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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!