BY BUDDY NEVINS
The political committee that helped defend incumbent judges in 2010 is ready to go to work again next year.
Citizens for A Strong Judiciary is the brainchild of consultant Judy Stern and lawyer H. Collins Forman. It remains open for business on the state election division website.
If incumbents face a challenge again, Stern and Forman are dedicated to using the committee as effectively as it was used last year.
They are both strong believers in a stable judiciary.
Forman is the son of real estate czar Hamilton Forman, who thought challenging an incumbent judge harmed the courts.
Stern worked decades ago for a number of lawyers including Public Defender Howard â€œHelp Me Howardâ€ Finkelstein, who was then in private practice. Her start in politics was, in part, kick started by Hamilton Forman.
Citizens was formed after a number of judges faced challenges based on a sleazy strategy of cynical ethic appeal. The challengers ran campaigns which emphasized their Jewish-sounding names. The hope was that Jewish voters were stupid enough to reject their non-Jewish, but more qualified incumbents.
Two challengers — Olga Levine and Freida Goldstein — really had Hispanic backgrounds and werenâ€™t born with Jewish names.
â€œSorry girls, but Jewish by injection does not count,â€ lawyer and Browardbeat.com columnist Sam Fields wrote at the time.
Citizens raised almost $22,000 from mostly downtown Fort Lauderdale lawyers. It was used for advertising mailed to likely voters. The group also helped organize a speaking bureau and met with the countyâ€™s opinion makers to generate support for the incumbents.
The challengers failed. The incumbents won
A great deal of the credit went to Stern and Forman. And if the flurry of challenges hit incumbents again next year, both are ready for the fight.