A task force on judicial campaign reform is reporting this week to the Arkansas Judicial Council and the Arkansas Bar Association on its conclusion of a studyon steps to insure fair judicial campaigns. Doug Smith has written about this for the Times, including in a November cover story. Associate Justice Robert Brown has led the effort.
The recommendation is a nonprofit group to monitor judicial election ads that could deliberate and ask candidates to take down misleading advertising. The group would have only non-binding moral, rather than legal, weight. Candidates could voluntarily pledge to be ethical.
The full report follows on the jump.
The question: Could a do-good group’s report dissuade the billionaires’ media blast when they’ve decided the race was important enough, as when a coal company outright bought a Supreme Court race in West Virginia? The answer is in the history books.
We have laws against legislators lobbying for example, but some sitting ones are already hard at work on activities that resemble lobbying a great deal. See retired UCA music teacher and senator Gilbert Baker, who’s emerged as the go-to spokesman for what’s right — at least in Republican legal theory — on courts, judicial elections and “legislating from the bench.” (Legislating is good when you like the outcome — anything that sets back plaintiffs’ lawyers.) Expect to see Baker on somebody’s payroll in this effort after Jan. 1. Baker made friendly noises today about appointment of judges, a sure sign that the business community and Republicans like the looks of the future for the “right” sort of people being in charge of the appointment process.