While the lion’s share of the attention devoted to the judiciary is focused on Judge Sotomayor (and rightfully so of course) it’s important to remember that we have an election for the state Supreme Court coming up and while two candidates have been in the running a third looks to join them:
Add a third candidate to the race for Supreme Court to fill former Justice Tom
Glaze’s seat. It was filled in the interim after his retirement by Elana Wills,
who cannot run for the job.
The latest candidate is Appeals Court Judge
Karen Baker of Conway, who notes in her announcement her authorship of the
recent opinion reversing the PSC approval of a permit to build a caol-fired
power plant in Hempstead County.
Now of course, this is Arkansas where judges are stupidly forbidden to actually say anything substantial that, I don’t know, voters might want to hear before they cast such an important vote and thus result to talking about their family, where they grew up, and not much beyond that. Still, the candidates for this one all have records that give us an idea what kind of judges they’d be.
With regards to Baker, I don’t know much about her, but from that little bit on Arkansas Blog she certainly seems like an impressive candidate that would make sound rulings. Judge Courtney Henry also has an impressive biography, but there’s no indication as to what her presence on the Court might mean because she’s got no record, as far as I’ve seen, to give us any indication on what her thinking’s like. Her list of supporters is no help, with endorsements from the likes of former Congressman John Paul Hammersmidt to Senator Mary Anne Salmon, a Republican and Democrat with not much in common. On the other hand, at least one wingnut doesn’t seem to trust her, but I’ve heard from other sources that she has referred to herself as a conservative. If I had to place a bet I’d wager she’s a conservative Democrat like Lincoln and Ross, but that’s just a hunch so take it with a grain of salt.
One of the candidates however is a known quantity, Circuit Judge John Fogleman, the deputy prosecutor in the notorious West Memphis Three case. Considering how badly that case was handled and is still handled today, I’m not about to cast a vote for Fogleman. He doesn’t have the moral character to be a judge.
So, to me at least, Baker’s prospective candidacy looks promising. At least there’s a record to look at, like her ruling against the coal plant. Remember, the judiciary is important, its where we go for justice and an important check on the other branches of government that fail us so often here in Arkansas. I’m still going to watch this closely before I make a definate decision, but I’m leaning towards Baker now and saying hell no to Fogleman for sure.