DISTINCTIONS THAT MATTER
ELECTION vs. APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES
One of the most important differences between Bert and my philosophy is our view on the appointment of judges. While this does not involve a case per se, it certainly involves a leader on the highest criminal court’s opinion that is contrary to the Republican platform and our conservative values. Judges will have input into this issue and be a voice on how judges are elected.
Below is a quote from Bert’s response to the Montgomery County Tea Party Questionnaire. “. . . I agree with Gov. Abbott and Chief Justice Hecht that there must be a better way to select or keep our judges. That might involve a different selection system for high or appellate court judges versus local judges. A bipartisan committee has been formed by the Governor to study the different ways other States select their judges. I agree that such a committee should be formed. The Missouri plan, so far, sounds the most appealing to me, but I don’t know all the specifics other than that it involves a bipartisan committee that vets qualified candidates for appointment, and they are then subject to retention elections, which give the public the opportunity to remove a judge.”
Gina Parker’s Position: I’m opposed to the appointment of judges. Under a plan like this, typically the governor appoints state judges from a very small list of nominees chosen by the state bar association and then, after a term of years, the judge is placed on the ballot, without any opponent, where the people can simply vote “Yes” to retain the judge in office or “No” to remove the judge. If the judge gets a majority (sometimes a super-majority is required) of “Yes” votes, he wins "retention" and serves another term. If not, he is no longer a judge. Since states began adopting the Missouri plan in the 1960s, nearly all judges win retention. This removes the power of the people and inserts lawyers and big money into the judicial appointment process. Most attorneys are liberal in their views and far more than half of attorneys who contributed to political campaigns gave money to democrats. Moreover, the two-party process serves well in vetting candidates for office and at least informs the voter of the basic philosophical underpinnings of the candidate.
OPEN MEETINGS ACT
The Court in the Doyal case in a 7-2 opinion struck down key provisions in the long-standing Open Meetings Act, in thereby, directly undermined transparency in government.
My opponent joined the majority opinion, however, Justice Kevin Yeary dissented, writing in the opinion, “To provide a true disincentive, the stigma of a criminal penalty is necessary,” and “Yet another perfectly good statute falls today.” As a former City Attorney and member and chair of TDLR for almost 8 years, I totally agree with Justice Yeary. There was no doubt what the law stated.
RICK PERRY CASE – SEPARATION OF POWERS ISSUE
The handling of the former Governor Rick Perry case by Bert Richardson as the visiting District Court Judge is a true reflection of his judicial philosophy on key Constitutional issues like the separation of powers.
My opponent did not follow the rule of law in the high-profile case against former Governor Rick Perry (No. PD-1067-15) decided February 24, 2016. The case arose over the governor’s right to exercise a veto. A Travis County grand jury indicted the Governor because he vetoed funds appropriated to the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. You may remember that the Democrat Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested for DWI while in office. A video of how abusive she was to the arresting officers and those in the jail aired on the local news and on social media. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in a majority opinion reversed Judge Richardson’s decision of the trial court and ruled in favor of Governor Perry.
In the concurring opinion Justice Newell said, “I join the Majority's opinion holding that prosecuting the Appellant (Governor Perry) for exercising his absolute right to veto legislation violates the separation of powers under the Texas Constitution. And I agree that prosecuting the appellant (Governor Perry) for merely threatening to veto legislation violates the First Amendment. I write separately because it appears to me that everyone is making this case more complicated than it is because of who it involves (Governor Perry).”
My opponent appears to have been influenced by the political pressure brought upon him, and therefore, he failed to make a straightforward decision and uphold the rule of law. This is the biggest difference between me and my opponent. I will make the right legal decision based on the rule of law.
In my opinion, judicial philosophy is one of the important deciding factors in the selection of judges. In Roe v. Wade, five Republican judges who were highly qualified and experienced, DID NOT understand that life begins at conception and instead focused on “viability.” Whether a judge has the courage to uphold the rule of law is paramount in selecting the right judge. I’m the true constitutional conservative in this race. VOTE - Gina Parker the Constitutional Conservative, for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3, March 3rd, Early Voting is February 18-28!
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