Analysis: The most difficult selections on the ballot Tuesday are the various judicial offices. Sadly, it seems this happens by design with rules specific to the judiciary that allow candidates to avoid declaring political affiliations, receiving endorsements from the parties or speaking on any issue that may come before the court, but at least one rule demands that candidates not “knowingly, or with reckless disregard for the truth, make any false or misleading statement.”
Candidate Eric Quandt has so failed in truth with such reckless abandonment that he has been officially rebuked by the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Committee on Judicial Elections in his attacks on Judge Mary Fitzgerald.
The Committee even wrote his apology and demanded he publish it on Facebook which, to date, Tulsa Today has not found. Apparently Quandt operates on the Barack Obama election strategy of “stop me if you can.”
The Committee’s Order to Quandt reads:
“Any and all previous representations that Judge Fitzgerald is the least productive judge in Tulsa County is herein retracted and withdrawn. The issue was presented to the Committee of Judicial Elections, which found this representation to be a violation of judicial ethics. The candidate, Eric Quandt, apologizes to Judge Fitzgerald for any negative implications resulting therefrom.”
That is not all Quandt should apologize for.
His massive yard sign campaign misleads the public with the apparent title of District Judge, an office he hopes to win, but has never held. Quandt has served as a Workers Compensation Judge – a significantly smaller responsibility in a fundamentally failed system now in reform.
It is nice to know in the small logos displayed that Quandt received support from union workers of the AFL-CIO (NEOLC) and the Transport Workers (Local 514) which one would think qualifies as a “political endorsement” and thus another violation of the rules.
Apparently the Committee for Judicial Elections got Quandt’s attention to some degree for, in his latest direct mail piece in very small print, the word “for” appears between his name and the title of the job he hopes to win. No notice of union support was found on that mailing.
Quandt claims to have “earned the respect of both businesses and individuals,” but from his web site many named are raving radical Leftists and others, like Mike Ritze, just leave us shaking our head.
The Committee further found, “We believe that a candidate cannot serve on a high plane as a judge unless he or she campaigns on a high plain. We find that the statement of opinion as fact is offensive and a violation. We are particularly troubled by the accusation that the opponent is the least productive Tulsa County Judge, based upon an examination of dockets only. This statement was coupled with assertions of fact as to appellate record which was wrong by some 20%.”
In Tulsa Today’s studied opinion, there is a serious problem in judicial races. Some special judicial rules do help, but many hide the nature and character of the incumbent and the opponent. Quandt’s queering his campaign is only the second example. The first was a convoluted Oklahoma Supreme Court majority opinion that calls into question the meaning of election – when the vote occurs or at swearing in.
The overall result is more than the most popular attorney joke.The cost is public credibility. The question is how can “We the People” judge the judges at election if those engaged in the industry can’t impose fidelity to the law upon their own – how the heck can the public fix this?
Physicians (attorneys) heal thyself.
Editor’s Note: The Tulsa World also covered the Committee’s Order – click here for more.
Well written article.