State Supreme Court Plays A Huge Role In The Direction Of This Nation: In today’s program, Justice Tom Parker is joining us to share about not just his victory in the race, but also about some really important lawsuit victories. Have you wondered, “How important is the state courts and how does it affect the whole nation?” Then this episode is for you! Tune in now to learn more!  

Air Date: 06/20/2018

Guest: Justice Tom Parker

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. We appreciate you joining us today on WallBuilders Live where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. Always doing that from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton doing that right now. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Tim Barton’s with us, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator.

You can find out more about us and this program at WallBuildersLive.com. And then at WallBuilders.com you can find out about our parent ministry called WallBuilders. It means arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be a reproach. It comes out of that scripture in Nehemiah and we are literally rebuilding the foundations of America. Bringing back our constitutional republic and restoring those timeless principles of liberty that made America the most successful nation in history. Check out everything at WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com.

David, Tim, later in the program we’ve got Justice Tom Parker from Alabama is going to be joining us. He just recently won the primary for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. We’ll be talking about not just his victory in that race, but some really important victories in a lawsuit and some other things that are happening out there.

I would say, David, Tim, most people might when we say “state” and “judge” their eyes glaze over and they might be tuning out in their mind right now because most people just simply don’t pay attention to the state courts. How do we get them to and how do we let them know how important this interview is today?

The Importance of State Courts

David:

You’re right. They don’t pay attention to state courts very often, but they should. In the Constitution you have the Full Faith and Credit clause which pretty much puts us in the position that * something that goes on in another state it’s got to get some recognition from our state. And this is even how we got to the redefinition of marriage. Remember, it started with supreme courts up in Massachusetts and Vermont.

And so in Massachusetts Vermont they said, “Hey, we’re doing definition of marriage, we’re giving a marriage license to these particular people.” And then suddenly, what’s going to happen? They’re going to go to other states and we’re going to say, “No, you’re not married.” “Well, I’ve got a marriage license–” “Well–”.

And so that Full Faith and Credit stuff really does have a huge impact on other states. How other states deal with contracts and deal with business relations etc. So, when you get a decision out of a state’s Supreme Court you can’t just blow it off and say, “Well, that’s just Alabama” or “That’s just Massachusetts and Vermont”.

No, there are some constitutional clauses that caused some of that stuff to have impact. It’s almost unintended consequences that was never the design of the Constitution or Full Faith and Credit clause. That was not what they had in mind because they had already established what the declaration called the laws of nature and nature’s God, moral rights and wrongs, that not what we’re supposed to be voting on.

But today where we don’t have that moral clarity anymore we now let courts tell us what our morals are. And that was never the design of Full Faith and Credit. But it does have that impact. The same with with decisions on abortion, decisions on educational choice, decisions on the Ten Commandments out of Oklahoma, for example. You get so many cases decided by state supreme courts that have an impact on other states.

Rick:

Well, it is easy to ignore because typically it’s kind of buried on the back page and nobody notices until it’s a huge case. Marriage or maybe parental rights are one of the major issues of the day that ends up at a state supreme court. So, we do need to be paying more attention to it and thankfully we have some good people in that arena. And one of them, our guests that’s going to be coming on after the break, is actually on the state supreme court there in Alabama.

The Fathers of American Jurisprudence

David:

And by the way, before we introduce Tom and kind of give some of his creds, do you guys know who the two people are who are called the fathers of American jurisprudence? Two guys that are credited with building the entire American judicial system.

Tim:

James Kent.

Rick:

Joseph Story.

David:

Okay, you’ve got James Kent and Joseph Story. Joseph Story makes a lot of sense. He was on the U.S. Supreme Court, he penned 95 percent of the decisions while he was on the court, he wrote the majority opinion ninety five percent of the time, he wrote the great three volume commentary on the Constitution of the United States, he wrote textbooks on the Constitution. That makes a lot of sense that you would have a Supreme Court Justice with that clout. Now tell me about James Kent.

Tim:

He’s from New York.

David:

He’s a state Supreme Court Justice. So, how does a state Supreme Court Justice from New York get credit for being one of the fathers of American jurisprudence on the state Supreme Court? See, that’s what we fail to look at is some of the greatest influences in shaping all of American Judiciary often comes from the states supreme court. And which, James Kent is one.

Worth the Note

Tim:

And it’s even worth noting at the time, New York, one of the largest states, if not the largest state at at his era, and back when we believed in the 10th amendment and we believed in states rights. The states had a lot more power than what they recognize, or at least what people in Washington D.C. tell them they have today.

And so he’s in an era where he’s in the largest state, when states are so powerful, and this is also not long after John Jay has resigned from the U.S. Supreme Court to go back to, I believe–

David:

New York.

Tim:

–New York, because he says that, “This Supreme Court thing, it’s not that big and powerful. Let me just go back to New York and I’ll do politics there because that’s a better deal. So, it does put perspective on the fact that states really had a lot more power back then and under the constitution that was kind of the way it was intended.

David:

And if you actually believe that someday we may get a Supreme Court that goes back to following the Constitution, that makes Supreme Court Justices at the state level even more important.

Rick:

That’s right. So, Tom Parker who is a great justice out of Alabama, been on the court for a number of years, is a great judicial thinker. He has been credited with the opposition recently for laying out the strategy by which Roe v. Wade may be overturned, he did that on the state supreme court, and the opponents are barking about it because they think he’s giving the strategy that will be used to eventually end abortion.

So, he’s not an insignificant justice in the nation even though most people don’t know an Alabama justice. This is a great guy and several things have happened with him recently we thought would be fun to talk about.

Rick:

Justice Tom Parker our special guest. Stay with us, folks. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.

American History

This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Many today wrongly claim that our Founding Fathers were largely atheists, agnostics, and deist.

Certainly some Founders were less religious than others, but even they were not irreligious. Consider Benjamin Franklin, definitely one of the least religious among them, yet, when the delegates at the Constitutional Convention hit an impasse in their deliberations it was Franklin who called them to prayer, invoking numerous scriptures to make his point.

As he reminded them, “God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured in the sacred writings that, except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this.”

So, even the least religious of America’s Founders urged public prayer in dependence on God. For more information about the faith of the Founding Fathers go to WallBuilders.com.

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. Our special guest today is Justice Tom Parker. He’s on the Supreme Court of Alabama, state supreme court there, and just won a great victory just a couple of weeks ago there in the Republican primary. Justice Parker, great to have you on, sir.

Justice Parker:

Rick, it’s great to be with you. And I have just been nominated to be the Republican nominee for the chief justice position on the Alabama Supreme Court. That’s what the race was about. And it’s so interesting that just before the election day I won a stunning court victory over the Judicial Inquiry Commission and the Southern Poverty Law Center for the Southern Poverty Law Center to attempt to use unconstitutional provisions in the Alabama canons of judicial ethics. To silence me from saying things with which they disagree.

Another Loss for the Southern Poverty Law Center

Justice Parker:

But a federal court upheld my right to say those things and the Judicial Inquiry Commission finally agreed. And we have settled that so that it’s now another loss for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Rick:

That is good. It’s good to hear now. Now, back up just a second just to make sure everybody understands – you’re on the Alabama Supreme Court now, but you’re running for chief justice. So, you’re still going to serve out, I guess, this year on the court, but then assuming you win in November, which we’re all praying for, then you would move over to be actually chief justice. Is that correct?

Justice Parker:

Yes, I’ve been elected three times as a justice on the Alabama Supreme Court and now I’m running for chief justice because I just believe that we are at a pivotal point in American history right now. President Trump is just one appointment away from giving us a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. And they are going to need cases that they can use to reverse those horrible decisions of the liberal majority in the past that have undermined the Constitution and really just abused our own personal rights.

Rick:

Yeah.

Justice Parker:

Those types of decisions are really going to only come from state courts because the federal courts have to follow that federal precedent. Whereas I as a state judge am sworn to uphold the Constitution. We have written decisions that are contrary to Roe v. Wade, or I’ve written extensively about the judicial overreach in the Obergefell decision. And it’s good to be writings like that the new majority can use to restore what our founding fathers intended for America to be.

Conservatives Aren’t, But the Left Is

Rick:

Well, Justice Parker, you’re spot on. A lot of people don’t realize that how much of the battle for the culture and the direction of our country is at the state judicial level. And we would probably agree it should be at the legislative level, but that’s not the deck we’ve been dealt. We live in a time where the courts are making these decisions. But most people tend to think it’s only the federal courts, it’s just the U.S. Supreme Court, making those decisions. It’s actually happening quite often at the state level – whether it’s a religious liberty case, a parental rights case. You guys are dealing with the major issues of the day.

