JCN Reacts to Reports that AR Judge Martin Had Conflicts of Interest and Didn’t Recuse


by JCN | May 16th, 2018

WASHINGTON – Judicial Crisis Network chief counsel and policy director Carrie Severino reacted to breaking news reports (see below for more) about an Arkansas judge’s attempt to censor JCN’s First Amendment right to inform voters in the Arkansas Supreme Court election. According to news reports Washington County Circuit Judge Doug Martin issued a temporary restraining order, halting – for the time being – a JCN television ad that exposes Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson’s record for taking gifts from donors, including Fayetteville Attorney W.H. Taylor. Taylor is also one of Judge Martin’s donors. Additionally, Judge Martin’s wife was a business partner of Justice Courtney Goodson’s husband.  Judge Martin should have recused himself from this case due to these obvious conflicts of interest.

“When Justice Courtney Goodson’s record of taking gifts and big money from donors was brought to light through television ads, Justice Goodson tried to silence the fair criticism by filing a lawsuit. Then Washington County Circuit Judge Doug Martin issued a temporary restraining order on the ads to silence the message. What Judge Martin didn’t tell voters is one of the ad’s key subjects who provided Goodson with a lavish $50,000 Italian vacation—is also one of his 2014 campaign contributors. Additionally, Judge Martin’s wife received income from Justice Goodson’s husband for her legal services. You can’t make this stuff up. Judge Martin should be standing up for free speech instead of trying to protect his campaign donor and buddies.” – Judicial Crisis Network’s Chief Counsel and Policy Director Carrie Severino

Background:

News Reports:

  • Arkansas Democrat Gazette: “A Northwest Arkansas judge who ordered that attack ads critical of Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson be taken off the air this week reported receiving income, through his wife, from the law firm of Goodson’s husband.”
  • Daily Caller: “An Arkansas judge issued a restraining order Monday barring several local television stations from broadcasting a controversial campaign ad linking a state Supreme Court justice to a Fayetteville lawyer who lavished the justice with personal gifts. The judge who issued the decision, known as a TRO, has accepted campaign contributions from the attorney at issue in the ad, and his wife has substantial business connections to the embattled justice.”