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“Unprofessional, Backwards And Unethical”: The Alabama Threesome; A Judge, His Bible And Bigotry

Power can be hoarded by the mighty or stolen from the innocent. Power provides the ability to choose… but has a proclivity for corruption. The use of power is not to be taken lightly, for it is never without consequence.

— Emily Thorne (Revenge)

Though protagonist Emily Thorne from ABC’s hit drama Revenge is just a fictional character, those words resonated with me when I first heard them.

There are those with immense power that choose to abuse or misuse that power in order to advance their own ideology, careers or agendas — all while negating the oaths they swore to uphold. In the end, justice is the first casualty, and the innocent suffer.

Roy Moore, Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, is that person who violated his sacred oaths. Justice Moore issued unethical statements on gay marriage — despite it concerning a case that is still ongoing, and one that could come to him. In a letter penned to the governor of Alabama, Justice Moore said:

As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I will continue to recognize the Alabama Constitution and the will of the people overwhelmingly expressed in the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.

Moore continued with:

I ask you to continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity… Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.

Are these the words of a state’s highest judge, or of an unprofessional, backwards and unethical right-wing fanatic?

Justice Moore is no stranger to controversy. He was removed from his post as Chief Justice in 2003 for disobeying a federal ruling that he remove a 10 Commandments monument that he had ordered installed in the judicial building.

Justice Moore also issued a very controversial opinion in the case of D.H. vs. H.H. where he voted for an abusive father to be given full custody of his children, rather than their lesbian mother.

He was elected to the highest judicial position in his state, and yet, he treats it like a church pulpit without regard to something called separation of church and state, or the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. You, Mr. Moore, are wrong when you claim that Alabama’s constitution is superior to federal law. Any first-year political science or pre-law student would be able to tell you that.

A person like Justice Moore is a threat to the very fabric of American society. This extremism should never be accepted or tolerated. When one holds the position of Chief Justice of a U.S. State, one would hope that the elected official would put what is legal, constitutional and right above their misguided, extremist or religious beliefs.

Marriage equality is coming to Alabama, Judge Moore. Not you, nor your unethical behavior, nor your piousness will prevent equality and love from prevailing.

Since the Chief Justice doesn’t seem very enlightened on matters concerning the law, and his antiquated beliefs are clouding his judgment, I would be more than happy to educate him on the legality of his position, and several other laws he might not be well-versed in.

Since making time for such a splendid learning session would probably interrupt his Duck Dynasty marathon, Bible speed-reading session or bedtime tales from Fox News, I recommend the Chief Justice run to his local Barnes&Noble store and pick up a paperback copy of Constitutional Law for Dummies. Trust me Judge Moore, it will be the best $20 you spend this year.

 

By: Izak Pratt, The Blog, The Huffington Post, February 9, 2015

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Bigotry, Marriage Equality, Roy Moore | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Beware Extremists In The U.S.”: The Continued Danger We Face From Individuals Within Our Own Borders

Janet Napolitano was right.

Five years ago, the office of the then-secretary of the Department of Homeland Security released an assessment on right-wing extremism titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” Under key findings, the report said DHS “has no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but right-wing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.” The election of the nation’s first African American president and the economic downturn were cited as “unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment.”

Critics pounced on a footnote that defined right-wing extremism as “those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial, or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

Unfortunately, much of the value of the advisory was lost in a political debate over that definition and the propriety of a warning that troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan were at risk of terror recruitment. Timothy McVeigh, the Gulf War veteran convicted of killing 168 people in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, was cited as an example. Veterans’ groups and members of Congress were angry, and Napolitano said she meant no disrespect to the military and wished the footnote had been written differently.

Sadly, the assessment was prescient.

In 2012, a white supremacist who had served in the military killed six at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. In April, a white supremacist was accused of killing three people outside two Jewish facilities in Kansas. Now we have the married couple who assassinated two cops and a Walmart customer last weekend in Las Vegas. The two shot the officers while they were seated in a pizza parlor and then left behind a Gadsden (“Don’t Tread on Me”) flag and a Nazi swastika. A police spokesman said last week: “We believe that they equate government and law enforcement . . . with Nazis. . . . In other words, they believe that law enforcement is the oppressor.”

Further evidence that they are the sort envisioned by the DHS report can be found in their support of Cliven Bundy. The pair traveled to Bundy’s ranch during the April standoff with the Bureau of Land Management. Bundy’s son has been quoted as saying they were asked to leave because they were “very radical.”

The triple murder in Las Vegas was reminiscent of the execution of three police officers in Pittsburgh in 2009. The DHS report said of that attack: “The alleged gunman’s reaction reportedly was influenced by his racist ideology and belief in antigovernment conspiracy theories related to gun confiscations, citizen detention camps, and a Jewish-controlled ‘one world government.’ ”

Through a representative, Napolitano, now president of the University of California system, declined my request for a victory lap. But one week after the release of the DHS assessment, she said something that rings true today:

“Let me be very clear: We monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States. We don’t have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence.”

In the 1960s, when the threat of domestic terrorism came from the left, groups such as the Weather Underground were subject to federal investigation. Today, with similar risks coming from the far right, law enforcement would be derelict in not monitoring the activities of those who talk of revolution.

Partisans torpedoed consideration of the DHS assessment on right-wing extremism, notwithstanding that just three months prior, a similar warning was published by the same authors pertaining to left-wing extremists and cyberattacks.

Two weeks ago, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he was reassembling a task force on domestic terrorism that had been defunct since 9/11, when attention was necessitated elsewhere. Holder noted the need to “concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes, from antigovernment animus to racial prejudice.”

Holder is properly following in Napolitano’s footsteps. Anything less would be a victory for political correctness. While the PC label is usually hurled from the right, it fits any time otherwise appropriate behavior is curtailed out of fear of contemporary reaction. With regard to political extremism, when we fail to investigate risk because of unfounded public response, we are yielding to PC forces and jeopardizing lives.

 

By: Michael Smerconish, Columnist, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 15, 2014

June 16, 2014 Posted by | Domestic Terrorism, Homeland Security | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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