By Sam McLure
Alabama Political Report
“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” – Solomon
Justice Tom Parker has served on the Alabama Supreme Court since 2004. The “cover” of his life can be found on the Supreme Court’s biography page, and includes achievements such as serving as the founding Executive Director of Alabama Policy Institute and founding Executive Director for the Alabama Family Advocates, a state organization associated with Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family.
The pages within the cover tell a story of growing courage in the face of wicked Federal tyranny.
Ex parte E.R.G., June 10, 2011
On June 10, 2011, Justice Parker stretched his philosophical legs with the case of Ex parte E.R.G., wherein the Alabama Supreme Court dealt with the question of court-ordered grandparent visitation.
Justice Parker wrote specially “on the origin of the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and care of their children.” Justice Parker explained that “the family pre-existed the state” and is rooted in creation. He went on to quote John Locke and Abraham Kuyper for the proposition that “[t]he family, like the state and the church, is a legitimate governing authority within its own sphere,” and “[a] people therefore which abandons to State Supremacy the right of the family” is guilty before God.
Justice Parker then fully turned his attention to Christianity as the foundation of American Jurisprudence:
“The Christian doctrine emphasized the role of parents in directing their children’s growth and development. From the birth of the first child, children were recognized as being a gift to parents from God.”
Justice Parker’s special writing should matter to every God-fearing Alabamian. There are countries like Sweden where parents are not allowed to home-school their children; and there are states like Oregon where Christian Evangelicals rightly fear that the State will take their children because of their Christian practices. We should all take comfort that our right to parent our children, based on our sincerely held religious beliefs, is a little more inviolable under the watchful eye of Justice Parker.
Hamilton v. Scott, May 18, 2012
On May 18, 2012, we saw Justice Parker continue to grow in his role as a watchman and protector of Alabama’s righteous values. In the case of Hamilton v. Scott, the Alabama Supreme Court held that a wrongful death claim could be brought against a medical doctor when the doctor’s malpractice results in the death of a pre-born child. Justice Parker added a special writing to drive clarify the limited role that the Federal Court’s appalling Roe v. Wade decision had in the wrongful death case with an unborn child.
“The Supreme Court in Roe erroneously concluded that ‘the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.’. . . ‘Life is an immediate gift of God, a right inherent by nature in every individual.’ . . ‘Rights and protections legally afforded the unborn child are of ancient vintage. In equity, property, crime, and tort, the unborn has received and continues to receive a legal personality.’”
Justice Parker displayed in this opinion the nimbleness of pushing back against Roe as far as the Federal Courts would allow, without going so far a to be overturned by them.
“Because Roe is not controlling authority beyond abortion law, and because its viability standard is not persuasive, I conclude that, at least with regard to the law of wrongful death, Roe’s viability standard should be universally abandoned.” (emphasis added)
With the phrase, “at least with regard to,” Justice Parker hints to an underlying courage in the face of Federal tyranny that would not see full vent for four more years.
Ankrom v. State, January 11, 2013
In Ankrom v. State, Hope Ankrom used cocaine during the course of her pregnancy and gave birth to a child who also tested positive for cocaine. A grand jury indicted Hope Ankrom on the charge of chemical endangerment of a child. Ms. Ankrom asked the court to dismiss the indictment based on the argument that a “fetus” is not a child.
The Court held that the term “child” does in fact include the obvious … “unborn child.” In articulating the Court’s decision, Justice Parker cited a South Carolina case: “we do not see any rational basis for finding a viable fetus is not a ‘person’ in the present context.”
Justice Parker conclude his discourse with a similar nod to Roe, but also with a strong commendation of the right to life enshrined in Alabama’s Constitution:
“The decision of this Court today is in keeping with the widespread legal recognition that unborn children are persons with rights that should be protected by law. Today, the only major area in which unborn children are denied legal protection is abortion, and that denial is only because of the dictates of Roe. Furthermore, the decision in the present cases is consistent with the Declaration of Rights in the Alabama Constitution, which states that ‘all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”
Could Justice Parker be poised to stand with Wisconsin’s Supreme Court of the 1850’s which stated that the unjust Federal Fugitive Slave Act had no application in the State of Wisconsin? Could Justice Parker be on the verge of stating that Alabama can protect unborn children from murder, regardless of what the Federal Supreme Court says?
I believe the next case gives us a clue.
Ex parte Alabama Policy Institute (API II), March 4, 2016
On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which dealt with the question of whether the Federal Government can decide for the States the meaning of marriage within the States’ legal structures.
On March 4, 2016, the Alabama Supreme Court, in the historic case of Ex parte Alabama Policy Institute (API II), wrestled with the application of Obergefell to the legal landscape of Alabama. Justice Parker presented a special writing “to state that Obergefell conclusively demonstrates that the rule of law is dead.” (at 126)
“‘Five lawyers’ — appointed to judgeships for life and practically unaccountable to the more than 320 million Americans they now arbitrarily govern — enlightened by ‘new insights’ into the true meaning of the word ‘liberty,’ determined that ‘liberty’ means that Americans have a new fundamental right only now discovered over 225 years since the Constitution was adopted. ‘Five lawyers,’ who have treated the Constitution as ‘a mere thing of wax … which they may twist, and shape into any form they please,’ determined to impose their enlightenment on this nation in spite of the vast majority of the states having democratically refused again and again to redefine the divinely initiated institution of marriage. In marching this country ‘forward’ to their moral ideal, the ‘five lawyers’ composing the majority in Obergefell have trampled into the dust the last vestiges of the legitimacy of the United States Supreme Court.
These are strong words indeed to come from such a mild-looking gray haired jurist. But, wait … it gets better:
“Obergefell is ‘no judicial act at all’ because it is ‘without principled justification.’ In fact, it is without any legal justification at all. Accordingly, the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell is without legitimacy.”
“This is not the rule of law, this is despotism and tyranny.”
. . .
“Despotism and tyranny were evils identified in the Declaration of Independence as necessitating the break with King George and Great Britain.”
“For the states to honor such a decision as legitimate is to bow our knee to the self-established judicial despots of America.”
“As justices and judges on state courts around the nation, we have sworn an oath to uphold the United States Constitution. We have not sworn to blindly follow the unsubstantiated opinion of ‘five lawyers.’
“An illegitimate decision is due no allegiance; our allegiance as judges is to the United States Constitution.
I think John Roberts, Chief Justice to the US Supreme Court, would be proud of Justice Parker: “[t]he States are separate and independent sovereigns. Sometimes they have to act like it.”
Justice Parker has announced his candidacy to the office Chief Justice to the Alabama Supreme Court. If the pages of his writings reflect the pages of his character, I am confident Alabama will be better poised to act like the Sovereign it should be with Justice Tom Parker at the helm of the Supreme Court.