Justice Baker talks money and politics on Facebook | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 12, 2016

Justice Baker talks money and politics on Facebook

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 11:09 AM

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Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Karen Baker has a public Facebook profile that only shows activity dating back to December. Her feed contains a lot of group pictures of her and other justices and political figures. Justice Courtney Goodson, currently running for chief justice, is in nearly every picture. You might remember that Baker and Justice Jo Hart, who've frequently allied with Goodson, made a trip to Fayetteville earlier this week to slyly show their support for Goodson. 

On Wednesday, Baker posted what's above, referencing the Justice at Stake report we wrote about last week

The most important comment about DARK MONEY ads from Justice at Stake,
“Everyone in Arkansas should be concerned about this national organization pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into a state judicial race to shape its high court, and they should be asking tough questions,” said Liz Seaton, Interim Executive Director of Justice at Stake... “Why are they spending, and to what end? Most importantly, what return on investment are they anticipating?”

So, implicitly, Baker's saying voters should be wary of Dan Kemp, Goodson's opponent, because dark money has been attacking Goodson and must have an agenda. That's a reasonable point, though obviously, Supreme Court justices shouldn't involve themselves in a campaign for a fellow justice.

But speaking of an agenda, consider Baker's contributors. In 2014, in her first campaign filing, a time that's important to scare away potential competitors with sizable fundraising, she reported $27,000, $20,000 of which came from nursing home magnate Michael Morton or entities he controls. In all, she raised $49,000, with another $20,000 coming from Justice Goodson's husband, John Goodson, and his associates.  

By the way, court watchers will recognize commenter Mark Henry as the Fayetteville attorney who was married to Courtney Goodson during her initial run for Supreme Court in 2010. They divorced shortly after the election. She married John Goodson in 2011. 

The longer thread, with back-and-forth between Henry and Baker and others, is worth checking out. 

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