Justice running unfair, racially charged ads

November 2, 2012 

It's appalling that a justice on Kentucky's Supreme Court would resort to inflaming the basest racial fears and prejudice.

But that is what Will T. Scott is doing — for the second election in a row.

The Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee has said a Scott commercial is false and misleading and appears to be "designed to appeal to racial prejudice."

The ad repeatedly juxtaposes images of black convicted criminals with those of pregnant white women, even though the women have no connection to the cases mentioned in the ad.

Scott's ad, accusing his challenger, Appeals Court Judge Janet Stumbo, of siding with "criminals 59 percent of the time" when she was on the Supreme Court, "misrepresents the role of a judge or justice, which is to base decisions on the law and not take sides," the committee said.

Also, the statistic cited by Scott excludes many cases in which Stumbo ruled. The committee also found that a newspaper ad by Scott about a fetal homicide ruling was false and misleading.

Concerns about the corrosive effects of campaign ads such as Scott's in 2004 when he unseated Stumbo sparked creation of the committee. The nonprofit, non-partisan group tries to protect the integrity and dignity of judicial races by encouraging candidates to voluntarily abide by ethical standards struck down by the courts.

The panel also criticized one of Stumbo's ads. It was about a case in which Scott was the only justice who was for overturning a child abuse conviction. One of the young victims had eaten feces. The committee faulted Stumbo for suggesting the children were starving, when the court record referred only to hunger.

In response — and this is a significant distinction — Stumbo pulled her ad off the air. Scott keeps running his disgraceful appeals.

Scott also apparently has failed to file his last pre-election campaign finance report on time — an atrocious omission by a veteran political candidate and justice.

Scott insults the intelligence and decency of the people he's asking to vote for him. Eastern Kentuckians should show who they really are by returning Stumbo to the Supreme Court.

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