We've received copies of the pleadings Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen has filed in advance of a probable cause hearing Nov. 17 by the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. He's being investigated for allegedly violating standards of conduct for judges by making critical comments about the appointment of John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Bush administration.s handling of Hurricane Katrina relief and for comments in support of an increase in the minimum wage.
Griffen has asked for a summary judgment dismissing the allegations. He argues that, under establish federal case law, it is unconstitutional for the state to punish him for exercising his right to free speech. In support, Griffen includes an opinion from Rick Peltz, an associate professor of law at UALR. He analyzes the allegations and the law and concludes that Griffen's comments did not violate ethical canons and that punishment for his comments would violate the constitutional doctrine established in the case Republican Party of Minnesota v. White. To date, the judicial commission has tended to consider its rules superior to those of the U.S. Supreme Court.