Ethics & Justice

Dear Governor Gina Raimondo:  Stand on Principle!

You demonstrated principled leadership in responding to the Covid 19 pandemic.  Please show the same principled leadership by upholding the ethics laws.  Do NOT appoint a current lawmaker to the RI Supreme Court!  


Moreover, please strongly consider appointing the first person of color to the RI Supreme Court!     

Reference: Raimondo’s Opportunity to Match Her Rhetoric - MINDSETTER™ Ray Rickman (GoLocalProv 6-27-2020). 

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Ethics Denied: An Ethics Loophole Carved out for Lawmakers.


The Ethics Commission, ignoring the legal advice of its own staff, voted to blast a loop-hole in the ethics laws that, for decades, required lawmakers to wait one year before seeking a judgeship.  This decision permits sitting Senator Erin Lynch Prata, Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to seek and be appointed as a RI Supreme Court Justice.  


If Lawmakers can use their power and influence to finagle a seat on the Supreme Court, justices will increasingly be chosen based on who they know, and not what they know.

Over time, a highly politicized Supreme Court will undermine public faith in its legitimacy and authority as it did a number of years ago, amid terrible scandal.  

Reference: My Turn: Sen. James C. Sheehan: Seeking judgeship, breaching ethics norms (Providence Journal 6-13-2020).  


Justice Delayed: Strongly Consider the First Person of Color for the RI Supreme Court

The RI Supreme Court has significant influence over our basic liberties and general social order.  As such, our highest court should reflect, in full diversity of thought and background, the people its decisions affect. 


The state of Rhode Island has never had a person of color serve on the RI Supreme Court.  Given the legitimate demand for change, Governor Raimondo should strongly consider appointing a person of color, if nominated, to our currently all-white Supreme Court bench. 


Such an appointment would be a great symbolic and substantive act which would serve as a down payment on moving Rhode Island down the [long] road toward social equality. 

If a person of color cannot be appointed now, then when?

Reference: Rare R.I. Supreme Court Vacancy Raises Questions of Race, Power By Edward Fitzpatrick (Boston Globe 7-2-2020)