Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson distributed a letter today thanking those who supported her in her losing race for chief justice against Dan Kemp, who benefited from huge spending on TV by a group whose financial supporters weren’t known. Excerpt:
My work isn’t done. One thing this election made clear is that we have plenty of work to do to improve transparency within our judicial system. Judge Kemp said during the campaign that he was concerned about the overwhelming impact of dark money on judicial campaigns, and I take him at his word. I look forward to working with him, Governor Hutchinson, and others committed to ridding our judicial system of the corrosive influence of dark money.
It’s been my honor to serve you on the Supreme Court for the past five years, and I will continue fighting every day for the people of Arkansas. As you’ve heard me say before, I truly believe in the goodness of the law. Our court system has the ability to liberate good people from bad situations and grant new beginnings. Arkansans deserve a court that is accountable to the people and ensures that justice is the same for every person.
As long as I am a Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court, I’ll never forget that I work for YOU.
She did not echo the governor’s openness to another idea about judicial selection — a change to judicial appointment from elections. The unaccountable dark money spending is deplorable. But it’s worth noting that, in the case of ads intended to damage Goodson, many were based on publicly disclosed information about her financial support from a particular segment of the bar that happens to include her husband, John, who’s made a fortune in class action cases. And, as noted earlier today, publicly disclosed special interest money from nursing homes, class action and corporate defense counsel and Republican Party sources present an ill appearance on the record of every member of the Arkansas Supreme Court who’ll take seats in January 2017.