Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, takes note of my article yesterday about the hyperpartisan tactics mounted by Republican candidates for the non-partisan Arkansas Supreme Court and contrasts it with his own treatment in a letter to me.

By Wendell Griffen


In the face of judicial canons that prohibit judges and judicial candidates from seeking or accepting campaign partisan endorsements, the state judicial disciplinary body turned a blind eye to Rhonda Wood’s behavior in 2014.

It turned a blind eye to David Sterling, Barbara Webb, and Shawn Womack.


Yet, I was investigated, formally charged, and spent years defending myself against bogus accusations of judicial impropriety because I publicly spoke and wrote that bigotry against Black and Latinx people, women, Muslims, LGBTQI persons, and immigrants threaten democracy.

I was charged with judicial misconduct because I opposed the nomination of John Roberts, questioned the constitutional philosophy of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, and said the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina exposed the racist and classist disease in our society.


Although you consistently reported that the allegations of judicial misconduct appeared baseless, you and other journalists expressed no concern that they could have been based on a calculated effort to prevent my pro-democracy perspectives about law and justice from reaching the state Supreme Court.

Arkansas white voters twice rejected my candidacy for the state Supreme Court (in 2004 and 2006). You did not appear to notice that the Dem-Gaz and Family Council consistently endorsed my opponents.

Now the SCOTUS and AR Supreme Court justices preferred by right-wing white Arkansans threaten the rights of women, working people, personal injury victims, voters and people of color.

Now as right-wing Republicans are openly working to take over circuit courts and the Court of Appeals journalists remain remarkably unaware of the situation and its implications for democracy and justice in Arkansas.


Rhonda Wood and Shawn Womack were circuit judges. Chris Carnahan and Gunner DeLay are circuit judges. They have never been stealth judicial candidates. Their anti-democratic and right-wing views, however, were disregarded by journalists who criticized me for holding and publicly expressing pro-democracy values and views.

I tried to warn people about the threat. My warnings were falsely treated as judicial misconduct. Sadly, you and other journalists refused to recognize the threat I recognized.

We will never know whether the threat could have been thwarted had my warnings been taken seriously and the attacks on me been considered by journalists for what they were – part of a right-wing plan to control the Arkansas judiciary.

As Malcolm X said in a quite different context, the chickens are coming home to roost. Welcome to the dystopian future I foresaw.