Justice Hunstein was our speaker for Politics and Lunch today in Macon. She was introduced by Judge Tommy Day Wilcox. In responding to a question about the greatest threat to judicial independence, Justice Hunstein said that without question it is the impact of 527 groups on the election process. She did a beautiful job of explaining that judicial independence was so very important to our founding fathers because when we were a colony, the King chose the judges and set their salaries, so he had a great deal of control over them. Our ideal is that judges be independent from the political process- judges who apply the law to the facts without regard to the party affiliation of those before the court.
Justice Hunstein also talked about the impact of big money on judicial races. It seems that a number of corporations have tossed large sums of money into the 527 that is backing her opponent. She talked about a judge in another state who decided not to run rather than be faced with raising an estimated 7 million dollars to fund her campaign. The Georgia race will not be quite that expensive, though she estimates needing more than a million dollars. (By comparison, Leah Sears spent about $700,000 on her race.)
Campaign budgets are inflated by the need to talk to the voters, "to get the message out," as some would say. That means, television, mail and other forms of voter contact, including those robo-calls we all love. Thanks to the 2004 election, we all know what the term "swiftboat" means. When used as a verb, it means attacking someone, without regard for the truth, in a way that makes their greatest strength their greatest liability. Well, expect Justice Hunstein to be "swiftboated." Are we going to just stand by and let it happen? Is there any race where integrity is more important? Write the judge a check, if you can, and if you can't volunteer for her campaign. This one is really important.