Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Williams vs. Henry Appeals Judge Race and "The Code"

Before I can even get to the specifics of the race, please permit me to brief you on the background of this issue. This is especially needed since the state media organs make little effort to inform you of the realities of judicial politics in this state- to the degree that they attempt to uphold the absurd fiction that there are none and that there should not be any:

The Arkansas Court of Appeals is a court that basically stands between Circuit Courts and the State Supreme Court. Liberals thought they had a fool-proof plan to insure that other liberals continue to bench-legislate in Arkansas a few years back when they got folks to approve making judicial races "non-partisan". That is to say, instead of filing as a Republican or Democrat, they filed as independents with the election being held on the same day that the two dominant political parties held their primaries. Since the Democratic primary vote is about 7-10 times the Republican primary vote, they figured it would result in statist liberal judges for as far as the eye could see. The only down side was that the state Democratic party could not benefit from the massive filing fees generated by having judges run as candidates of a political party.

Well, of course their strategy is working well state-wide. Our arrogant, elitist liberal judges forced homosexual adoption and foster parenting on the state over the objections of the state Department of Human Services who actually had to deal with the fallout of screwed-up children. They then all but ordered a tax increase so that school funding was above the invisible line that they imagined was the "constitutional" level, along with a powerful push to wrest control of education further away from parents in their local communities and to centralize control with fellow arrogant elitist liberals in the State Department of Education.

But while it is working well state wide, it backfires in Court of Appeals districts like the one in Northwest Arkansas, where Republican voter turnout actually exceeds that of the Democrats. They get things 90% their way state-wide, but that is not good enough for elitist big-government liberals. They will relentlessly pursue 100% of all judicial power and attempt to slime any challenge whatsoever to their monopoly of judicial philosophy.

That brings us to the Courtney Henry vs. Ron Williams race. Williams is the conservative in the race, Henry the liberal. Don't be fooled by the fact that former Republican Congressman John Paul Hammerschimdt has endorsed the young Mrs. Henry. His reasons have to do with personal ties and knowing her since she was a cute little girl. I mean him no disrespect when I say that he never was much of a philosophical conservative.

Former State Senator Jim Holt, with whom I have practically parted ways with since the race for Lt. Governor was over, is backing Ron Williams and is even working for Williams as a consultant and sign coordinator. This of course throws the liberals in the media into a conniption fit, since to them only liberals are allowed to be judges and judges should have the final say on what the other two branches of government can do.

The Demozette Column and the Arktimes column both have a negative tone toward the hiring of Holt. The Demozette especially leads with charges that the actions of the Williams campaign may violate the Arkansas Code of Judicial Ethics.

For more about what that means in real-talk, hit TUESDAY below and scroll down.


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

First of all, it is not just Jim Holt that backs Williams, most of the area conservative Republicans do. Holt is the one getting paid for it because he is doing the work. The Holt family is out putting up signs, and possibly designing and getting the signs produced as well.

I can tell you from experience that Holt will get you a better looking sign or brochure for less money than anyone. He always designed his own signs and made the deal to print them up himself. If you go by what the Demozette and Brummett tell you, Holt is some kind of Neandertal type. The truth is, he is an artsy type. A starving artist for most of the time he was in public life. The strengths and weaknesses of those two types are 180 degrees out, and how wrong they got that says a lot about who they are.

The Henry camp has made accusations that an email Holt wrote in support of Williams was a violation of the so-called "Judicial Code of Conduct". The email said “I know Ron Williams and I know he holds our values as his own. For us to protect children from unmarried cohabitating adoptive or foster parents, we must put judges in office that will interpret the law as it is written, not make new law that coincides with the wave of liberalism. That's why this election, I'm giving my money and my time to Ron Williams for the Arkansas Court of Appeals.”

It is hard to see how a paragraph that assures voters that a judicial candidate will not legislate from the bench is a violation of the code, but never mind that. Zoom out and look at the big picture and you will not be drawn into the bad-guys trap. The code itself should be scrapped.

