Shawn Womack, the former Republican senator from Mountain Home, is running for an open seat on the Arkansas Supreme Court, and nobody ever expected him to be anything but a reliable vote on the court, as he was in the Senate, for the business lobby.
The fund-raiser next week is further evidence.
I guess the Family Council hate group and related parties can’t have their fund-raiser for Womack at a bar, but they’ll be behind him, too. He is on record favoring criminalizing homosexual acts, barring gay people from adopting children and barring same-sex marriage. To date, he’s refused to repudiate any of those past positions.
Maybe somebody in the chamber group could ask the sitting circuit judge if he’s softened on any of his discriminatory preferences.
But, of course, Womack won’t be at the fund-raising reception. See, there’s an ethical rule that judges are not supposed to raise money themselves for their races. That is to be done by committees that don’t communicate with the judges about who gives money. It might unduly influence their activities on the bench. From court rules:
Judicial candidates are prohibited from personally soliciting campaign contributions or personally accepting campaign contributions.
To reduce potential disqualification and to avoid the appearance of impropriety, judicial candidates should, as much as possible, not be aware of those who have contributed to the campaign.
Yes, the nursing home and class action lawyer lobbies poured money into the campaigns of Justices Rhonda Wood, Karen Baker, Jo Hart and Courtney Goodson. They never would have known who filled their treasuries and paid off their campaign debts had news outlets not reported it.
The Chamber of Commerce has been making a lot of noise about how terrible Arkansas is in terms of damage lawsuits. That’s a wild exaggeration. Runaway juries are almost unheard of here. But if Womack is added to an already corporate-friendly court, they won’t need any constitutional or statutory help. They’ll have a judicial lineup inclined to provide assistance at the courthouse. Womack sponsored “tort reform” legislation, such as caps on punitive damages, during his time in the Senate, in between harassing gay people.