Free speech and the judge | Arkansas Blog

Free speech and the judge

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Andrew DeMillo's weekly political column is about the election challenge faced by Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen and whether his past newsmaking over some extrajudicial speech will be a factor.

Of course it will, though his opponent, Rita Gruber, insists SHE is not getting into any of that. She has others to do that for her, of course.

This would be a laydown race were not Wendell Griffen an outspoken black man whose public speech has covered such topics as racial and sexual identity intolerance and the war (but never in a way that compromised his work as a judge).

He's by far the most experienced for the job. His opponent has no similar experience in the work of the appellate bench. His record on the court is excellent. He's written some groundbreaking opinions, particularly in the area of workers' rights. But what he's said about race and the University of Arkansas might prove more important to some voters.

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