AR: Late-Hour Donations Came From Out-of-State Attorneys

The unsuccessful campaign for Arkansas chief justice of Justice Courtney Goodson received $40,675 in last-minute donations from attorneys at several out-of-state law firms with ties to Goodson’s spouse, lawyer John Goodson, according to The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The newspaper reported this year that six class-action law firms were among the most generous campaign donors to the court’s six justices; it said Goodson was the biggest recipient of such donations, and her husband’s firm was one of the big donors. She has stepped aside from hearing litigation tied to her husband’s firm. The Democrat-Gazette’s articles have been part of an increased focus on money in judicial elections that set the stage for debate over possible reform and a legislative hearing scheduled for Wednesday (see Gavel Grab).

Goodson was defeated by Circuit Judge Dan Kemp. Goodson, according to the newspaper, “has decided other class-action lawsuits that have helped maintain Arkansas’ rules and procedures for those types of cases. The state’s procedures are among the friendliest in the nation to plaintiffs’ lawyers such as John Goodson, according to law professors.”