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When all else fails a campaigner, why bother with the pros and cons of the issues and all the other piffle of politics when you can simply impose a gag rule on the opposition instead? Which seems to be the campaign strategy of Her Honor Courtney Goodson, if just using the political equivalent of a truncheon can be mistaken for a strategy instead of just a desperate delusion. This decision of hers should rightly be considered less of an argument for her re-election to the state's Supreme Court but for her impeachment.

Mrs. Justice Goodson, the wife of class-action king John Goodson, now seems to have taken on Arkansas' journalistic broadcasting fraternity, seeking to shut it up by court order now that mere persuasion has failed. The list of defendants in her ill-conceived lawsuit runs the gamut from Tribune Broadcasting in northwest Arkansas to Tegna Inc., which includes Little Rock's KTHV.

And, oh yes, let's not overlook this telling detail: The spouse of the same judge who issued this restraining order against Arkansas' press received income from John Goodson's law firm headquartered in Texarkana--all of which might confirm the public's suspicion that they, meaning the members of this state's bar, are all in this racket together.

Why in the world would a fair, unbiased voter choose to cast his ballot for a candidate like Courtney Goodson when other candidates are seeking his vote and support this election year? Beats me.

John Tull and Chris Keller, counselors-at-law, would make fine editorial writers should they ever tire of their day jobs, for they've summed up the significance of this case all too well: By entering a restraining order, even on a temporary basis, without hearing from the opposing side, they warn, "the court has completely banned campaign speech without notice and without providing Tribune, the other media defendants or anyone interested in free speech with any avenue to be heard in court. This case is an affront to not only the First Amendment but due process."

Messrs. Tull and Keller have given voice to one of the oldest principles of Anglo-American jurisprudence and plain old common sense. By now a welcome chorus has joined these once isolated and surrounded voices, including that of a revived and resuscitated American Civil Liberties Union. For the ACLU seems to have recaptured its old spirit of defending unpopular causes no matter what their motive by opposing the forcing outfits like the Judicial Crisis Network to reveal the sources of their funds.

Welcome back to the fight in defense of free speech, whether one agrees or not with what is being freely said.

"The spirit of liberty," as the late great Learned Hand once put it, "lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias."

For further details, see Marc Kilmer's "Courtney Goodson's Attack on Due Process and the First Amendment" on the website


Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Editorial on 05/23/2018

Print Headline: Shut up, she explains

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  • TimberTopper
    May 23, 2018 at 6:47 a.m.

    For the time being, it appears she beat all that dark money. However, they will be back with more of that dark stuff. Wonder actually just how much of it is Russian money. One can never tell the Russians may like Sterling as much as they like Trump, and be funding some of that dark money his way. Is it possible that Greenburg is on their payroll as well?

  • WhododueDiligence
    May 23, 2018 at 7:57 a.m.

    "Welcome back to the fight in defense of free speech ..."
    Why is this free speech so expensive?
    Why is this free speech bought with dark money?
    Why was dark money from electioneering organizations given tax-exempt status?
    Why was dark money from electioneering organizations given free-speech rights?
    Does the Constitution say dark money from electioneering organizations has free speech rights like individuals?
    Since dark money has no light shed on it, will We the People ever know where it comes from and where it goes?

  • LRCrookAttorney
    May 23, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.

    A lot of people believe the "dark money" is from the Clintons. She p$@*ed off the Clintons when Bill campaigned for her first run. She ran on family values and immediately after being elected it came out that she was having an affair, for years, with Goodson. Supposedly this upset Bill (wonder why with his playing around), so several are suggesting this dark money was payback.

  • JakeTidmore
    May 23, 2018 at 8:39 a.m.

    Odd stance considering how strict they are about letters to the editor passing the smell test while here Greenberg seems to be saying let the stench rise and prevail. Dark money and hypocrisy both stink, for sure.

    LRAC - Troll gossip (!) or substantiated fact (?). It'll remain the former until you produce something in the latter category. I do believe hearsay is admissible in court, right?? (RAP..RAP...RAP!!! goes the judge's gavel. "Jury will ignore the attorney's comment.")

  • JakeTidmore
    May 23, 2018 at 8:42 a.m.

    Cowards who make scurrilous comments and hide behind pseudonyms are lowlife slime. Dark forces are usually afraid of the light and the truth.

  • drs01
    May 23, 2018 at 8:45 a.m.

    Dark money has shown the light on the hanky panky legal system where Goodson can get a judge to issue a restraining order against ads that showed her in an unfavorable light. Truth? We can never expect it when politicians open their mouths.
    Goodson is the female John Kerry. Get in politics using your second husband's money to fund your campaign just like Kerry did when he married "up" to the billionaire ketchup queen.

  • Rupert
    May 23, 2018 at 9:07 a.m.

    You asked why anyone would vote for Judge Goodson. I don't know much about her but I voted for her because of the dark attack ads. I don't think freedom of speech allows snipers cloaked in secret. Seems like every election is now so full of lies that the lies win because we are not able to discern the real story. That is why newspapers are so important.

  • RobertBolt
    May 23, 2018 at 10:10 a.m.

    We have a right to anonymity, and we have a right to troll, and all of us must respect those rights. I cannot, however, recognize as legitimate the act of trolling anonymously, and I will always treat the anonymous troller as a craven creature of meritless fiction who is less credible than the worst attributable claim made about it.

  • GeneralMac
    May 23, 2018 at 10:21 a.m.

    BOLTAR despises the coward , anonymous , poster mrcharles ?

  • RobertBolt
    May 23, 2018 at 10:27 a.m.

    If you read my actual words, anonymous troll, you will see that I respect the right to anonymity and the freedom of speech that allows trolling, but I have no respect for the cowardly creature that combines the two: the anonymous troll. Unlike you, mrcharles is anonymous, but he is not also a troll.