SQUAD: Justices Courtney Goodson, Karen Baker and Jo Hart.
A tipster sends along a note today after attending last night's Inns of the Court
meeting in Fayetteville. Inns of the Court is a national organization with local chapters of judges, lawyers, law professors and law students who meet to discuss legal ethics and such.
The Inns invited Associate Justice Courtney Goodson
and her opponent for chief justice, Circuit Judge Dan Kemp
, and associate justice candidate Circuit Judge Shawn Womack
Says our tipster:
The most disturbing thing from last night is that Justices Baker and Hart were in attendance. Goodson made a big to-do about introducing them at the beginning of her speech and thanking them for driving from Clinton and Mountain Home to be in attendance. They were not specifically invited to be there by the Inn. A slick way of implying that they endorse her candidacy.
This, as regular Arkansas Blog readers know, is not the first time the three justices have appeared to be allied
PS FROM MAX: An additional note on the highly unusual NRA endorsement
claimed by Goodson in the race, a happenstance I can't recall in past Arkansas judicial. Here's what the NRA website says about endorsements by its political arm in judicial races:
Endorsements are not given in every race. Our endorsement is not given lightly; it is something that is reserved for those candidates who meet certain criteria and something that must be earned.
Sometimes we receive inquiries concerning judicial races. NRA-PVF generally does not issue endorsements in judicial elections. In the rare circumstances where NRA-PVF makes endorsements in state judicial races, there are many complexities that must be taken into account, including the following:
• Judges, unlike legislators, often do not have voting records. Therefore, in evaluating judicial candidates, NRA-PVF can only make evaluations based upon past legal opinions and public statements involving firearm-related issues;
• Individual states implement different codes of judicial conduct, and have often passed statutes limiting judicial candidates from announcing their views on issues or controversies that may come before the court, and;
• These codes or statutes may prevent judicial candidates from filling out NRA-PVF candidate questionnaires. Even if a candidate could fill out a questionnaire, and then got elected to the bench, the questionnaire answers might later force the judge to recuse him- or herself from a firearm-related case.
We certainly welcome input and information from our members on judicial candidates. It is important to remember, however, that NRA-PVF's involvement in judicial races remains the exception and not the rule
Criteria. Not given lightly. Complexities.