It’s hard to get some answers from the candidates for the Arkansas Court of Appeals. You want to ask questions to discover this person’s character, what their beliefs and principles are without getting into specific issues. Of course, the election of judges is supposed to be nonpartisan, which further complicates questioning. The Court of Appeals doesn’t really address constitutional issues, mostly workman compensation and employment compensation appeals, but it could be the stepping stone up to the Supreme Court.
Still, we want to know if the judges we elect are going to follow and interpret the law or are they going to decide to legislate from the bench. Are they going to protect our freedoms as guaranteed in the Constitution or are they going to eliminate them? It has been the standard practice of liberals, when defeated by voters in the voting booth, to take their issues to court and get them to overturn the will of the voters.
These were the issues on the minds of the people present at the Washington County Republican Women’s forum, this Wednesday. I found it interesting that the candidates for the Court of Appeals, Courtney Henry and Ron Williams didn’t seem to disagree much with each other. The biggest difference between them was the experience. Ron Williams has been working as a lawyer almost as long as Courtney has been alive. He has had significant court experience while she has had none.
There was confrontation at the forum though. It was between Courtney and the moderator Mary Mann. Courtney kept answering questions saying that they were partisan and she couldn’t answer. She was starting to get a little hostile. Mary finally lectured Courtney saying that they were not asking political questions. They were asking questions about her judicial philosophy, was it conservative or liberal. Courtney has presented herself across NW Arkansas as a conservative so it was a bit suspicious that she’d get so confused about the direction of the questions.
Courtney has nothing in her back ground that would suggest that she is conservative. Just because she says so doesn’t make it so. The only thing we have is who she hangs out with and her voting record. Her family is Democratic with strong ties to the Clintons. She voted Democrat in the primary which means she voted for an extreme liberal who’d love nothing more than to have judges legislate from the bench. Based on this I don’t really believe Courtney when she says she’s conservative on judicial issues.
It was apparent by her speech and manner that she has had some training and grooming on how to appear before voters. I believe Courtney has ambitions to higher things then the Court of Appeals. I am not willing to place Courtney on the path to the Supreme Court solely based on her word that she’s a strict constructionist.