I call it the "Mushroom Code" because it guarantees that the voters in this state will be kept in the dark and fed male-bovine-feces when it comes to their votes in judicial elections.

The code guarantees that our vote for judicial candidates is an exercise in ignorance because it makes it a violation for you or anyone who works for you to tell people about your judicial philosophy, either in general or as applied to cases that have already occurred in the past.

The code is elitist, anti-democratic, and in direct opposition to the principal of government with the informed consent of the governed. While I understand that it would be unethical for a judge to promise to rule one way or another on a specific case in the future, that is a very different thing from saying what judicial principles you would follow or not follow.

It would work like this: "I think Roe v. Wade is bad law and was decided incorrectly. If the right case came along I would not hesitate to overturn it." is OK.

OTOH, saying, "That abortionist Bill 'The Buthcer' Harrison over in Fayetteville better never wind up in my court. If he does I am going to find him guilty, guilty, guilty of murder for all of the innocent babies he has aborted" would NOT be OK. Harrison is indeed a butcher, but there is no ethical way a judge can decide about a future case before he hears the actual evidence of that case.

This conduct does not violate the Arkansas Code of Judicial Ethics,but even if they engage in conduct that does, that is not necessarily a reason to get rattled or vote for the secretive candidate who will not tell you what they stand for. We should make the issue the code itself. The code is un-American and violates the principles of informed self-government.

3:00 PM, April 08, 2008  
Blogger BigDaddy said...

Ms. Henry was raised by Morris and Ann Henry. Morris and Ann hosted a wedding in their home where Bill and Hillary Clinton were married. Thus, the Morris family is well connected through friendship with the Clintons.
No one with such connections will ever win my vote. Courtney may try to mask as an independent or conservative, but she will have a very difficult time convincing this voter!

7:52 PM, April 08, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spread the word. If a liberal isn't ashamed of his/her liberal stripes, there shouldn't be a problem.

Oh, and if you believe an Appeals Court judgeship is "non-partisan" in nature, I've got a moon rock to sell to you.

9:06 PM, April 08, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kindly reconsider your disrespecting statements toward Congressman Hammerschmidt. Mayor Womack supports Henry. Many other deeply conservative people support Henry because they know Williams.

But that's not my gripe:

You're essentially saying Hammerschmidt is selling out the party, but perhaps Holt is taking the party in a direction that I don't want it to go? Holt does not speak for me and the values that allowed the Republican party to flourish under Reagan ... Hammerschmidt does. Again, Holt doesn't-- Hammerschmidt DOES.

What has Williams done other than allow his daughter to marry Timothy Hutchinson? And how proud of my vote I am when I cast it for the FORMER Senator Tim Hutchinson. His mistress made our votes for the moral position look rediculous. Thanks, preacher. And what is it about Asa that gives me the creeps?

I obviously don't care about this race as much as you and BigDaddy, so say what you want about that race--- but you should not be so quick to cast aside the most prominent and respected Republican in Arkansas. Especially now-- at a time when our party must rebuild our focus on the core values that took us through the Reagan years. Holt is not part of that solution--he's just no-can-do Jim Holt.

Please stop stomping on all my good solid Republican votes for Hammerschmidt by claiming he's been fooled or is whoring out his support for a family friend.

Speaking of whoring out-- where's the FORMER Senator Hutchinson hanging out nowadays with his new bride? Isn't he a paid lobbyist?

9:42 PM, April 09, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Are you quoting my article or putting words in my mouth?

1) I am not "disrespecting" Hammerschmidt "by claiming he's been fooled or is whoring out his support for a family friend.". What I did say was "I mean him no disrespect when I say that he never was much of a philosophical conservative." So I specifically said that I MEAN HIM NO DISRESPECT. You turn that around 180 degrees.

I DID NOT CLAIM HE WAS FOOLED. I told the reader that THEY should not be fooled by his endorsement of Henry- it does not mean that she is the best candidate in the race. And finally, I did not claim he was "whoring for a family friend"- YOU said that.

Hammerschimdt himself in the newspaper states that he has known her since she was a little girl and is a long-time friend. The implication is strong that he would not jump into this race if that were not so, and I don't see him jumping into any of the others.

