Op-Ed on Supreme Court race

In which I attempt to swing some votes:

Make no mistake, it’s no coincidence this third candidate jumped into the race, just as it’s no coincidence this latecomer has been on Art Pope’s payroll for several years at one of his “institutes.” This is a calculated move to exploit both a quirk in our elections laws and the general lack of knowledge and concern voters have over judicial contests. But those movers and shakers aren’t satisfied with merely unbalancing the boat and leaving this up to luck. Oh, no. In for a penny, in for a pound. And these folks got a lot of pounds.

I've had several disagreements with various pundits about the wisdom of attacking the third-party attackers. While it's true they are not going to be on the ballot, they are coming into everybody's living room and pushing their views onto voters. The best way to fight that and to make all that money work against them is to educate the voting public:

By the time you read this, you will probably have watched several television commercials about this race. And yes, they are mighty expensive. The NC Chamber, who is monetarily supported by such luminaries as the Koch Brothers and big tobacco, has set aside $225,000 to spend on ads for the two Republicans, while Justice For All NC just received $650,000 from the DC dark money clearinghouse Republican State Leadership Committee to run ads against Robin Hudson. The latter is the same group who spent $1.1 million on television ads and mailers to get Paul Newby elected to the Supreme Court two years ago. You remember the banjopicking “tough on crime” commercial I’m sure, which brings us to the next topic of discussion, the NC Supreme Court itself.

The Court is tasked with many things, but being “tough on crime” or “easy on crime” are not included on that list. First and foremost, they make sure lower court rulings don’t infringe on the NC Constitution or established NC Statute, and the Justices also have to make sure lower courts haven’t misinterpreted or misused precedent in coming to their decisions. “Tough” doesn’t come into it, and it shouldn’t. That’s not what the Supreme Court is for. Keep that in mind while watching the television for the next few days, and later in the year if Robin Hudson survives the Primary, because they will be gunning for her again.

I know many reading this are Conservative, and may not be as sympathetic to this situation as others. But here’s something you need to keep in mind: the movers and shakers who want to sweep the NC Supreme Court clean of Democrats are not doing so to keep the Court from acting “radical.” They are doing so because they want the Court to act radical. There is already a Republican majority of 4-3 on the Court, which is good for you and me because that balance (much like the 5-4 US Supreme Court) provides for a swing vote if the majority overreaches, or loses sight of its Constitutional focus. And when you have such a balance, the arguments for each side are vigorous and well-researched. They have to be, if they want to capture that swing vote. But if the Court goes 5-2, or even 6-1? Intelligent arguments are no longer really necessary, are they?

While you may believe making "intelligent arguments" to conservatives is a waste of time, never forget: the voting booth is private. They may not agree with my words in public, but I really don't care about that. If standing on my head or following a parade with a shovel will help keep Robin Hudson in her seat, sign me up.


And let's not forget

that Art Pope paved the way for his hand-picked candidate by repealing the NC judicial public financing program.

And lest anyone attempt to argue that judicial races are non-partisan, just have a look at what the Pope-financed (now with no limits!) NC GOP (which we're pretty sure is a partisan organization) has to say.

Question: As a purported government official, does Art Pope have to fill out those financial disclosure forms? And if so, does he have to declare his ownership interest in the legislators, judges and governor that he owns?

"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

Sad to see public campaign financing go

SCOTUS keeps making it easier and easier to pour tons of money into elections saying that disclosure is the antidote to that. But with weak disclosure laws and slow turn around times on getting the campaign finance information, we don't even have good access to that prescribed antidote. And disclosure seems to be the only campaign finance regulation SCOTUS is willing to find constitutional in a land where money is speech and corporations are people.

Fabulous op-ed piece

You should do more of that.

And speaking of what people should do: if Doran somehow finds herself getting through this primary, it will be because she rolled in the vilest slime of all, wrapping herself in unthinkable sleaze. She should decline to serve.