The press release states:
Print material circulated by an organization calling itself South Forward IE
PAC in support of a candidate for Circuit Court Judge of Hinds County has
been brought to the attention of the Special Committee. Mississippi law
prohibits a candidate for Judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals,
Circuit Court or Chancery Court Judge from aligning himself with any
candidate or candidates for any other office or with any political faction or any
political party at any time during any primary or general election campaign.
Mississippi law requires that campaigns for judicial office shall be nonpartisan
and without any connection to a political party, political parties and any
committee or political committee affiliated with a political party. The
Committee finds that the materials in question improperly align a candidate
for Circuit Court Judge with a candidate for another political office and violate
the intention that judicial campaigns for Circuit Court Judge shall be
The Mississippi Supreme Court created the committee in 2002. The Associated Press reported:
Jay Parmley, the executive director of South Forward of Columbia, South Carolina, says the criticism is off base because his group is independent and can't coordinate with ShamsidDeen or Childers. He said that the First Amendment and U.S. Supreme Court decisions mean that his group has a right to say what it wants about candidates.
"The candidate did not link himself to the Democratic Party," Parmley said Saturday. "The candidate did not link himself to another candidate. We are not an entity of the Democratic Party."
If a candidate refused to comply, someone could file a complaint with the state Commission on Judicial Performance, or the commission could take the matter up itself. Proceedings are secret unless the commission recommends to the state Supreme Court that a judge be disciplined or retired.
Parmley said South Forward has spent $50,000 to $80,000 in Mississippi this year to help Childers, including door-to-door leafleting, phone banks and mailers. He said that South Forward looks for local candidates to support, saying ShamsidDeen is "the right kind of judge" to line up with the group's philosophy.
South Forward's leaders include former Mississippi state Senator Gloria Williamson, who is also a former chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party.