A New Majority On the NC Supreme Court?
Justice Sarah Parker would make an outstanding Chief Justice
December 30, 2005
Dear Friends & Voters:
When Julius Caesar became Dictator of Rome, he aggregated all power in himself to accomplish his own ends. He believed it to be justified, for the Romans' own good, whether they wanted it or not. What we have in this administration is not any different.
This administration thinks it is okay to spy on individuals. This administration thinks that it is permissible to lock someone up indefinitely without charging them with a crime. This administration takes the position that it is fine to engage in a preemptive war without justification. This administration believes that if the facts don't fit, it will make them do so either by selectively choosing them, or by lying. This administration thinks that the murder of a panic-stricken US citizen by air marshals is acceptable. This administration thinks that manipulation of the media to obtain positive stories is warranted.
Is it any wonder that this administration tramples on our civil liberties and shreds the Constitution? After all, the Constitution is "outdated" and just a "god-damned" piece of paper. What is next? Martial law? Suspension of the elections? It is not unthinkable.
In Caesar's day, the Senate decided that Julius Caesar had gone too far and that he had to be stopped, regardless of the consequences. The solution of the Roman Senate was to murder Julius Caesar.
We are more civilized than the ancient Senate of Rome. We have a remedy; its called impeachment. Some are afraid to use this remedy, as they believe that the vice president will become president or that whomever takes over will somehow have become the "incumbent." These are unwarranted fears.
We can continue to let our modern day Caesar become stronger. The war in Iraq will go on; more lives will be needlessly lost and we can keep paying billions to prop up the country. Or we can put a stop to "the end justifies the means" and American world-domination analysis of the neo-cons and use the tools at our disposal to rid ourselves of this tyrant.
I already commented that if nothing changes, this war will continue. I believe that this administration has no intent of pulling out, no matter how they try and manipulate troop strength to make it appear that they are doing so.
I noticed too that gas prices declined last month, but that they had risen by a quarter in the past few weeks. Am I the only person who has noticed that the major oil companies are BP-Amoco, Conoco-Phillips, Shell, Chevron-Texaco and Exxon-Mobile?
One commentator said that these companies were forced to merge. Yeah, right. Like some guy with a hood held a gun on them and said "merge or die!" They were not "forced" to merge. They merged out of a business decision, to become bigger and more powerful. And with the merger, there is less competition.
Tell me again how there is no collusion amongst them and that it really is the hurricanes which have led to the increased prices. I am all for free-enterprise and competition. I understand increased demand and no more refining capacity. But I do not believe that there is absolutely no manipulation by the big, now-merged, oil companies.
The increased price for gas will have ripple effects through the economy. In fact, the effect has started. The increased cost has led to car sales, particularly for SUVs, to be down. It costs more to transport food and other items. The housing bubble is about to burst, if it has not already done so. Taxes are on the rise too. And we, the consumer, are left paying for all of this. We cannot continue spending for all these inflated goods. We cannot keep paying for a war that is unnecessary, unconstitutional and unjustified. Something has to give and that something is inflation.
As many of you know, I have been out and about in the past few weeks and I have met many individuals running for various offices in this state. I have told them of the PAC and have received numerous requests for help. If you believe as I do in that saving our state and our country is important, then please donate to the PAC so that we can provide help to these individuals.
At one of the events I attended one of the speakers mentioned about some candidates having a definite agenda. Having an agenda is exemplified by a judge I met years ago. That judge did not like the DUI (driving under the influence) laws. In family cases, that judge felt that judges should make a decision based on what an "intact family" would do (hello - these people are divorcing and hate each other; if they could make decisions based on an intact family, the case would not be in court). And the judge did not like a rule that penalized defendants for not making an offer within 125% of the verdict in a civil case. Whenever a case was heard and those issues arose, there would be problems with that judge because he did not like the law or the rules and would do what he wanted. That is having an agenda.
I do not have an agenda. I am against judicial activism, whether it comes from the right or the left. I have stated that someone wearing a black robe is not wiser than the rest of us. We do not select him or her to be our legislator. It is not up to the judge to make laws for us or supply missing pieces of legislation. There is the common law, which is law created by existing cases. Judges can and should improve the law or dispose of issues that need to be addressed, like whether to adopt a particular part of the Restatement. They can rule on the constitutionality of a law. But a judge should not decide that because he or she does not like the law that it can be disregarded. The president is not above the law. Nor is a judge.
