We Support Tim Cullen for Supreme Court
This blog is mostly read by lawyers, but around election time, a lot of voters (who are not necessarily lawyers) visit our blog to learn about the candidates running for appellate court positions. This year there is only one contested appellate court race. That’s the race between Tim Cullen and Robin Wynne for an open seat on the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Before this election cycle, the Arkansas Appeals Blog had never endorsed a judicial (or any) candidate. That changed when, in February, our good friend and mentor, Tim Cullen, decided to run for a position on the Arkansas Supreme Court. We have known Tim for the past seven years. We know Tim to be an outstanding appellate lawyer, a zealous advocate for his clients, and a professional in every sense of the word. Tim is also a family man who always puts his three children first.
In addition to Tim’s character and integrity, Tim has the experience necessary to be an outstanding Supreme Court Justice. Immediately after law school, Tim went to work for for two years for the late Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Terry Crabtree. Once Tim entered private practice, he focused his practice heavily on appellate work. In fact, during his 15 years in private practice, Tim has been lead counsel on approximately 150 appellate cases, before the Arkansas Court of Appeals, the Arkansas Supreme Court, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. (By way of comparison, a Westlaw search reveals that Tim’s opponent had been lead counsel on only four appellate briefs during that three decades he had been a licensed attorney.) Tim’s experience is part of the reason the readers of Soirée magazine voted Tim one of the best appellate lawyers in Arkansas.
The Attack on Tim’s Integrity by an Out-of-State PAC is Appalling
We never doubted that we had made the right decision in choosing to endorse Tim Cullen. Given the events of this past week, we are more confident than ever of our decision to support Tim.
In the past week, an out-of-state PAC has spent an estimated $400,000 on vicious, dishonest attack ads against Tim Cullen. This is about twice what the two candidates will spend combined on their entire campaigns. The PAC’s ads claim that Tim Cullen believes child pornography is a victimless crime. If that sounds so outrageous that it couldn’t possibly be true, it’s because it’s so outrageous it couldn’t possibly be true. The PAC knows it’s not true. Judge Wynn knows it’s not true. However, Judge Wynne did not repudiate the ad. Instead, he just watched and received the benefit as an honorable man had his character assassinated.
I don’t need to go through an explanation of what makes the ad so wrong on so many levels, because several other lawyers and writers have already done so: [updated 5/17/14 to include additional articles and commentary]
- FactCheck.org calls the ad “beyond the pale” because the ad “distorts the record in a blatant appeal to fear and emotion.”
- Dan Greenberg at The Arkansas Project goes through a thorough analysis of not only why the ad is untrue, but also why the attack ad is an attack on the judiciary. He concludes that “Wynne’s conduct makes me think he should be kept far away from the bench.“
- Max Brantley with The Arkansas Times writes that “Wynne’s failure to repudiate the secret money and the anti-American message of the ads from which he benefits raises fair questions about his fitness to serve.”
- Jennifer Wells at hawglawblawg explains the entire campaign finance system for judicial elections in a very witty post that explains the problem with out-of-state money and the problem with the content of the ads.
- Jennifer Flinn at Arkansas Legal Pad explains that attorneys often represent clients they don’t agree with, because that’s their job.
- Matt Campbell of the Blue Hog Report writes that “[a]nyone who might ever find him- or herself in front of the Arkansas Supreme Court (which, honestly, could be pretty much anyone) should be outraged by the idea that a judge could have deep financial ties to the other side of your case and you would never know it.”
- John Brummett wrote yesterday, “I know Robin Wynne a little and like him. But I’d prefer a Supreme Court justice who didn’t get his robe by passively riding the coattails of cowardly smear artists.”
Listen: When you have Dan Greenberg, Matt Campbell, and John Brummett all on the same page on a topic, you should take note.
You’ll notice a variety of people condemning Robin Wynne for his refusal to repudiate the ad. Instead of repudiating the ad, he released one of those overly lawyered statements that had a lot of words in it but didn’t really say anything. (He claims not to have known about the ad, but the evidence brings that claim into question.) When Tim Cullen called and asked him to repudiate the ad, Robin Wynne literally hung up on Tim.
[5/17/14 UPDATE:] Both candidates were invited to attend a rally on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol at noon on Thursday. The event was attended by approximately 100 lawyers, and included many prominent speakers, including former Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Annabelle Imber Tuck. Tim Cullen accepted the invitation and gave a very forceful speech. Judge Wynne rejected the invitation to attend and speak. As Tim said in his speech, “only one person benefits from these ads: Judge Robin Wynne. I stand here in utter disbelief that any judge would allow this group and their vile tactics and their complete disregard for the constitution to carry the ball for their campaign.” We couldn’t agree more. (Click here to watch the video from the beginning, or click here to watch this particular quote.)
Join Us in Voting for Tim Cullen for Our Arkansas Supreme Court
Tim Cullen is a personal friend of ours. He is a good, decent, honorable man. He is the antithesis of what these groups claim he is. I hope you’ll join us in casting a vote FOR TIM CULLEN for Arkansas Supreme Court.