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The judge’s words

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State Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen’s mouth has him in trouble again and he’s making it an issue in his campaign for state Supreme Court.

Because Griffen himself raised the issue, the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission is able to confirm it is investigating whether Griffen has violated ethical canons by public remarks on several subjects. He’s been quoted as calling the Bush administration racist in its response to hurricane damage in New Orleans; as supporting a proposed constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage, and in opposition to Bush Supreme Court nominations.

Griffen has suggested the commission is trying to remove him from office for constitutionally protected free speech. The Commission says only that it has the matter under review. If there’s a finding of sufficient evidence to recommend discipline, Griffen would have the opportunity to defend himself before the commission, a spokesman said. Griffen has been disciplined once before for his comments to the black legislative caucus, but a mild caution was overturned by the state Supreme Court on account of the ambiguity of the rule, since changed, under which he was cited.

On the campaign trail in Batesville this week, Griffen was quoted in the Batesville Guard as saying, “When it comes to judiciary candidates, our voters are being asked to decide based upon ignorance. Judges are the only elected officials who are not term limited; do we really want to believe they have no views?”



Wal-Mart loves Beebe

Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott last week hosted a fund-raiser at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers for Mike Beebe’s gubernatorial campaign. Our source says there were about 50 people there, “mostly Wal-Mart types.”

That must be a blow to Asa Hutchinson. The usually-Republican CEO of a usually-Republican company rounds up money for Beebe in Northwest Arkansas, which is Hutchinson’s home turf. Maybe he should call Target?



Pricey

The odd couple of political consultants, James Carville and his wife Mary Matalin, are speaking at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville at 8 p.m March 30. The distinguished lecture series, which has brought the likes of Robert Redford and Benazir Bhutto to campus, is financed by student fees. How much student fees? In this case, $60,500.



Noticed …

Plumbing permit approved for a Starbucks in the new Midtowne shopping center … plans in the works for an Internet cafe and wine shop in the Enclave, the apartment project a Houston developer is building on the North Little Rock riverfront.



Overheard …

…Scott McGehee saying he had an eye on a spot for a second downtown branch of his Boulevard Bread Co. This one, unlike the small branch in the Cox Center, would be a full-service establishment with the whole range of deli offerings. He couldn’t disclose the potential location yet because it’s currently otherwise occupied.






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