Michael Kinsley famously wrote that “a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.”
Hector Lombana may have inadvertently committed a “Kinsley gaffe” when he penned an unusually candid op-ed for the DBR in which he asserted:
The key to maintaining order in Miami-Dade judicial elections has been the informal partnership between the Cuban American Bar Association, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, the Dade County Bar Association and other minority bar associations. This has resulted in informal mechanisms of peer pressure, fundraising, campaign practices supervision and political activism that have historically succeeded in dissuading and defeating unworthy candidates for judicial office.
This “informal partnership,” however, may be fracturing.
First, Miami-Dade chapter President of FAWL, Kristy M. Johnson, writes in to clarify that it is not FAWL who may have such an informal partnership, just FAWL members who act purely as individuals in conjunction with other individuals acting purely as individual CABA members:
I have discussed this issue with Mr. Lombana and understand that his sincere intention was to highlight FAWL’s candidate-neutral activism and the actions of FAWL’s individual members, in conjunction with the individual members of other voluntary bar associations, in the judicial election process.
Next, the local black bar association — as an organization — made some non-Hispanic endorsements, leading to a public denunciation by…..you guessed it:
Former CABA president Hector Lombana of Gamba & Lombana in Coral Gables slammed the black bar for supporting a candidate he called “unworthy and unqualified.”
“This raises the question as to what the motivation was for the endorsement, especially since the person who was endorsed happens to be black,” he said. “This also raises questions about the credibility of their endorsements. Maybe they should just stop endorsing candidates.”
Both CABA leaders, Garcia-Linares and Lombana, said they were speaking only for themselves and not the organization.
Lombana said he was most offended because CABA has worked to protect qualified black and non-Hispanic judges from being targeted by Hispanic judicial hopefuls.
He noted that although CABA does not endorse specific candidates, the organization strongly denounces challenges it perceives as race-based. In the past, leaders of CABA have individually rallied around candidates considered qualified, siding with black or white candidates even when they’ve been opposed by Hispanic lawyers.
So, to summarize: Hector says there is an informal partnership among local minority bar associations. Then the local FAWL Prez writes in to walk that back, saying we are talking only about individuals, not organizations.
Then the black bar as an organization endorses certain non-Hispanic candidates, leading to a denunciation by Hector, speaking individually but who reportedly said that “CABA [the organization?] has worked to protect qualified black and non-Hispanic judges from being targeted by Hispanic judicial hopefuls.”
Good thing we’re nothing like Broward.