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Our judicial election climate requires a new litmus test for judges

Win Johnson

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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:

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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.

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Opinion | Conservatives must not leave the culture war battle to “summertime soldiers and sunshine patriots”

Will Ainsworth

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There are certain fundamental truths in life that neither the liberal elite nor the left-wing media nor the activists federal courts can change no matter how hard they try.

For example, I know that marriage ordained by God can only occur between a man and a woman.  I know that individuals should use the rest room correlating to the gender they were born with and not the one they pretend to be.  And I know that tearing down all of the historic statues, memorials, and markers in the world will not erase our history – it simply prevents future generations from learning the lessons it offers.

The fact of the matter is that our nation is engaged in a prolonged culture war in which the liberals extremists on the east and west coasts of the United States want to dictate the morals, values, and bedrock beliefs of everyone who lives in-between.

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We must not let them win.

The Declaration of Independence says that our rights are endowed by our Creator and that the freedom for independence is entitled by the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”

I believe the Creator referenced in this revered document is the God to whom we, as Christians,  devote our lives and spirits and the same God the founders worshipped when they held regular prayer and church services in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber, a practice that continued until after the Civil War.

If you agree, as the founders did, that God is the basis of our nation, we need only to look at Genesis to see His original plan for marriage – one man represented by Adam, and one woman represented by Eve.

Marriage is an institution created and ordained by God.  It was not created by man, government, or an activist federal judge.

Every society that has allowed the marriage covenant to be destroyed eventually withered away and vanished.  Our society is slipping away, and it is time to take a stand.

We must also hold the line against those who are working to mainstream crossdressers and transvestites by making accommodations that include allowing them to use the public restrooms of their choice.  Even worse, some school systems across the nation are allowing minors who claim to be “transgender” to shower in facilities reserved for the opposite sex.

Gender is not a choice.  It is a fact that is determined by biology and by God, not by how masculine or feminine you feel when you wake up in the morning.  Dressing like a pirate doesn’t make you a pirate, dressing like an astronaut doesn’t make you an astronaut, and dressing like the opposite sex doesn’t make you a man or a woman.

For that same reason, I fully support President Trump’s ban on allowing “transgender” soldiers to serve in the U.S. armed forces.  The purpose of the military is to protect our national interests, repel attacks on our country, and preserve peace through strength.  Accomplishing these missions becomes infinitely more difficult when military leaders must worry about G.I. Joe demanding to be treated like G.I. Jane.

The culture war has  prompted liberals to reach into our nation’s history and demand the removal of any statue, marker, or relic that offends their delicate sensibilities.  Colleges have painted over murals of our founding fathers and other groups are vandalizing statues relating to Christopher Columbus, Robert E. Lee, and the Buffalo Soldiers, an African-American military regiment that fought against Native Americans who resisted the settlement of the Great Plains.

Demanding that men and women born more than two centuries ago must strictly conform to the accepted traditions and social structures of today is patently unfair and intellectually dishonest.

Because radical liberal elements are working to tear down monuments to our past and erase entire sections of our shared American history, I was proud to join my fellow lawmakers in passing the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, which prevents the removal of any memorial that is at least 40-years-old,.

If conservatives are going to win the culture war, we must elect public officials who are willing to speak the truth, abandon political correctness, and stand toe-to-toe against the liberals who attack us.  I think this column proves I am willing to do all of those things.

The consequences of losing the culture war are too dire to leave the battle to what Thomas Paine called  “summertime soldiers and sunshine patriots.”

If elected your lieutenant governor, I will shoulder the conservative fight and preserve the Alabama values that make our state such a great place to live, work, and raise our children.

State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R – Guntersville) is a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.  Elected to the Legislature in 2014, Ainsworth currently represents Alabama’s House District 27, which includes portions of Marshall, DeKalb, and Blount counties.

 

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Opinion | Senator Rusty Glover: The people’s voice

Rusty Glover

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As a senator, it has been my highest priority to listen to my constituents on a variety of issues which affect their daily lives. These conversations have led me to champion Daylight Saving Time resolutions, to fight every single attempt to raise taxes, to defend the life of the unborn, and to lead the repeal of Common Core standards in education.

Over the past few years, my constituents became a unified chorus when it came to the repeal of Common Core standards in education. Concerns came from frustrated parents and grandparents who did not agree with the confusing methods and procedures in subjects like math and English and worried about their children’s future.

It would have been easier to simply agree with my constituents and move on – but I could not do that. As an educator myself, it became apparent action was needed – and I was determined to take that action and repeal common core.

