Kentucky editorial roundup

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 15, 2014 at 4:05 pm •  Published: July 15, 2014
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Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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July 15

Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on judicial candidates and politics:

A federal judge in Kentucky is being asked to strike down a gag rule on Kentucky lawyers that prevents them from saying what political party they belong to when they are running for judgeships.

If recent precedent matters, that means the courts will probably comply with his request and open the door for candidates running in the state's non-partisan judicial races to campaign as members of political parties.

This case comes out of Northern Kentucky where Robert Winter Jr. sent out fliers identifying himself as a Republican and three of his opponents as Democrats, The Courier-Journal reported Monday. He became the subject of complaints filed with the state's Judicial Conduct Commission.

He now has sued in federal court to block the commission from taking action against him.

In recent years, the courts have found that restrictions on candidates violate the First Amendment right to free speech.

"I am not convinced that there is much of anything we can keep anyone from saying," said Steve Wolnitzek, the commission's chair.

That's probably a good thing because infringement upon people's rights to free speech, in general, is a bad idea.

For many judges and judicial candidates, savvy voters know a lot about their politics, anyway.

But if and when the rule is struck down, lawyers ought to tread lightly when it comes to campaigning based upon party affiliation. Such brazen politicking would rightly give voters concern about whether a judge could be impartial when it comes to ruling on political issues.

Luckily, the voters in Northern Kentucky got it right when they rejected Mr. Winter and his blatantly political campaign, relegating him to a fifth-place finish out of five candidates.

Online:

http://www.courier-journal.com

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July 13

Herald-Leader, Lexington, Kentucky, on climate change:

Laughter rolled across the airwaves and Internet last week in response to state Sen. Brandon Smith's statements about Mars and climate change.

The Republican from Hazard spoke during a July 3 meeting of the Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment. The panel, which has a leading role in shaping Kentucky's energy policy, lived up to its reputation for unintentional comedy.

What stood out most, though, was the pathos — a display of self-deception that a Greek tragedy would envy.

If "we can just hold the line in Kentucky for a couple more years," insisted Smith.

"The light at the end of the tunnel," echoed fellow Hazard resident, Democratic Rep. Fitz Steele, " is we've got two more years to put up with this fellow."

No matter how much some Kentuckians may wish, the pressure to address climate change will not end with Barack Obama's presidency.

Neither will the shift away from coal-fired power that's already happening, even in Kentucky.

The Environmental Protection Agency's decision to set easily met expectations for states where the economy is heavily dependent on coal-fired power is a tribute to the Beshear administration's arguments. Only Montana would be allowed a higher average carbon output than Kentucky, Lyons said.

Yet, Smith derided the Beshear administration's successful effort to sway the EPA rules in Kentucky's favor as a "white flag" of "surrender."

The satisfying fantasy that Kentucky can defy federal environmental standards was another recurring theme.