I doubt that electing state supreme court judges makes for good law or justice, but our friends down in Alabama are showing it certainly makes for compelling political theater. Yeah, sure, Alabama is a conservative state, but the two guys vying for the Republican nomination for Chief Justice down there (primary next Tuesday) make Bill Frist look like Ted Kennedy. They also make Thomas Jefferson look like Karl Marx.
The incumbent is the baroquely named Drayton Nabers
, who was appointed to the position two years ago to replace Roy Moore (the Ten Commandments granite monument dude). In a book
on character from a Christian perspective that he published late last year just as his campaign was getting under way, Nabers wrote that he believes the Bible "as it is written" and calls abortion "the greatest destroyer of peace today." In one of his campaign radio ads
, he says "For the Christian believer, bringing glory to God and being a worthy steward of His gifts depend on character. Our generation of faith-based character is the greatest need of our nation today." Ok, he's a religious conservative. I get it.
But holy cow, check out his opponent, Tom Parker
, a current member of the court. Parker is running a radio spot
attacking Nabers as a phony conservative -- a "Jimmy Carter style liberal" who has the gall to describe Roe v. Wade as "the law of the land." Okay, fine, Parker is a religious conservative, too.
Parker goes off the deep end, however, with his view
that state judges should refuse to follow U.S. Supreme Court precedents they believe to be erroneous.
"State supreme court judges should not follow obviously wrong decisions simply because they are 'precedents,'" declares Parker. The dean of the Samford University law school calls Parker's position "absolutely wrong ... if this became the practice we would not have any law." At least three additional Republican candidates for other seats on the Alabama Supreme Court apparently share this oddball view. Nabers, for his part, doesn't, calling Parker's theory of the Supreme Court "bizarre."
Parker, a Vanderbilt Law School graduate (who must have slept in the day they covered the establishment clause in con law), had this to say in his inaugural address when he was first joined the court last year: "May the Alabama Supreme Court lead this nation in our gratitude, humility, and deference, to the only true source of law, our Creator." Last year he was named Man of the Year by an outfit called the Vision Forum
, which regards it as blasphemy to teach women to do anything but stay at home and raise children. They'll be happy to sell you a copy of that contemporary classic, The Excellent Wife Study Guide
. You think Parker has any female law clerks?