Sunday, October 10, 2010

Disappointing criticism from The Center for Arizona Policy

The Center for Arizona policy, Arizona's family values conservative think tank, recently sent out an email to its supporters critical of this website. President Cathi Herrod told supporters to beware, this website lacks credibility because it is anonymous. Why is this website anonymous? Because the Arizona State bar unconstitutionally prohibits lawyers and judges from daring to say anything that might possibly be construed as negative about a judge. And the State Bar has a monolithic hold on Arizona attorneys - you cannot practice law in Arizona without being a member of the State Bar (something we disagree with, we would like to see this stranglehold taken away and turn the Bar into a voluntary association).

The Bar's Ethical Rule 8.2, Judicial and Legal Officials, states:
(a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory officer or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.
This Ethical Rule has been used to target conservative attorneys in the past when they have had conflicts with liberal judges. It has been broadly interpreted in order to squelch unwanted criticism. This is an offensive encroachment on the free speech rights of attorneys, who don't check their rights at the State Bar door once they become attorneys.

Consequently, the identities of anyone providing this kind of information must remain confidential, or risk a politically motivated investigation by the State Bar. The State Bar is controlled by left wing attorneys who don't want a website like this to exist.

Some of our sources are very bright, accomplished attorneys and judges, but we don't have the luxury of telling you who they are.

The Center for Arizona Policy points to their own questionnaire of judges instead, and suggests that it is a better guide. We disagree. Hardly any judges responded. Only three Superior Court judges did. One reputable judge we talked to laughed when he saw that any judges responded, due to the risk of putting your viewpoints on judicial philosophy out there - leaving yourself open for opponents to target you in future elections - and forget about a career involving a federal court position. Most of the judges who responded to their survey submitted vague responses, it's impossible to tell from their letters whether they are liberal or conservative. Their survey of judges is practically meaningless.

If this website is so untrustworthy, why haven't we had a single judge contact us and ask for a correction? We have yet to hear from any judge objecting to our characterizations of them, and this site has been around since 2008. That speaks volumes. We urge our readers to read the comments after these posts for more information on the judges that others have provided.

We are deeply disappointed in the Center for Arizona Policy. We are on the same side, but instead they have gone out of their way to tell others to avoid our website. The trusted attorneys and judges that have provided us with information are also disappointed.


Anonymous said...

On you post you use the name Sally Duncan, but on the ballet she is Sally S Schneider.

Anonymous said...

This is sort of off topic, but I’m curious about what you thought of the recent episode of "Outlaw" that showed the former conservative Supreme Court Justice turned outlaw lawyer character coming to Arizona to defend a law enforcement officer who was brought to trial while following SB 1070. If only lawyers who are members of the Arizona State Bar can practice law in Arizona, how could he have legally defended his client? Does being a Supreme Court Justice automatically make you able to practice law in every state? Or was this another case of television bending rules for the sake of drama?

Anonymous said...

I am brand new to AZ and in trying to fill out my early voters ballot found this site.

THANK YOU! I will be a follower from now on!

Anonymous or not, I appreciate what you are doing! It has always been a challenge to vote for judges (SUCH an important thing that most people don't understand) and with this post I now understand why.