by Max Brantley
A lengthy memo from former LR Municipal Judge Bill Watt is making the rounds. He shows the case he'll make for election to the environmental court judgeship vacated by David Stewart. Read it here if you have the time.
Should you plow through it, a few words of response to what he indicated about how he'll combat his notoriety:
Watt did not get in trouble (he was forced to resign his judgeship) with judicial discipline authorities, federal prosecutors and the press for free speech. He got in trouble for unethical, perhaps illegal, behavior in his private work (he was granted immunity for his Whitewater testimony about his funny business with the liar David Hale); in his political activities (he tried to pass out what looked an awful lot like payola to legislators) and for acting far outside the role of a judge in being a police officer, prosecutor and judge in some well-publicized stunts. Why Jim Badami, the former judicial discipline director, gave Watt a pass from his lifetime ban from the bench, leaving him now free to seek office again, is anybody's guess. It is particularly ironic given that Watt is now wrapping himself -- misleadingly -- in the outcome of the case Badami brought unsuccessfully against Judge Wendell Griffen's free speech to justify his past actions. Some of the things Watt has to say about court operation might have merit. That's not the point. Nor is the point free speech. As a judicial candidate, he's free to speak about these issues. But his proven lack of judicial temperament and his stained resume speak louder about the merits of his candidacy.