Justice Parker:

Rick, what’s sad is that conservatives are really not staying in tune with what’s being done at the state courts, but the left is.

Rick:

Yeah.

Justice Parker:

I’ve been attacked by  George Soros funded organization over it. They are apprehensive of the quality writings coming out of my chambers. That’s why they’ve attacked me and that’s why they will probably be involved in this campaign as Soros has been involved in even district attorney races around the country. Our fellow conservative Christians need to wake up and realize the battle is widespread and they need to be aware and engage.

Rick:

It’s almost like sometimes we’re playing checkers and those guys are playing chess. They’re looking five steps ahead, ten steps ahead, and they realize you’ve got a guy like you on the on the state Supreme Court dealing with these issues issuing and writing these opinions that are that are done correctly, and based on the Constitution, and on original intent, and all of those things. That that sets us up for victories in the federal courts or potentially at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Importance of Thinking Ahead

Rick:

They see that, but like you’re saying our side is not often enough being strategic and thinking long term like that. It’s one of the reasons I’m so glad, and David and Tim both, very excited about your victory in the Republican primary. Because we see you as one of those guys that is thinking ahead like that and would be in a in a pivotal position here as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to have those kind of good opinions coming out.

Justice Parker:

Rick, let’s step back and point to what the left has done in attacking me. They published a hit piece against me funded by Soros through Pro Publica published in the National New Republic magazine which your listeners are totally unfamiliar with. It was the leading political publication of the left. The title of the article was “This Alabama Judge Has Figured Out How to Overturn Roe v. Wade.” Subtitle, “Tom Parker’s Writings Fueled the Biggest Threat to Abortion Rights In a Generation.” Yes, the left is watching. They understand. We need to get conservatives informed and engaged.  

Rick:

Justice Parker, this part of the battlefield, if you will, and I’m sorry I always use those analogies, but in the culture is why it’s so important for state judicial candidates to be able to speak their mind, to have their free speech, to be able to say what you believe about the major issues of the day. And you came under a lot of fire for that. Same thing happened to me when I was running for Supreme Court here in Texas, same type of thing, they would try to just silence judicial candidates that were pro-life, and pro marriage and all those things. And I would always quote from that Republican Party of Minnesota v. White case–

Justice Parker:

Yes.

A Great Victory

Rick:

Where Scalia said, “Hey, you running for the people– if the people are going to vote for you’ve they got to know what you stand for. You absolutely have a right to speak and they have a right to know if they’re going to vote.” But very few people have fought those judicial canons you did and you won. That was a big, big, victory not just for you, Justice, that’s going to– that’s a shot across the bow to the left all over the country that our state judicial candidates can have beliefs and convictions and actually speak those.

Justice Parker:

Well, and it’s a victory for all judges. But even more importantly, it’s a victory for the voters.

Rick:

That’s right.

Justice Parker:

At least half the states still have elected state Supreme Courts. There is public accountability for judges who are elected and it keeps them in line. That is a critical thing that your listeners need to remember–

Rick:

That’s right.

Justice Parker:

— that the election of judges, while it is expensive, it gives the public some control over how wide some of these judges will veer once they are elected. They won’t if they’re going to be held accountable by the public.

Rick:

That’s right. And what’s happened is there’s been a charade here to hide from the public what judges really stand for. But now, because of my court victory, the public, the voters, will have the opportunity to know. They just need to press forward and ask the key questions.

Ask the Key Questions

Rick:

Yes. So good, so good. Well, that’s part of why we wanted to have you on. Your victories there in Alabama are not just for the people of Alabama, it’s for people all across the country and we’re just excited about what’s happening there. Praying for God’s favor on you – not only in the election, but just in your service to the folks in Alabama. And I just wanted you to know we’re excited for you and praying for you.

Justice Parker:

Well, and Rick, my goal is really far beyond Alabama. We need to restore this Constitution and it’s going to take decisions from courts like the Alabama Supreme Court to be utilized by that new conservative majority that President Trump’s going to give us. So, that’s why this particular election will have some national implications.

