Thursday, May 1, 2014

Conservatives Spend Big to Spread Lies About Justice Hudson

From The News and Observer, Editorial, April 30, 2014.

Big-money PAC presents a scurrilous attack on Justice Robin Hudson

Read more here:
Justice for All North Carolina is an independent political group out to defeat Democrats in judicial elections in North Carolina. The group might have the distinction now of being responsible for the most repugnant ad in this election cycle.

Justice for All is favored by a right-wing group called the Republican State Leadership Committee. The committee recently provided $650,000 to Justice for All, which has launched a vicious attack ad on incumbent Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson. The group has a nationwide effort going to defeat judges it deems to be too liberal and to replace them with ideological conservatives.

The RSLC has in the past gotten money from, among others, the Koch brothers, Charles and David, billionaires from a Kansas-based family business involved in oil and a host of endeavors. The Kochs have funded far-flung, and far-right, political advertising all over the United States.

In this latest attack, a black-and-white commercial accuses Hudson of siding with child molesters in one ruling. In fact, the state high court ruled in a 2010 decision that convicted child molesters could be subject to being electronically monitored even if they had been convicted before the monitoring law was passed. Hudson was part of a dissent.

Hudson took the view that applying the new law to those previously convicted fell under the category of an ex-post facto law, a law that institutes retroactive punishment. That might be something conservatives would like to be able to do, but it happens to be unconstitutional in the United States.

Hudson made her call based on her interpretation of the Constitution, exactly what a justice is supposed to do.

But now, Justice for All North Carolina is using a deceptive ad to attack Hudson, a respected incumbent and sound justice, by simplifying what happened and going straight for a claim that Hudson “sides with child predators.” The point is to knock Hudson out of the race in the primary stage. Her opponents are Republicans Eric Levinson, a Superior Court judge, and Jeanette Doran, a lawyer who has worked for a conservative group connected to ... drum roll ... Art Pope, GOP funder-in-chief and Gov. Pat McCrory’s powerful budget director.

Some of the same money sources that helped dump this trash into the living rooms of North Carolinians also supported the unfortunate campaign of incumbent Justice Paul Newby, who defeated a Supreme Court challenge from the respected Judge Sam J. Ervin IV in 2012 thanks to millions of dollars in outside money and the regrettable “banjo ad” talking about how Newby would be tough on crime.

It was amateurish and insulting to the intelligence of voters, but money talked, and Newby won.

The aim of such ads, which are appearing more frequently these days in supposedly nonpartisan judicial races, is to politicize the judiciary, making sure those seeking election to judgeships will pledge their loyalty to conservative ideology.

The ad against Hudson reaches a new low in terms of negative campaigning. It really does. She sides with child molesters?

Ideally, a political party would reject this kind of thing outright. But we doubt the state GOP will do the right thing and reject these maneuvers. No, too many party leaders apparently side with the deceivers. That is unfair to the voters of North Carolina and to the state itself.

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