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I sponsored the bills to end common core in Alabama not once, but twice – senate bill 60in 2016, and senate bill 101 in 2015, and co-sponsored the bill three times prior to that. While backroom deals and compromises killed my attempts to defeat Common Core even before they came to the Senate floor, I continued to fight for the voices of parents and educators.

This is why as Lieutenant Governor, I will not allow backroom politics that shut out the voice of the people who we are sent to represent.

Educators and parents alike agree that the need for high standards remains, but question whether Common Core is the way to solve the problem for our teachers and our students. I do not believe it is.

Tackling issues with the needs of the community at the forefront will allow teachers and parents to work together to meet the needs of children. This is the best way to allow our children to flourish in their future careers.

As Lieutenant Governor I will continue to evaluate the state of education in Alabama – that’s why I believe in having roundtables across the state with every concerned parent, educator, and administrator is fundamental to having better education policy in the Alabama legislature.

Glover is a republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama. As a native of Mobile, Glover has served in the Alabama Legislature for 16 years as a member of Alabama House of Representatives (2002-2006) and Senate (2006-present). Glover is a graduate of B.C. Rain High School, Faulkner State Community College and the University of South Alabama. He retired after 25 years of teaching from Mary G. Montgomery High School in Semmes, where he lives with his wife, Connie. Together they have two daughters, Kellie and Katie; a son-in-law, John McGraw; and a new grandson, Beau Monroe McGraw. He is a member of Wilmer Baptist Church in Wilmer, AL. Visit rustyglover.com to learn more.

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Opinion | House passes VA bill, funds Choice Program

Martha Roby

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The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed S. 2372, the VA MISSION Act, taking another critical step towards fulfilling our promise to make the Department of Veterans Affairs work for the men and women who have selflessly served our great nation. I was proud to support the legislation, and I am very pleased that it addresses a number of important pieces of the large VA puzzle.

First and foremost, the VA MISSION Act extends and makes permanent funding for the VA Choice Program that many veterans depend on to receive care. You may have heard that Choice funding was set to expire at the end of May, and this bill prevents that from happening. In both densely populated and rural states alike, it can be very challenging for the VA medical centers to properly care for all veterans in a timely fashion, particularly when specialists are required. The Choice Program is an attempt to bridge this gap by allowing veterans to access private-sector care at VA expense if they have to wait longer than 30 days for a VA appointment or if they live more than 40 miles from a VA health care facility. It has been recorded that 550,000 veterans have used Choice so far this year, and in 2017, 14,790 Alabamians enrolled. Therefore, I am extremely glad that the House has taken action to ensure that this important program is funded.

Secondly, the VA MISSION Act expands the VA’s Post-9/11 Caregiver Program to include veterans of all eras. Currently, only caregivers of veterans from the post-9/11 era are eligible for monthly stipends through the VA, and I believe expanding this program to caregivers of veterans from all eras will help ensure that more veterans receive the help they need.

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Finally, officials at the VA have said that their current physical footprint includes “hundreds of outdated or obsolete facilities,” and many of these facilities are often not in close proximity to large veteran populations. This is a gross waste and misuse of precious resources. Congressman Phil Roe, the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and author of the VA MISSION Act, said he believes a process free from bureaucratic politics is needed “to fix the massive and misaligned footprint” of the VA. The bill directs President Trump to establish a team to review the current VA operations across the country and make recommendations about ways we can modernize, improve, and streamline facilities and the services they provide. We can do better than this for our veterans, and I believe we will.

Before the House voted on the bill, 38 veterans groups issued a letter of support for the legislation and called it “a major step towards making improvements to and investments in the VA health care system… so that veterans have access to care when and where they need it.” I agree, and I believe this bill will improve the lives of veterans. Fortunately, I believe the Senate will act quickly on this important piece of legislation, and the President has suggested he will waste no time signing it into law.

You know as well as I do there’s no “quick fix” for the problems plaguing the VA – of course, I wish there was. Nonetheless, I will continue to support commonsense measures like the VA MISSION Act to deliver positive change for veterans. I have heard from countless veterans in Alabama’s Second District about the continued need for VA changes to improve the care they receive. We owe the men and women who have served our country the absolute best care possible, and I won’t stop fighting to achieve this. I hope we will soon see the VA MISSION Act signed into law.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

 

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Our judicial election climate requires a new litmus test for judges

by Win Johnson Read Time: 7 min
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