The best justice money can buy

In case anyone remained under the illusion that judicial elections in NC were actually non-partisan, like they are officially billed to be, former NC Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake shatters that illusion.

In a firey [sic] plea for money, I. Beverly Lake, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, is rallying support for Bob Hunter in his campaign for a seat on the high court.

Lake, who reached mandatory retirement age in 2006, sent out a letter to Republican donors stating his case clearly:

“One justice can mean the difference between liberty and tyranny. … Since leaving the bench, I’ve watched liberal ‘activist judges’ rewrite the Constitution – and waited for one justice to stand up and say ‘No’ to the craziness going on in our courts.”

Notice that former Justice Lake doesn't say how we need judges who will be fair and interpret the NC laws and Constitution in an unbiased way. No, Justice Lake says we need a Republican judge.

Lake’s letter, written on state Supreme Court letterhead, reports that Hunter’s first campaign poll shows him trailing [Judge Sam] Ervin [IV], and that half of the people who say they will vote for Ervin think he’s a Republican.

To come from behind, Lake writes, Hunter needs to raise $750,000 to fund a TV, radio and social media campaign.

You'll remember Judge Ervin as the one who got slimed by the "banjo" ads funded by dark money groups on behalf of Justice Newby in the previous election. Looks like more slime is headed Sam's way. All because he has the nerve to not be a Republican.

Comments

How's that again?

I. Beverly Lake wrote a partisan political fundraising letter on NC Supreme Court letterhead stationery?

I'm not a Supreme Court judge, but I thought that was illegal.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

According to Canon 7 of the NC Code of Judicial Conduct

This is not permissible....and a similar situation is given as an example:

May you use official court letterhead for a letter recommending an individual for appointment to a judgeship? No, personal stationery must be used so that the recommendation does not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the appointment candidate=s private interests in violation of 2B. However, should your recommendation be formally requested by the appointing official, then your response would be in furtherance of your public duties, thereby necessitating use of official court letterhead.

You can find the text here.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Basically....if you can't use official letterhead

to recommend a judge for appointment unless your recommendation is officially requested, then you cannot - or should not - be able to use official letterhead to promote a judge for election.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

We got one of those letters from "Justice" Lake

... on NC Supreme Court Letterhead.

It was disturbing. If anyone needs a copy to start an ethics complaint, let me know.

 

He needs a better targeting on his maillist addresses too

His mailing list is not very well targeted. I got the letter and another local dem exec cmte member also received one. I don't know where he got his list but at current mail rates that's not a good use of funds. Of course, he starts with an ask for $5K and eventually says that even $100 would be appreciated. I also got a letter from Ervin asking for any contributions and listing 500 as the largest and goes down to 50.

So, who would be

the authority to crack down on this misuse of the letterhead? The NC Bar Association, or the state Board of Elections? It seems to me they would (or should) both have some issues with this.

Not printed or mailed at government expense...

I ran into my senator at a doo-dah for the candidates this evening and asked him about this issue. He said that disclaimer at the bottom of the page made it all legal -
Not printed or mailed at government expense.

The disclaimer

is interesting from a campaign finance point of view but still leaves major questions about the judicial ethics and the rule cited above.

It's really easy to file a complaint with the NC Bar and with the State Board of Elections. Let's hope someone does.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

The letterhead itself is the issue

Someone needs to file a complaint.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.