Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Waller sidles up to big business, Banks refuses to, campaign picks up

Yesterday at the Stennis Institute/Capitol Press Corps forum, the candidates for the Central District Supreme Court spot squared off over campaign finance.  The issue arose because sitting Chief Justice Bill Waller has been taking money from political action committees (PACs), while his challenger, Rep. Earle Banks, has not.

Banks' response to Waller's acceptance of PAC money is was powerful, especially considering how former Chief Justice Jim Smith lost his seat (in the very same Central District) 4 years ago:
“With no disrespect, there’s a lot of PAC money been going around,” Banks said. “And it’s not for Earle Banks. And that’s fine. Because Earle Banks is going to be the candidate for the people of Mississippi … blue-collar workers, to everybody whether you’re in the ivory tower or whether you’re the man on the street, whether construction or whatever. I will be fair in hearing your case before this court.”
The conventional wisdom is that former Chief Justice Jim Smith lost his seat due in large part to a perception that the Mississippi Supreme Court had been bought and paid for by big business, and wasn't being fair to average Mississippians.  The fundraiser invitation linked below is going to add fuel to the idea that Waller is a sock puppet for corporations and the wealthy, not the average Mississippian.

Follow the jump to see the Waller fundraiser invitation at issue.

Waller Fundraiser Invitation

That invite reads like someone who is trying to lose a race in the Central District in an Obama election year, which has a BVAP of 53%.


James said...

Nice commentary from you Matt, since you weren't there. But - not surprisingly you leave out the more interesting facts that came from this exchange.

After Banks raised the issue of Waller taking PAC money, in the questions part of the program, Banks was asked if he has accepted PAC money as a legislator.

Banks acknowledged that he had - but that he didn't think it ok for a judge, although acknowledging that both were perfectly legal. But Banks, in trying to address why one was ok and the other (in his opinion, not) was that he thought judges should be representing people, not corporations.

He failed to address the question - while a legislator, was he not elected to "represent people"?

Matt Eichelberger said...

I can watch a video and read a press report, James. I also hold Supreme Court justices to a higher standard than legislators. So do many members of the legal profession and the public at large.