3) Your " real gripe" is even more incoherent. You accuse me of "selling out the party" over a non-partisan judicial race. Your attempt to claim the mantle of Reagan in a "non-partisan" judicial race by way of endorsements is ridiculous. All Republicans try to do it these days.

Then you try to completely change the subject, which was about the judicial race and whether or not it is OK for Holt to campaign as he has for Williams. You start railing about the Hutchinsons! I am not here to defend the Hutchinsons, their kin, or the Republican party. I have been scathing in my analysis of Hutchinson-kin Judge Hendren and if Williams can't do better than him then we don't need him on the bench. I just call them like I see them. You are the partisan here, not me.

I am not trying to get people to vote for the most REPUBLICAN non-partisan judicial candidate (whatever the GOP stands for these days), I am trying to get people to vote for the most philosophically CONSERVATIVE non-partisan judicial candidate. There is a difference and the difference is growing. Under Bush, the party has gotten a definite fascist tilt. That is not classical conservative by any stretch.

5:00 AM, April 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't changing the subject--I was making clear that the REAL reason ANYBODY is helping Williams is ONLY because Timmy Hutchinson married Williams' daughter.

7:33 AM, April 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me chime in here - I'm not yet convinced that the non-partisan aspect of judicial races ensures "statist liberal judges for as far as the eye can see." Other than Huckabee and WR, when was the last time a Republican won a statewide office? Hmmmm. . . would 1996 be about right, almost 12 years ago? . . . and 1980 before that, almost 28 years ago? I would say non-partisan judicial races at least give conservatives and/or Republicans a fighting chance. I realize Ct of Appeals races aren't statewide (Sup Ct races are), but an "R" beside your name on the ballot in some parts of this State practically guarantees defeat. Plus, has the liberal v. conservative make-up of either court (CA or SC) changed since non-partisan elections were instituted? I doubt it.

1:05 PM, April 17, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Let me start out by saying I appreciate that you make a reasoned and fact-based argument for your position. The gist of my article was that primary-day voting (where Democrats outnumber Republicans 5-1) combined with an Arkansas "Code of Judicial Conduct" which keeps voters ignorant of what they are voting on, strongly tilts the playing field toward statist liberal judges.

If your point is that we get quite a few statist liberals even from November elections where they can talk about the issues, then your point is well-taken.

I can't argue that switching to "informed November" voting for judges would guarantee non-interventionist conservative judges. I think it would be like it is now with the other offices: the left would win some, and the right would win some. I believe that the debate would be healthy for everybody.

Right now the left wins almost all judicial races using our current "ignorant May voter system" even though the general election population is more or less evenly split. Many of the Democrats that win in the "informed November" voting system do so by faking right when they campaign, and are allowed to get away with it by a complicit state print media.

What we have now borders on judicial tyranny and it is not healthy. People are mystified out outraged at a judiciary with rulings that are made from moral premises that are anathema to those of the governed. And as you know, governments derive all just powers from the consent of the governed.

9:55 AM, April 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Likewise, I appreciate your arguments as well, but judicial elections being held in May is a separate issue from them being non-partisan. After Amdmt. 80 passed, that (re: May elections) was a battle fought and lost in the legislature, due to the overwhelming number of Ds there.

I do agree with your point --at least I think it's your point-- that it makes no sense to have general non-partisan elections for judges at a time (party primaries, go figure) when more activist, partisan Ds vote. It's never been about fairness, but I think non-partisan election of judges is a step, albeit small, in the right direction. The next step toward true fairness is getting them moved to November. One of three things will have to happen to do so: 1. a shift of control in the legislature, 2. someone pursues it as a referendum for a vote of the people, or 3. a federal lawsuit.

This being a red, relatively conservative, state, I would say most, if not all, candidates for public office pretty much have to fake right before November in order to win. The problem is, most of them don't have to do so because there's too few candidates on the opposite side of the fence to carry the elections into November, i.e. they're over in May.

9:36 AM, April 21, 2008  

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