records) to run for the office by making the rounds of Republican gatherings. Goodson has her own Republican ties.
  • More Republicans feel heat on GOP tax deadbeat

    Three weeks too late, Republican Rep. Charlie Collins has announced that his Republican colleague, Rep. Mickey Gates of Hot Springs, should resign from the House and quit the race for re-election because of six pending counts of felony failure to pay state income taxes. Gates, you remember, hasn't paid state taxes for 15 years and has deadbeat the state on withholding payments, too.
  • The latest in Trump: The word 'traitor' gains currency

    The New York Times has finally moved from Hillary Clinton's e-mails to Russian election interference with energy it should have deployed during the presidential campaign.
  • Judge won't back effort to stop demolition of bridge at Clarendon

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning that a deadline to work out a deal to save the abandoned U.S. 79 bridge at Clarendon had passed with no deal between preservationists and the state. It was no surprise.

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation