Once again: The Arkansas Republican Party Branding is intended to be unbiased Arkansas Supreme Court Being a biased court and now boasting about it.
The latest example: ads airing during last night’s Razorback football game branded a Supreme Court candidate Chris Carnahan As a Republican, endorsed by the party and in office Justice Robin WynneE as a Liberal Democrat. (He ran for Congress as a Democrat several decades ago.)
Despite judicial ethics rules requiring judges, who Carnahan is, and judicial candidates, to avoid partisan traps, Carnahan boasted of his Republican endorsement. He attended mainly Republican conventions. He is a former director of the Republican Party.
Wynn refused to engage the issue. According to the code of ethics, he said he was going to be non-partisan.
An R after your name is enough to run for election in Arkansas. Judges can’t run with R — yet — give the Republican Party enough time and lack of shame for its candidates, and they’ll destroy the intent of the amendment to require nonpartisan judicial and prosecutorial elections. Republicans once supported the concept, but then Democrats were in power. Carnahan accepted his own path to Damascus conversion on the issue of non-partisan judicial candidates, now that he is one.
By declaring Republican ties, judicial candidates aren’t just dog-whistling, they’re shouting endorsements of the Republican agenda. You know what that means in Arkansas – abortion bans, transgender harassment, an end to damage suits, barriers to voting, anti-regulation, school vouchers, etc. Judges who boast of their ties to a dogmatic political party lack impartiality.
So who was running the ads that appeared on the SEC Network last night? It is called dark money group Freedom and justice for all. Its build and cost timeline is over in mid-September, so it doesn’t have to disclose the sources of the money yet, though you can bet it’s relying on regular sources. Koch’s political machine is a good bet David Ray, spokesman for Maumelle, A dark money advocate who once worked for Koch Machine, he formed the Liberty and Justice for All PAC for pay TV. Ray is the author of laws guaranteeing anonymity to contributors to 501c4 organizations like Dark Money, a Republican-backed group, Revitalize Little Rock. Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott. (Call state GOP official John Park and ask where that money is coming from.)
Given their druthers, coachheads prefer not to disclose any campaign spending. As Republicans have become more open about extending ideological supremacy to nominally impartial courts, the specifics are almost coincidental.
Carnahan himself powered his personal campaign with Republican PAC money. If Republican branding and money win the race for him, he will form a four-member Republican majority on the Supreme Court, joining Justices Rhonda Wood, Barbara Webb and Shawn Womack.
Open to all declared Democrats entering that chamber in the future.
And remember, partisan propaganda is protected by the 1st Amendment. Don’t go to court expecting Republican judges to take the same hard line when doctors talk to women about problem pregnancies, or dare teachers to tell students about the state’s dark history of systemic racism.