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What’s Eating Gilbert Baker?

Published on Jan 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm in Consumer Awareness.

In this morning’s front-page Arkansas Democrat Gazette article entitled “Justice: Keep Drama out of Judicial Races”, State Senator Gilbert Baker took exception with the efforts of the Arkansas Bar Association’s Task Force on Judicial Election Reform. With regard to the task force’s efforts to form a rapid response team to quickly rebut misleading advertisements about judicial candidates, Baker was quoted as saying, “[the task force] will try to eliminate the people’s involvement and eliminate free speech.” So what is eating Gilbert Baker? It appears clear the aim of the task force is to clean up Arkansas judicial elections in order to prevent the million dollar judicial races filled with mudslinging and misleading advertising that have become so common place in states bordering ours. What is wrong with cleaning up judicial elections? The task force isn’t trying to prevent Arkansans from voting in judicial elections. If anything the task force is searching for ways to provide the electorate with more and factually accurate information about judicial candidates. What’s wrong with more information? I find it hard to imagine that the “people” Gilbert Baker references are the fine citizens of his district in Faulkner County. I think the more likely truth is that the “people” Baker references are the same “people” in the Citizens United opinion that says corporations have the same free speech rights as private individuals. If Baker has his way, these corporate “people”, many of them out of state and some of them out of the country, will be able to flood the media markets of Arkansas with issue ads against judicial candidates and there will not be a rapid response team of Arkansas judges and Arkansas lawyers in place to combat the misinformation.

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