Thursday, June 01, 2006

The next step in judicial conservatism

.... is to re-argue case law that has been settled for more than 100 years.

Well, actually, it's not so much re-arguing as simply ignoring precedents that one doesn't like.

In a debate with powerful echoes of the turbulent civil rights era, four Republicans running for Alabama's Supreme Court are making an argument legal scholars thought was settled in the 1800s: that state courts are not bound by
U.S. Supreme Court precedents.

The Constitution says federal law trumps state laws, and legal experts say there is general agreement that state courts must defer to the U.S. Supreme Court on matters of federal law.

Yet Justice Tom Parker, who is running for chief justice, argues that state judges should refuse to follow U.S. Supreme Court precedents they believe to be erroneous. Three other GOP candidates in Tuesday's primary have made nearly identical arguments.

"State supreme court judges should not follow obviously wrong decisions simply because they are 'precedents,'" Parker wrote in a newspaper opinion piece in January that was prompted by a murder case that came before the Alabama high court.

Yeah, why, if everybody followed precedents you'd have... uh... a consistent body of law.

It might dismay you to learn that Parker currently sits on the Alabama Supreme Court. But it will surprise you not at all to learn that Parker is a former aide to Roy Moore, who was forced to resign as Alabama's chief justice in 2003 over a Ten Commandments monument he had secretly installed in his courthouse.


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Blogger JP said...

This is pretty scary. They're one state over from me.

6/05/2006 8:38 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Sounds like you need to put up a border fence. :)

6/05/2006 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone still believe that "judicial activists" are comprised solely of liberals?
- Caracarn

6/05/2006 6:12 PM  

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