By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Tom Parker (R) won a major Federal court victory in his case challenging the Alabama judicial canons of conduct, which prevent a judge from exercising his free speech rights.
In a ruling issued by Judge W. Keith Watkins of the Middle District of Alabama in Parker v Judicial Inquiry Commission, the court found that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) complaint against Justice Parker was an attempt to have a government agency restrict Justice Parker’s free speech rights.
The SPLC brought a complaint against Justice Parker over comments he made on a Christian radio show. While the Judicial Inquiry Commission ultimately decided not to charge Justice Parker, Parker maintained his lawsuit.
Parker has served on the court since 2005 and challenged attempts made by the Southern Poverty Law Center to use JIC complaints to gag Alabama’s jurists.
Parker said, “The Southern Poverty Law Center has tried to throw me off the bench for giving my opinion on one of the most significant judicial issues of our time – a five-to-four Supreme Court decision forcing states to accept gay marriage without any apparent Constitutional authority to do so.”
Justice Parker continued, “Just as they did with Chief Justice Moore. I believe and continue to believe that the Obergefell decision, just like Roe v Wade, is a perversion of the Constitution to implement a radical left agenda the Founders would not have supported.”
Justice Parker is running in 2018 for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court against Lyn Stuart (R) who was appointed to the post after former Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) retired to run for the U.S. Senate. The JIC and the SPLC had orchestrated Moore’s suspension in 2016 for violating some of these same State canons of judicial conduct. The SPLC and JIC also conspired to remove Moore from the court in a previous term for acknowledging God with a Ten Commandments monument in the State Judicial Building. The SPLC sued to have the monument removed. The latest flap between the SPLC and Moore involved Moore’s opposition to same sex marriage.
Justice Parker said in a press statement, “If someone cannot vote for me because that’s what I believe, they should support one of my opponents. As a candidate for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, it is imperative that I have the ability to speak freely and let voters see how I differ from others seeking their vote.” Parker added, “And neither the Southern Poverty Law Center or any of their alt-Left allies will stop me.”
Parker’s press release described the SPLC as, “A left-wing group under attack for defining Bible Believing Christians and ideological conservatives as members of “hate groups” and for keeping millions of dollars in assets in offshore bank accounts.”
Parker was defended by Liberty Counsel, an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. Liberty Counsel and the SPLC have often found each other on the opposite sides of litigation.
The Republican primary for Chief Justice will be June 5, 2018.