Rick:

Before I let you go, Justice, you mentioned it wasn’t just Soros, it was the Southern Poverty Law Center which, for any of our new listeners out there that’s the group that labels all of us as conservative hate groups. And they have hundreds of millions of dollars and they have really, unfortunately, been effective in the culture and they’re  being used by Facebook, and Twitter, and all these different becoming media outlets to literally decide which groups will have a voice in those arenas. They came after you, Justice. They’ve actually just settled a lawsuit for over three million dollars for calling people extremists and that sort of thing. So, hopefully– maybe that’s a sign that the tide will turn on them and that the truth will come out.

Justice Parker:

Rick, I will point out it was actually pre lawsuit where they agreed to pay three point four million dollars to the person they had offended – * and his organization *Gilian. They don’t want discovery into what they’re doing. This is such a charade that they are playing with the public. They have been utilized by the left to continue the suppression of conservative Christian values. And hopefully this will show that they are vulnerable and will embolden many people like if you will remember Dr. Ben Carson–

Rick:

Yeah, yeah.

Justice Parker:

–was labeled a hater by them.

Labeled by the SPLC

Rick:

And Family Research Council.

Justice Parker:

Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel–

Rick:

Yeah.

Justice Parker:

Many of these Christian organizations have been wrongly accused and their fundraising abilities have been cut off by some of these groups who depend on the Southern Poverty Law Center to give them guidance on who they should open the door for and whose face they should close it. And hopefully this development today with the Southern Poverty Law Center will incentivize people to go after them where they have been wrongly labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as haters.

Rick:

Yeah, no doubt. Well, victories, we love to highlight those here on WallBuilders Live and let folks know so that they know the system does work. It will work and just like you’re saying, you’ve got to go after them, you’ve got to be willing to step up and fight in the campaign elections– in campaigns and elections, and do the things that you’ve done there in Alabama. And so we just wanted to celebrate that with you, Justice, and wish you the best in the November election. I assume, now, do you have an opponent in the November election?

Justice Parker:

Oh yes, I have an opponent whose wife does commentary on MSNBC. So, you can imagine–

Rick:

That’s all we’ve got to know right there.

Justice Parker:

–what the race is going to involve.

Rick:

Now, your website Justice Parker, How can folks go to find out more about you? If they’re outside of Alabama they can still follow you, and follow your opinions, and your campaign as well.

Justice Parker:

Well, the website is ParkerForJustice– that’s spelled FOR– ParkerForJustice.com and the Facebook page is something created about me a long time ago – God Bless Justice. Tom Parker.

Rick:

Alright, good stuff, Justice Parker. Appreciate your time. God bless you, man. Have a good one.

Justice Parker:

Thank you, Rick.

Rick:

We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

American History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. As Christians become more active in politics they must remember to elevate principles above party loyalty. Perhaps, the best illustration of this comes from the life of Founding Father Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and who served in the presidential administrations of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. Each of whom was from a different political party.

When Benjamin Rush was asked about his personal party affiliation he responded, “I’ve been called an aristocrat and a Democrat, I am neither, I am a Christ-ocrat. I believe all power will fail at producing order and happiness in the hands of man. He alone who created and redeem man is qualified to govern him.” Like Benjamin Rush, we too must remain Christ-ocrats, regardless of our personal party affiliation. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.

Rick:

We’re back on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Special thanks to Justice Tom Parker for joining us today. We’re back with David and Tim Barton and, guys, obviously, great that he won the primary and hopefully will win in November and be able to do exactly what we were talking about in giving us those good opinions that could lead to those U.S. Supreme Court opinions.

But man, it’s bigger than that – this victory at overturning those judicial canon of ethics– that sounds nice “judicial canon of ethics”, but it’s typically used, as he was saying, to muzzle people with convictions from being able to voice that. That, the SPLC, Soros, he’s beaten– this was like a good news Friday, guys.

Returning to a Key Point

David:

Well, I think it’s worth returning to one of the points he made that’s so key because he said in federal courts, the lower federal courts will have to follow pretty much what the Supreme Court said. It is the state Supreme Court that’s will say, “You know what? Our Constitution says this and we’re going to uphold our state constitution.” So, it is the states Supreme Courts that can write decisions that can go to the U.S. Supreme Court that the U.S. Supreme Court can uphold and say, “Yep. You’re exactly right.” Because it’s not going to be those lower federal courts that push the envelope to try to restore things. They’re going to pretty much stay status quo or keep moving left. They’re not going to go back to constitutional understanding.

