By Win Johnson
One of the great benefits of living in Alabama is the ability to vote for our judges; one last bastion of our Democratic Republic. But how to vote? Here are some questions to ask a candidate for judge so you’ll know. Would you share this w/other friends, particularly those in Alabama?
Our Judicial Election Climate Requires a New Litmus Test for Judges:
With the recent appointment of a new Justice to the Alabama Supreme Court, the malicious disciplinary trial of Chief Justice Roy Moore, and the upcoming season for candidates to announce runs for judicial office, it seemed timely to give the people of Alabama some questions that they should ask candidates and judges. Also, I’m concerned about the rule of law because it has lost its plumb line, and certain judges impose their will, instead of the law, upon the rest of us. I’m concerned about the consciences of judges. How do they deal with this dilemma? The 6 questions below are a litmus test, a new, higher bar, if you will, offered in the hope that we can elect judges who will stand for the law – without compromise. Actually, they represent what should always define a judge.
Most Alabamians know we’re in a judicial crisis, where federal judges regularly ignore their oath, the law, and the Constitution in order to enact (read “legislate”) their pet policy changes. Alabamians have so far been able to preserve the democratic process of electing our judges, and we have been successful in electing conservative judges. But recent developments have brought us face to face with a strange reality in the legal system, which is that for these conservative judges, strict adherence to the Constitution of the United States must give way to precedent from a higher court. But what if that precedent means the destruction of our federal system and the loss of the Constitution?
We have moved into a new realm with US Supreme Court cases like Obergefell on same sex marriage and the recent immigration opinions issued by the 9th and 4th Circuit Courts of Appeals, in which a handful of unelected judges issue proclamations from on high, as if they live on Mt. Olympus, changing the law and imposing their own personal, religious, moral viewpoint upon the nation. This rule by a few men (and women) over the rest of us they call “the rule of law,” when it is, of course, the opposite.
These judges’ words have become “the law,” like a king of old, whose word was “law.” I thought we as a nation had defeated such royal prerogative. In fact, I thought the legal profession should be first to stand against such. Too many judges simply roll along with the lawless proclamations from the “royal” Court on high, as if that Court were bound by no law, as if it were God. It is as if the guardians standing on the castle bulwarks for what we’ll call “King Rule of Law” don’t know that the enemy has tunneled under the walls, slit the King’s throat, & now sits on the throne snickering at the so-called conservatives standing guard, saying, “They think that they’re defending the rule of law.”
Therefore, we need a new litmus test for all judges, including conservatives. If you want to know where a judge or judicial candidate stands, ask him or her the following:
1.) Where is it written in the US Constitution that the US Supreme Court’s opinions become the “supreme law of the land?”
The answer: “It’s not there; the Court arrogated to itself that power over time. When a court claims final infallibility and brooks no disobedience, it has claimed godhood and abrogated its right as a court of law.” If the candidate fudges the answer saying, “We all have opinions with which we might disagree,” or, “It’s too complicated,” or asserts that the Court’s opinions are equivalent to “the supreme law of the land,” that candidate plans to sell out the Constitution at the first opportunity.
2.) Will you preserve precedent issued by the US Supreme Court, no matter how it undermines the US Constitution and law?
The answer: “No” plus elaboration. If the answer is yes or dances around the question, that candidate is a polluted spring. See Proverbs 25:26.
3.) Do you agree that Chief Justice Roy Moore was wrong in requiring proper procedure be followed in the Alabama case of API in light of Obergefell?
The answer: “No” plus elaboration. If the answer is yes, they don’t even know (or care about) what’s going on.
4.) Did you have anything to do with the prosecution of Roy Moore for judicial ethics violations? Or did you urge on that prosecution verbally (or in writing) with your colleagues in the legal community?
The answer: “No” to both questions. If the answer is yes to either question, that person threatens the future of Alabama’s judicial system and the rule of law. Oppose at all costs.
5.) When you stand before Almighty God on the Day of Final Judgement, do you think God will grant you judicial immunity for issuing an evil opinion or ruling as a judge because you were just following orders?
The answer: (Here is where the Church of Jesus Christ has failed to educate public officials.) The correct answer is “No, God will hold me accountable for my personal life and all my decisions as a public official/judge.” Even though God had ordained that his Son die for the world, Pontius Pilate was still guilty of sentencing an innocent man to death.
6.) What is your plan as a judge if told by a higher court to violate the US Constitution or undermine Alabama law in defiance of the Constitution?
The answer: At a minimum, it should be something to the effect of “My plan is to oppose the destruction of our constitutional republic, no matter the cost to my reputation, career, or professional standing in the Bar Association.” If they say they’ll recuse in the key cases that are destructive to the republic and the Constitution, then recognize that they plan on being AWOL in defending the law; that candidate is a polluted spring. If they don’t think a higher court is capable of violating the Constitution with its opinion, then re-ask Questions 1 and 2.
Anyone on a court or considering running for judicial office needs a plan and to face up to Jesus’ words:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” ~ Matthew 5:10, KJV.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” ~ Matthew 16:24-26, KJV.
Judges and judicial candidates, the legal world has a “jurisprudential” vice for you if you don’t kowtow to their agenda: “Do as we say, no matter how lawless it is, and we’ll keep you in your position. Otherwise, we’ll tighten the screws to squeeze you out and damage all that you hold dear in your legal career.” Do you have a plan? Or will you go AWOL and recuse instead of stand to protect the people, the law, the Constitution, and, most importantly, your conscience from defilement?
In a moral sense, some Justices on the Alabama Supreme Court owe their positions to the illegitimate attack waged against Chief Justice Moore, defender of the rule of law. Will you continue his legacy of fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law? What are you prepared to do?
Win Johnson has been an attorney for the State of Alabama for 30 years. He served 28 years as a JAG Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, active duty & reserve, and he was senior staff attorney for Alabama Chief Justices Perry O. Hooper, Sr., and Roy Moore (1st term) for almost 9 years. Until recently, he was the Legal Director for the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts. He’s also the author of Courting Votes in Alabama, a history of the 1994 Alabama Chief Justice election. He lives in Montgomery with his wife, Beth, and daughter, Anna.