The Alabama State Bar has condemned the “Swift Boat” tactics that were used by the Shaw campaign against Deborah Bell Paseur, the Democratic nominee for the state Supreme Court. The state bar said a telephone “push poll” was used to “spread misinformation and disinformation about one of the candidates running for a seat on the state Supreme Court.” Obviously, that candidate was Deborah Bell Paseur and the information in the calls was totally false.
Voters were getting “push poll” telephone calls, claiming the Alabama State Bar had conducted a judicial evaluation that gave Deborah Bell Paseur an “F” grade and that the bar’s membership is primarily affiliated with the Democratic Party. Again, both statements were totally false. A push poll is a dirty tricks campaign technique whereby an organization tries to influence a voter under the guise of conducting a real poll. Instead, it’s a form of telemarketing-based propaganda. The President of the State Bar, Mark White, a Birmingham lawyer, made this statement:
Let me make this very clear: the state bar does not conduct an evaluation poll of any judicial candidates and the state bar has no way of knowing the political affiliations of its members. These falsehoods and misrepresentations are nothing short of reprehensible.
Mark communicated with both candidates about this matter and shared the bar’s concern about the sleazy tactics with the Judicial Oversight Committee. Mark also said Alabama’s voters should not be misled by special interest groups who use lies and distortion to attack judges. Such attacks are examples of how far third party support groups are willing to go to win. He added:
It is unfortunate that civility and intelligence have been replaced by a mean-spirited and misleading approach to the judicial election process that is truly unconscionable.
From a historical perspective, interest group involvement usually spikes as Election Day nears. Today, in states like Alabama that use elections to select judges, campaign costs have risen exponentially, television advertising has become a predominant feature in many campaigns. Special interest groups actively campaign for or against specific candidates. With increasing frequency, these special interest groups play an active role in judicial elections. Mark correctly says that voters who have questions about judicial campaign conduct should contact retired Circuit Court Judge William R. Gordon of Montgomery who co-chairs the Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee.
The 15,756-member Alabama State Bar is dedicated to promoting the professional responsibility, competence and satisfaction of its members; improving the administration of justice; and increasing public understanding and respect for the law.
Either the Shaw campaign was behind these dirty tricks or it was the work of front groups backed by oil, insurance, and drug companies which are funneling money into the state and trying to defeat Judge Deborah Bell Paseur. In either case, these sorts of dirty tricks can’t be tolerated. Hopefully, the election laws will be changed next year and these type organizations banned in Alabama.
Source: Alabama State Bar News Release
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.