So, Tom is exactly right on that and having someone like him with the boldness he has to be the chief justice on the Supreme Court of Alabama, to be willing to write the decisions for, as he said, a new conservative Supreme Court, that is a huge, huge, huge, issue. And then you mentioned also about the SPLC, and the lawsuit, and the canon of judicial ethics, he made a passing comment that just absolutely floored me. Now, we’ve done a number of programs from the SPLC and we’ve been one of many who have been pointing out how bad they are in so many areas. Here you’ve got a nonprofit group with nearly, he said, 300 million they have in offshore accounts–

Tim:

Something like that.

David:

–unbelievable. So, there’s been so many articles starting to point out how disingenuousness this is and how they are biased. And so even the Trump administration is pulled back from using the SPLC as a resource * Pentagon, etc. But when I saw the good news on this guy getting nearly three point four million in a settlement with SPLC, I had not realized that they did the settlement to avoid discovery.

Rick:

That’s right.

Avoiding Discovery

David:

But Tom is exactly right. If these guys had to go into court and start answering all the questions that go in discovery, had to start uncovering all the things they do and how they arrived at their decisions, and where’d you get your information, what are you doing to your money? Oh my gosh, if that were to happen, I would– it’d be hard to imagine they’d get any other donors at all except somebody like a Soros who has such a radical philosophy.

So, that’s a huge point that SPLC settled so they wouldn’t have to discovery. And Tom is right, I hope a whole bunch of other groups use that as a precedent and start jumping on all these that they’re going after and using the same kind of defamation. That’s a big thing and I hope he’s right that other people start jumping on that, and going after them, and that becomes a model for others to go after the SPLC.

Rick:

Yeah, at this point they’re admitting that they defame someone with this extremist label that they throw around so easily and it’s certainly not the first time they’ve done it. And hopefully the fact that they settled this one, especially at that level, will encourage groups that have been defanged by them to go after them and encourage law firms and others to say, “Hey these guys, one, they have the money and two, they’ve admitted they they’ve done it before.” Which makes them a prime target for having to pony up for what they’ve done in the past.

And also it’s been it’s been things that have had a huge impact. You guys remember we’ve had General Boykin on several times talking about how it was their extremist language that caused the guy to come in with the Chick-fil-A sandwiches and the gun and go after Family Research Council.

Tim:

It does seem ironic, right, the SPLC is targeting groups that have extreme speech is what they’re saying. But then it was their extreme speech that led someone to say, “Hey, you know what, if the Family Research Council, if they are that hateful, if they’re that bigoted, then I’m going to take a gun and I’m going to go put a stop to it. I’m going to take Chick-fil-A sandwiches with me.” Well, yeah, where did this guy get that idea? From the very group that’s saying, “We have to stop these hateful bigoted people.”

People Have a Right to Know

Tim:

And, Rick, the thing you pointed out in the interview, the court case where Scalia says, “Look, if you’re running for office people have a right to know exactly where you stand and what you believe.” And the idea the SPLC would say, “Nope, the people in the state of Alabama should not know what you believe on issues because it might be offensive to somebody else.”

David:

They should only know what we say about what you believe on issues.

Tim:

That’s ludicrous, right? You’re going to vote for someone and the SPLC literally doesn’t want you to know what he thinks about the issues. And this is someone running for the state Supreme Court Justice, Chief Justice there. It really is just ridiculous.

So, it really is, Rick, as you mentioned, almost like a Good News Friday that he got the victory in this because this certainly is something that should not have happened.

State Supreme Court Plays A Huge Role In The Direction Of This Nation

Rick:

Well, speaking of good news, couple of quick e-mails. This one’s from Frank. It says, “I really appreciate the programming WallBuilders puts out there. Somebody has to tell the truth. Keep the good news coming. “Another one says, “We can’t have enough from WallBuilders.” Love this, people. And another one, “This program is outstanding and should be required listening for every American.” From Jenny. I agree with you, Jenny.

And if you all want to help us get it in the hands of more Americans, go to WallBuilders.com right now today. You can make a contribution, come alongside us as a partner, you can do a monthly contribution as well. It helps us to continue spreading the word and getting this program in the hands of more people. Thanks for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.