By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
There is one man standing who has the power to declare every hint of political corruption in our state will face swift justice. That man is Judge Jacob Walker, III.
As the hands of time tick steadily toward March 28, he alone is the last man untarnished by Speaker Mike Hubbard’s continuous assaults.
Even before his indictment on 23 felony counts of public corruption, Hubbard employed every political trick, engaged every political friend and sought to destroy all foes real and imagined to avoid his day in court.
With the approach of what may be the devastating hour, Hubbard has become even more vicious. Like a wounded animal, he rips and tears at the air, praying to strike a fatal blow that will let him limp away, bloodied…but triumphant.
He has coddled many in the media, frightened most and used the power of his office in an attempt to silence others. Hubbard, by promise of reward or threat of punishment, has held the very government of Alabama hostage, to deny or delay his day in court.
Hubbard has put the Attorney General’s Office on trial in the court of public opinion and in the actual halls of justice, hoping to stain and even destroy the reputations of Luther Strange, W. Van Davis and Matt Hart, all in his attempt to escape justice. Unrelenting and without remorse, Hubbard has spared no one in his war of self-preservation. Honor, integrity, and the laws of the State be damned if it advanced his agenda by even one inch.
Judge Walker has shown a steady hand, moving with wisdom and restraint, even during the most shocking moments of defiance and mis-direction by Hubbard’s legal team.
Alabama is known for judges of historical importance, perhaps none more consequential than the legendary Federal jurist, Frank M. Johnson, Jr.
His obituary in The New York Times reads, “The judge set standards in the South and often in the nation on voting rights, employment discrimination, affirmative action, the rights of mental patients to adequate care, and prison inmates to protection from inhuman conditions. But it was his knell for Jim Crow that was revered and reviled.”
Judge Johnson stood rock-ribbed against the political corruption of his day, and in doing so, changed not only the face of Alabama, but the nation. The New York Times wrote:
“In that turbulent era, with the national conscience tottering, and a few courageous men and women asking Americans to decide what kind of people they wanted to be, Judge Johnson loomed as a towering figure, an uncompromising defender of civil liberties who came to be known as the Federal Judiciary’s most influential, innovative and controversial trial jurist.”
The Encyclopedia of Alabama notes, “Civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., called him ‘the man who gave true meaning to the word justice.’”
Judge Walker is a widely respect jurist, who is seen as unassailable, and unbowed like Johnson. But he must know like everyone has learned, that Hubbard will spare no principle or person to avoid facing a jury of his peers.
Recently, the prosecution turned over some 1,511 pages of evidence to Hubbard’s defense. These documents will substantiate the charges against Hubbard. The public has only seen around 40 pages of emails, which paint a disturbing picture of a selfish, whining man, begging others to help him make more money in a scheme to use his pubic office for personal gain. In those emails, there wasn’t a hint of the image Hubbard has cultivated as a strong leader or a public servant.
Hubbard sought to reign over a vast political empire built with the aid of former Gov. Bob Riley, and Business Council of Alabama (BCA) CEO Billy Canary. But it became a shadow government, bestowing riches on its allies and destruction on its foes. But it is a castle built on sand, led by an imposter.
Hubbard and his allies have constructed a network of cronyism that is rigged against the people, for the profit of the political elite. There now sits a man in Lee County who can stand in the breach and use the power of the law, to say enough is enough, just like Judge Johnson did during another troubling time in our state.
Like the Fourth Man in the fiery furnace who gave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego the strength to stand unbowed and unburned, so we pray the same strength and courage resides in Judge Walker, he is the last man standing with power to carry out the will of the people.