It was interesting to read an article in Tulsa World about an order recently issued by the Oklahoma Bar Association's Committee on Judicial Elections. The committee ordered judicial candidate Eric Quandt to issue a public apology via Facebook for statements he made about incumbent Mary Fitzgerald's productivity.
A post on Fitzgerald’s campaign Facebook page Thursday quoted the committee’s findings, which read in part: “We find that (Quandt’s) statement of opinion as fact is offensive and a violation.”
The statement refers to his apparent claim that Fitzgerald is “the least productive Tulsa County judge” and was “coupled with assertions of fact as to (her) appellate record which was wrong by some 20 (percent).”
Quandt was directed to post on his Facebook page a retraction of his statements regarding Fitzgerald’s productivity, and to detail the committee’s finding that his representation was “a violation of judicial ethics.”
“The candidate, Eric Quandt, apologizes to Judge Fitzgerald for any negative implications resulting therefrom. It was an opinion stated only to a friend and was not intended as a fact of the matter asserted,” the committee’s prepared apology stated.
Quandt said last Friday that he had appealed the decision and requested emergency relief and a stay of the panel's order.
No matter what the outcome, it is fascinating that Facebook was the vehicle chosen by the committee to host the retraction.
Hat tip to Jim Calloway.