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Recent Comments

Re: “Former state senator Jim Argue of Little Rock dies

A solid soul and good example of what a faithful and compassionate public servant should be.

25 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Thinking on 05/03/2018 at 6:30 PM

Re: “James H. Cone dies at 81

Dr. James Cone cut, blazed, paved, and illuminated a radical and redeeming body of knowledge about the religion of Jesus based on his disciplined study and devotion to Jesus as a black theologian. Thanks to him, theologians now cannot dismiss black liberation theology. Instead, black liberation theology challenges dominationist, imperialist, capitalist, racist, sexist, and white nationalist perspectives on the religion of Jesus. We who have studied and been blessed to know Dr. Cone will forever be grateful for his influence, unflinching commitment to continued study, and his unapologetic blackness! A prophet was among us. We have been put on notice.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Thinking on 04/28/2018 at 10:30 PM

Re: “Judge Wendell Griffen again participates in death penalty vigil outside governor's mansion

It isn't improper for a judge to be out-spoken. It isn't improper for a judge to be out-spoken about controversial issues. The U.S. Supreme Court settled that question in 2002. Check out Republican Party of Minnesota v. White. Antonin Scalia wrote the leading opinion. You can find it on Findlaw. Here's what he wrote that seems to cover our conversation.

"A judge's lack of predisposition regarding the relevant legal issues in a case has never been thought a necessary component of equal justice, and with good reason. For one thing, it is virtually impossible to find a judge who does not have preconceptions about the law. As then-Justice Rehnquist observed of our own Court: "Since most Justices come to this bench no earlier than their middle years, it would be unusual if they had not by that time formulated at least some tentative notions that would influence them in their interpretation of the sweeping clauses of the Constitution and their interaction with one another. It would be not merely unusual, but extraordinary, if they had not at least given opinions as to constitutional issues in their previous legal careers." Laird v. Tatum, 409 U. S. 824, 835 (1972) (memorandum opinion). Indeed, even if it were possible to select judges who did not have preconceived views on legal issues, it would hardly be desirable to do so. "Proof that a Justice's mind at the time he joined the Court was a complete tabula rasa in the area of constitutional adjudication would be evidence of lack of qualification, not lack of bias."

Bottom line: If a judge isn't speaking about pending litigation, the First Amendment allows him or her to speak like anyone else. The restriction that judges must observe is that judges can't speak about existing lawsuits or the parties to those lawsuits the way that others can.

Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Thurgood Marshall, William O. Douglas, and Louis Brandeis were out-spoken U.S. Supreme Court justices. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is out-spoken. Other judges have been out-spoken about gay marriage, abortion, gun rights, and any number of other subjects.

Judges write law review articles, appear on panels, appear on conference programs, and deliver speeches about stuff all the time about stuff that most folks don't get excited about. That doesn't mean they talk about unimportant stuff, only that we aren't that interested in the stuff they are talking about.

Griffen can talk about anything he wants, including controversial issues, as long as he isn't talking about a specific case he's handling. Unless I've missed something, it doesn't appear that he's said anything off the bench about any case he's handling.

So the problem isn't that Griffen is out-spoken. The problem is that his critics can't overcome what he's talking about. The fact that he's persuasive and black and persistent sets some folks off because they can't tolerate an "uppity" black fellow.

Griffen is "uppity." And we can't have these "uppity" black folks being judges talking about things that make us face questions we should have been thinking about all along. That might force us to admit they know stuff we don't know. Can't have that, now, can we?

Posted by Thinking on 04/19/2018 at 8:18 PM

Re: “Griffen urges marijuana commission to return to evaluating cultivation licenses

Judge Griffen's order didn't deny motions to intervene. It denied motions to dissolve or vacate the March 21 preliminary injunction. Those motions were brought by four of the top five cultivation facility license applicants that had already intervened in the lawsuit.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Thinking on 04/12/2018 at 4:11 AM

Re: “Lawyers challenge role of prison director in determining competency of Jack Greene

The Supreme Court decided that manufacturers of lethal injection drugs are not shielded from disclosure, and must be disclosed by the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. In the same decision, the justices ordered that the lot, batch, and control number information on product labels for the lethal injection drugs be redacted because the justices swallowed the ADC lie that lot, batch, and control number information will identify sellers and suppliers of lethal injection drugs.

Had the justices done some college level research, they would have learned that lot, batch, and control information are used in the food and drug industry and by government regulators for quality control purposes. Check out the Code of Federal Regulations titled "Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Processing, Packing, or Holding of Drugs" at 21 C.F.R. Section 210.3(b).

The Freedom of Information Act doesn't shield manufacturers. The Supreme Court opinion admits it. But the Supreme Court refused to follow the law and order the package label information that manufacturers must provide (lot, batch, and control numbers for drug products) to be disclosed to Steven Shults.

This is how fascism works. It is up to the public to resist it. The Arkansas Supreme Court has chosen to side with the fascists.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Thinking on 11/03/2017 at 5:51 AM

Re: “Griffen files federal civil rights lawsuit over Good Friday vigil punishment

Judges and jurors aren't disqualified because they hold personal convictions unless it is clear they are unable or unwilling to apply the law evenly despite those convictions. Has Griffen refused to follow the law in death penalty cases? If not, it is wrong to use his religious convictions about the death penalty as reason to disqualify him. That is religious prejudice and bigotry against him.

If the First Amendment doesn't protect people from this, only people whose religious and other personal convictions are popular could be judges and jurors.

This is an interesting case. Griffen may not be popular, but he's no lightweight when it comes to the law, and his legal team appears locked and loaded for a hard fight. I wouldn't bet against them.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Thinking on 10/07/2017 at 4:30 AM

Re: “Griffen files federal civil rights lawsuit over Good Friday vigil punishment

Hey folks, the First Amendment covers judges. Read it sometime. Disagree with Griffen if you will. Vote against him even. But he has the freedom to stand up or lay down because we're a free society.

Why can't a judge pray? Why does the Supreme Court get to decide how he prays or if he can pray? If he follows the law, leave him alone.

9 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Thinking on 10/06/2017 at 6:49 AM

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