Our Voices Arkansas

The Voices of Grassroots Conservatives Across Arkansas

Feb 19, 2016

Goodson or Kemp, Who’s the Conservative?

Who’s the conservative and how do you know? How do you learn the facts about judicial candidates when they run as “non-partisan?” (Can you base your vote on a “D” or an “R” behind someone’s name in any other race?) Who can you believe? In the Supreme Court race there’s been lots of whining about...

by OurVoicesAR

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goodson-kempWho’s the conservative and how do you know? How do you learn the facts about judicial candidates when they run as “non-partisan?” (Can you base your vote on a “D” or an “R” behind someone’s name in any other race?) Who can you believe?

In the Supreme Court race there’s been lots of whining about the Judicial Crisis Network (“dark money”) running $336,000 worth of attack ads against Republican Courtney Goodson. One ad called Goodson a “rubber stamp for Obama’s liberal agenda in Arkansas.” Many folks have questioned why her opponent, Judge Dan Kemp, doesn’t “have the integrity to stop those ads.”

taking-for-a-rideOthers are questioning Kemp’s claim to be a conservative. On Twitter, @CourtJunkieAR (who purports to be Democrat attorney in NLR) asserts that Kemp is a lifelong Democrat, first appointed by David Pryor, and that Kemp is “taking you tea party/conduit/GOP people for a ride.”

And (our head is spinning now…) even the progressive liberal Arkansas Times has gone to Goodson’s defense:

New dark money ad says “Goodson is a stooge for Barack Obama. She’s enabled rampant voter fraud by illegal immigrants.”

These assertions are based on the fact that in 2014, the Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously struck down a 2013 voter ID law narrowly passed by the legislature. All seven justices agreed the law was unconstitutional; evidently, the entire court was a hotbed of liberal activism.

In fact, Goodson wrote a separate, narrower opinion on that case, saying the majority opinion authored by Justice Donald Corbin was too broad in its conclusions about the unconstitutionality of adding barriers to voting. Goodson’s concurring opinion, which was joined by Justices Karen Baker and Jo Hart, said the voter ID law was invalid on more technical grounds, because the legislature should have taken a two-thirds vote on a law that instituted a change in voting requirements. The other three justices on the court at the time joined Corbin’s opinion, which stated enforcement of the law would disfranchise voters.

The Judicial Crisis Network says this vote makes Goodson “a rubber stamp for Barack Obama’s liberal agenda in Arkansas.”

Who to believe? @CourtJunkieAR is “proud to be a Democrat,” but “hates hypocrisy” so they’re tweeting this information about Kemp, a fellow Democrat. Goodson’s opponents point out her campaign donations from trial lawyers (her husband, attorney John Goodson, is involved in a “venue-shopping” lawsuit) as proof she is not impartial on the bench.

Again we ask, who to believe? Have you vetted your vote? Have you looked beyond the information you’re being fed (yes, on social media, Twitter included!) by mailers, the campaigns, and other organizations? Do you know the real positions of your candidate(s)? Your vote depends on it, but in “non-partisan” judicial races it’s so much more easily said than done!

2 responses to “Goodson or Kemp, Who’s the Conservative?”

  1. Mark Johnson says:

    Judge Kemp was described to me by a (self-described) liberal friend as the only “conservative” she has ever voted for in her area. (She lives in Stone County.) He is a graduate of Harding University, and is a deacon in the Church of Christ. I have heard nothing but praise for him from lawyers who have practiced in his court – those with both Republican and Democrat affiliations. Justice Goodson ran in 2010 as Courtney Henry. Almost immediately after she won, she divorced her husband Mark Henry and married John Goodson, a wealthy trial lawyer from Texarkana who was later appointed to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees by Governor Mike Beebe. Her former in-laws are former State Senator Morriss Henry, who sponsored the Equal Rights Amendment in the Arkansas Legislature, and Ann Henry, who ran for 3rd District Congress as a Democrat (against now-Governor Asa Hutchinson). While one’s in-laws do not define them politically, nor one’s husband, these are facts that should be known. For me, the most important thing is that she received a very quick divorce, but gave up custody of her children. Mr. Goodson is nationally-known for questionable practices in class-action lawsuits, and for the lavish gifts and vacations he bestowed on his soon-to-be-wife. For me, Judge Kemp is the clear choice because of his integrity.

    • OurVoicesAR says:

      Thanks, Mark, for the input! As indicated, it’s very difficult to learn what “political philosophy” judicial candidates carry because of the “non-partisan” label. This situation only makes it easier for Gov. Hutchinson to get what he wants — to name our judges, leaving only the “right of removal” to the voters.

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