More evidence of the growth of overt partisanship in the Arkansas court system. Behold the program for the Baxter County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner
Baxter County has a star-studded Republican lineup, Oct. 20 at Twin Lakes Baptist in Mountain Home befitting the strong Republican voter base in that county. A congressman, lieutenant governor, attorney general, party chair and candidates for statewide office are on the program.
Also on the speakers' lineup: Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice Shawn Womack
and immediately after, David Sterling,
the candidate hoping to unseat Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson.
A reminder: Supreme Court justices run as nonpartisan candidates. Another reminder: Judicial ethics rules suggest that judges and candidates for judgeships shouldn't engage in public actions that might give reason to question their impartiality.
Would you want to be a Democrat with a partisan-related issue before Justice Womack or possible Justice Sterling? Or Justice Rhonda Wood
, who regularly made the rounds of Republican Party events such as these and who also used former Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee as a campaigner?
Sterling, it's reasonable to guess, would have joined Womack and Wood in yesterday's reversal of precedent to uphold a voter ID law. The law is part of a national Republican strategy to suppress minority voting.
I'd guess Sterling would also join Womack and Wood in saying Judge Wendell Griffen's
religious objection to the death penalty creates a sufficient reason to doubt his impartiality in cases even tangentially related to the death penalty — such as over a pharmaceutical company's ability to prevent a dishonest purchaser (the state of Arkansas) from using its drug for an unintended purpose (killing people).
Womack is a former Republican senator from Mountain Home. You'd sometimes think a Republican legislative agenda is higher on his list of priorities than impartial justice.