Texas have always kind of led the way in that dubious distinction.” The article also notes that several candidates are using campaign materials formerly thought inappropriate for a judicial campaign. For example, Judge Bonnie Wheaton has passed out buttons saying, “Wheaton for Supreme Court -- Pick the chick.” Judge Morton Zwick, who is also running for a seat on the Supreme Court, has distributed bottles of water labeled “Justice Mort Zwick Water…Clear Thinking and Clear Drinking.” Ken Armstrong, Judicial Races in Money, Limelight Campaign Funds Flood Supreme Court Elections, Chi. Trib., March 6, 2000.
Article discusses the migration of judicial candidates in Texas to the Republican Party, stating, “In this year’s races for the state high courts, voters will mostly choose between Republicans of different stripes, as candidates from across the philosophical spectrum have migrated into the GOP primary.” According to D’Ann Johnson, executive director of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association, “In statewide races, it’s a one-party state, just like it used to be a one- party Democratic state. If you want to get heard, you run as an `R’.” The Texas Republican Party is challenging the credentials of some judicial candidates to run as Republicans. Pete Slover, State Judge Hopefuls Flock to GOP, The Dallas Morning News, March 10, 2000.
Op-ed argues that “As long as Texans hang…to the notion that judges…ought to be elected by the people, it will remain the responsibility of the people to find out something about judicial candidates before going to the voting booth.” The author warns it is important for voters to realize that two candidates for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals -- Judges Tom Price and Jim Wallace -- have been reprimanded by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct. Price was admonished for hearing two DWI cases in which his father-in-law was the defendant, and for falsely claiming the endorsements of several associations. Wallace was rebuked for giving special treatment to a defendant. J.R. Labbe, Court Races: Why They Need Scrutiny, Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX), March 30, 2000.
7. Op-ed by Joe Hallett reports that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and other business groups are mounting a campaign to defeat state Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick, who wrote the majority opinion in the court’s decision to overturn a tort reform statute. According to the piece, since judicial candidates in Ohio are prohibited from discussing issues that may appear before the court, and must adhere to strict spending limits, they “rely on independent groups to be their campaign messengers.” For example, an insurance industry-funded group has already aired radio attack ads in Ohio against Resnick, and the Chamber of Commerce has brought in three consultants to outline tactics used to help elect business-friendly justices in Texas, Louisiana and Michigan. Joe Hallett, High Court Race Conjures Low Blows, The Columbus Dispatch, April 2, 2000.