An Arkansas judge issued a restraining order Monday barring several local television stations from broadcasting a controversial campaign ad linking a state Supreme Court justice to a Fayetteville lawyer who lavished the justice with personal gifts.
The judge who issued the decision, known as a TRO, has accepted campaign contributions from the attorney at issue in the ad, and his wife has substantial business connections to the embattled justice.
The ad in question criticized Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson for accepting some $50,000 in gifts, including a trip to Italy and a stint on a private yacht, from an attorney named W.H. Taylor. Though Taylor is not named in the ad, he was the source of each gift cited in the package. Goodson is running for reelection to the state Supreme Court and faces two opponents in the May 22 election. Though judicial elections in Arkansas are nonpartisan, Goodson is generally regarded as a liberal jurist.
Circuit Judge Doug Martin issued a TRO against the group which produced the ad Monday, claiming Goodson had plausibly shown the allegations in the ad are false and defamatory. UCLA School of Law professor Eugene Volokh, one of the nation’s leading First Amendment scholars, argued the order is unconstitutionalat his eponymous Volokh Conspiracy blog.
Read more at the Daily Caller.