I have stated positions on things like the war in Iraq and CAFTA. If that issue comes up, I would recuse myself, although it is unlikely. I have stated my position on civil liberties. That does not mean that all police are liars and that all criminals go free. It just means that I would take a hard look at the conduct. If a violation occurred and the accused/convicted is entitled to relief, he or she would get it. If everything was handled in accordance with the law, then, I'm sorry, but they don't. Would you rather have someone willing to correctly apply the law, or someone with a prosecutorial mentality who always takes the side of the police/district attorneys?
I read an article in the Winston-Salem paper about the Governor's choice of appointment when Justice Lake retires. The article suggested that Justice Sarah Parker is one possible choice. In analyzing things, I came to the conclusion that Justice Parker would be the best choice. First, she is unquestionably experienced. She is currently a jurist on the court and has been for some time. She knows how it operates. She has the most seniority on the court. And she is a woman. It would be nice to see a female in charge of things and she would bring a different perspective from the male-dominated court. And so, in the interests of party unity, I have decided that if she is selected, I will not run against her. However, if another candidate is chosen, I will weigh my options and may decide to run against him or her.
The selection of Justice Parker to be the next chief justice seat brings up further possibilities. Justice Parker's elevation will leave her seat vacant. Who better to fill it that than Judge Wanda Bryant? I met Judge Bryant last year. She is savvy and experienced. And she is African-American. She would be the perfect choice to fill the vacancy and she would bring an African-American to our state's highest court.
Judge Wanda Bryant pictured with Senator John McCain.
Race should not be the deciding factor in electing or appointing someone to office. Nor should gender. But the Supreme Court is currently made up of Republican white guys, with the exception of Justice Parker. It is hardly representative of North Carolina. When you have an opportunity to appoint a qualified individual and the candidate is of another race or gender, the perspective that the person would bring to office is a legitimate factor for consideration. In the case of Judge Bryant, it is akin to icing on the cake.
There will be Justice Parker and Judge Bryant, if they are appointed. I realize that the Governor does not listen to someone like me and that he is free to make his own decisions. But I would urge him to strongly consider the appointment of Justice Parker and Judge Bryant.
Judge Robin Hudson is running for Justice Wainwright's seat. If she succeeds, that will make three. And then there is me. Some may wonder why I did not name myself. As nice as that would be, its not remotely likely to happen, so that option was not considered.
While I pondered, I realized that this election presents an historic opportunity, not only for Democrats to hold a majority on the court, but for that majority to be women. And so, with this scenario in mind, I have decided to run for the seat occupied by Justice Mark Martin, since his seat is the only other seat up for election in 2006.
I pose the following questions to Justice Martin. I do not expect an answer. However, I ask these questions on behalf of the voters and he can answer, if he chooses, on his website:
1. Do you support this administration and President Bush's efforts to continue to erode our civil liberties or do you distance yourself from this administration and President Bush?
2. Do you support the war in Iraq and CAFTA?
3. Do you support the efforts of the religious right, their intolerance and their war on Christmas?
4. I have stated that I will not take judicial financing. As a conservative, you should be equally opposed to it, as it violates the principles that conservatives supposedly stand for. Will you accept judicial financing or will you refuse it?
5. Last year, I was viciously attacked by the NCGOP leadership and their minions. The Republican candidate stood idly by and permitted these attacks to go on. Will you stand up to the NCGOP leadership and tell them and others acting at their behest to refrain from such attacks or will you abet them by permitting this to go on?
6. Does God play a part in your opinions? If so, what role?
7. A large portion of your funding comes from lawyers, doctors and oil executives. Is this not catering to special interests?
8. What is your position on judicial activism/judicial restraint?
9. How do you decide cases? What do you think is or should be the role of the appellate court?
10. Are you a Constitutionalist?
We are continuing to do many exciting things with our campaign. In fact, I have received many compliments on the website and comments on how refreshing it is to have a candidate speak out on these issues instead of hiding behind a judicial robe and not state more than a resumé. While we will retain features of the old site, we plan on launching a new website and we continue to do innovative things as time progresses. In addition, we will be running a television commercial featuring my dog Max again.
A Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you all!
Rachel Lea Hunter
Candidate for NC Supreme Court Associate Justice