Friday, June 20, 2014

GOP Juris-Imprudence

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There’s a lady lawyer in Minnesota whose long-game is to serve on the US Supreme Court but, for the time-being and God-willing, she will hone her judicial skills on the Minnesota State Supreme Court.  The state Republican Delegation took a good 30 minutes to endorse Michelle McDonald after she gave a rousing, Bible-waving speech in which she promised to base her judicial opinions on Biblical principles. [First Amendment be damned!]

And, in a nod to the Founding Fathers, Ms McDonald wound up with the theocrats’ favorite spurious quotation of George Washington:

“. . . it is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

One of the ways that Ms. McDonald hopes to impress future SCOTUS-scouts is her “radical belief that the family courts should be abolished” the result of an epiphany she experienced after serving 25 years in family court.

As Mike Mosedale on politicsinminnesota.com reports:

Citing inspiration from her clients, grandson, the film “Jerry Maguire” and Pope John Paul II, McDonald then composed a “Miracle Mission Statement” toward making that belief a reality.

Asked to elaborate on those views during the interview, MacDonald was soon overcome by emotion. “These [issues] are of great interest to me,” she said, pausing to wipe her tears, “because families are being ripped apart by our court process. I’ve seen it over the last 27 years.”

After composing herself, MacDonald confidently asserted that her latest legal salvo — part of a long and bitter custody fight between a client and her ex-husband — will be “the case that eliminates courts for families all together. It will happen in [this] case.”

Or, maybe not, if one takes into account some of the legal hijinks and courtroom histrionics that have taken place during that trial to include:

. . . a judge ha[ving] her removed from the courtroom and placed in a cell.

According to the documents, MacDonald was handcuffed, placed in a wheelchair, and then returned to the courtroom, where she continued to argue on her client’s behalf. She was, however, jailed for multiple days, though never charged.

Meanwhile, there were a series of adverse rulings in McDonald’s case, one of which was an unsuccessful bid for the case to be heard by SCOTUS.  Failing that, McDonald brought a federal suit against the presiding judge seeking more than $330 million dollars in damages for her client and her client’s five children.

Not to mention:

She further claimed in the suit that John and Mary Does 1-20 — unnamed government employees who work for police agencies and the courts — “have a secret agenda intent on family annihilation, societal breakdown, intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, using children, economic abuse, coercion and threats.” The suit does not specify the damages sought from those parties.

That suit was dismissed by a US District Judge while McDonald was auditioning for the Republican endorsement.

So, far Ms. McDonald looks like a perfect fit for the Minnesota [cough, Bachmann] GOP.  More of an Orly Taitz than a Clarence Darrow . . .  so, it comes as no surprise that we have an alert state Republican, Doug Seaton, of the Judicial Election Committee, telling McDonald that he was concerned:

“that we’re going to have a situation where the party’s endorsement process is going to be held up to ridicule, and you’re going to be held up to ridicule, and attacked in a campaign as not having judicial [comportment] and not being neutral and being a little bit of a wild woman.”

“How on Earth can a person who is a zealous advocate, maybe pushing the line, be suitable for a judicial position? And how is that going to reflect on the party’s endorsement process, the other statewide candidates…is that going to be a problem? How are you going to respond to it?”

McDonald demurred from answering Seaton’s questions but agreed that his concerns were valid.

And, all of that, of course is incidental to McDonald’s recent DWI arrest, trial still pending.  As briefly as possible, McDonald was pulled over for speeding by police, refused alcohol testing, told the officer that she was a “reserve cop, a lawyer and would walk home” but vigorously protests her innocence.

Personally, I don’t find it astonishing that a lawyer, or a supreme court justice for that matter, might have a DWI in his/her closet. 

The point here is what Michael Brodkorb says:

MacDonald’s candidacy should have raised numerous red flags. But in a rush to endorse a judicial candidate, the warning signs were missed and now people are pointing fingers.

Keith Downey, chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota told the Star Tribune last week, “none of us, including the convention delegates, were aware of this information about the candidate.”

Contrary to the statements made by Downey, MacDonald’s arrest was known by numerous Republicans, including the person appointed by Downey to oversee the committee to determine if the convention should endorse a judicial candidate – Doug Seaton.

As the former Deputy Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, I will state without hesitation that MacDonald’s endorsement proves the current party process of endorsing candidates is fundamentally flawed and in desperate need of reform.

The fact that Downey, the top elected official of the Republican Party of Minnesota, claims he was unaware that a candidate with a pending criminal trial was endorsed for the Minnesota Supreme Court, is the best evidence I can point to that Republicans need a new process to select candidates for office.

Amen!

Posted by Bette Noir on 06/20/14 at 12:16 PM
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