Part 4: Corruption in the Courts and Attorney General’s Office
While it is the job of the courts and the Alabama Attorney General’s office to investigate and prosecute corruption in this state, they are often at the center of the controversy, accusations and crimes.
It is their responsibility to apply the law in a fair and objective manner. Instead, they twist the law to support a political agenda, use their position to protect party leaders, or use the law to enrich themselves.
When members of the judicial system become part of the corruption, instead of being a deterrent to corruption, then the state ceases to be a free society. It is not the government that makes us free, it is our laws that make us free, and when the judicial system allows our laws to be corrupted by our government then freedom is an illusion.
Roy Moore: the road to religious oligarchy
Most of us know about Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and his crusade to display the Ten Commandments at the Supreme Court building, but his support for denying Alabamians their First Amendment rights does not end there.
In his comments to the Pastors for Life luncheon in Jackson, Mississippi, Moore made the argument that the First Amendment only applied to Christians. He argued that the word religion implies a creator god and said, “Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammed didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures.”
There are many in the Republican supermajority that would like to turn Alabama into a religious oligarchy where state law is based on the laws of the bible. However, for the highest-ranking court member in the state to make a religious argument to defeat the religious freedoms and protections that the constitution guarantees to all Americans would be downright funny, if it were not so dangerous.
This is the type of ludicrous argument is why we have the First Amendment to protect us. It is to insure that everyone is free to express his or her religious beliefs, but it is also to guarantee that you do not have someone else’s religion forced upon you.
For the state’s highest-ranking member of the judiciary to make this kind of ludicrous argument tells you just how much trouble this state is facing.
The Alabama Supreme Court: rubberstamp for the Supermajority
I once hinted to a member of the Republican Supermajority that a piece of legislation was unconstitutional, to which he replied, “The legislation may be unconstitutional, but the Alabama State Supreme Court is Republican.”
The simple fact is that Republicans believe that the Supreme Court will support the legislation they pass regardless of the law, and a string of State Supreme Court decisions, including one decision that deemed it okay for the Senate to violate their own rules in passing the Accountability Act, appears to support that conclusion.
Luther Strange: casinos, corruption and a lack of stones
Like the Alabama Supreme Court, the current job of the Attorney General’s office appears to be to support the Republican Supermajority’s legislative and social agenda in Alabama.
Luther Strange has been on a crusade to end gambling at casinos run by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI). This action violates the will of the majority of Alabamians as well as federal law.
In a case filed in state court, and later moved to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Federal Judge W. Keith Watkins, ruled that the state has no standing in the case. Watkins went on to say that the National Indian Gaming Commission has confirmed that PCI operates Class II electronic bingo machines, which can be offered without state approval.
That decision did not dissuade Strange from continuing his errant campaign against the casinos.
On July 7, Strange filed a new case in Federal Court; the case largely argues many of the same facts previously ruled on by the courts.
Rather than accepting the decision of the court, Strange has decided to continue his crusade against the PCI, which will cost the taxpayers of Alabama millions of dollars, while squandering the resources of his office, and it has literally no chance of success.
One of the key responsibilities of the Attorney General’s office is investigating corruption in this state, but when an elected official wastes taxpayer money on a lost cause due to his personal political beliefs, or the fact that he is receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from anti-gambling concerns, then the official is committing a corrupt act.
Speaking of corruption, and the Attorney General’s responsibilities, this attorney general is apparently incapable of performing the duties of his office.
It seems that every time a matter of corruption comes to the Attorney General’s office, Strange recuses himself from the case.
When questions arose about the possible illegal actions of Speaker Mike Hubbard and members of the Alabama legislature… Strange recused himself.
When questions arose about the donations of a PAC formed by former Governor Bob Riley… Strange recused himself.
If you are the Attorney General of Alabama and you do not have the ability, or the stones, to investigate and prosecute the state’s political elite for corruption then you should recuse yourself from being the Attorney General because you are not doing the job that your constituents elected you to do.
Our judicial system is greatly to blame for the state of corruption in Alabama.
When the judicial systems primary function is to give a clean bill of health to the actions of our leaders, regardless of the legality of those actions, then the system is not only allowing corruption to exist, it is endorsing that corruption, which is a corrupt act in itself.
This must stop!
On Monday, I will be releasing part five on corruption within the parties, corruption which many believe to be the root of all evil in Alabama politics. Please read each of these installments that focus on different areas in which the political system in Alabama is corrupt.
Part 5: Party Corruption
Corruption is everywhere in Alabama Politics, make sure you know where it comes from, how it affects you and what you can do to fight it.
Ron Crumpton will stand up, he will shine a light on wrongdoing, no matter what the source, but he needs your help.
With your contribution of $10, $25, $50, $100 or more to his campaign, you can ensure that our voices are represented in the election and then in the Senate.