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03/15/2010

Replacing the gavel with a cross and other 'better court' goals

by Jeremy Hooper

Charles LiMandri (NOM and Carrie Prejean's attorney) is a man who's on visual record sharing his belief that gays are typically abused as kids, that drawing pictures of army tanks could possibly turn gay kids "normal," that LGBT folks have a higher rate of violence, that gays are incapable/undesirous of monogamy, and that the LGBT community's true goal is to attack religion. He's also a man who created a Powerpoint presentation which links to uber-disgraced researcher Paul Cameron to support anti-gay claims, and who even refers to "sodomy" as a "crime against nature." Furthermore, he's someone who has referred to marriage equality as "societal suicide" and "sacrilege," claiming that "the destruction of the concept of gender is perhaps Satan's greatest accomplishment."

So you'll have to forgive us if we meet his new "Better Courts Now" initiative with maniacal laughter and/or hysterical tears rather than a receptive ear:


Charles Li Mandri from BetterCourtsNow.com on Vimeo.

Oh, but Chuck ain't alone in this latest denunciation of a critical branch of government. No, no. We also have another NOM affiliate, the Ruth Institute's Jennifer Roback Morse, who you might remember from the times she's referred to her side's marriage bans as "unifiers," or the instance when she clumsily likened this very site's attempts to speak in favor of marriage equality as an attempt to redefine pi. J-Ro-Mo contributes this insight to the mix:


Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse from BetterCourtsNow.com on Vimeo.

And then there's pastor Chris Clark, who during the (first) Prop 8 fight, kept reciting outright lies about what churches will be forced to do:

(click to play audio clip)

On this "better courts" site, Chris clocks in with the following:


Chris Clark from BetterCourtsNow.com on Vimeo.

Oh, and then there's Prop 8's Ron Prenctice (enough said):


Ron Prentice from BetterCourtsNow.com on Vimeo.

All working to convince the American public that "better courts" mean ones that have no role in protecting minority rights, even though this flies in the face of what America is and should be all about. And before you think it's just these professionally "pro-family" folks, you should know that others like California Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-La Mesa) and former CA Assemblyman Steve Baldwin have also joined in this unabashed effort to elect homo-hostile judges in the Golden State and abroad. It's a serious effort! One that seeks to harm any family that stands outside of the limited evangelical moral purview, and any justice who thought that independence, constitutional accuracy, and reasoned stands even in the face of majority outrage were kinda, sorta part of their gig.

What they are seeking are bitter courts that only bake up a hetero-specific batter. You better care. Now.

MORE: San Diego-based group mounts effort to elect conservative judges [Capitol Weekly]

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Your thoughts

The flip side, though, is that we will know exactly who to oppose. And when it comes to being confirmed to higher judicial posts, I would bet that a nod from this group would not be very beneficial. They may think that this is a "winning" strategy, but when races for judgeships become partisan bickering matches, they may find that they end up on the pointy end of that stick.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Mar 15, 2010 8:00:25 PM

I just have one more thing to say. It is highly imprudent for a judge (sitting or campaigning), to indicate that they are anything other than impartial or anything other than one who will absolutely uphold the law. Any judge who would accept an endorsement (and not vehemently distance him/her self) from ideologues of any stripe, is one who has already said that they cannot be trusted to be impartial interpreters of the law. They have already indicated, "the law be damned, my ideology dictates my decisions."

I can't imagine that any judge would ever believe that being labeled as an ideologue would ever be beneficial to his/her career - whether they are elected or appointed. It also might open those judges up to much more scrutiny than they otherwise might receive. They can, of course, be impeached - or worse, their rulings can be overturned.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Mar 15, 2010 11:01:39 PM

The Religious Right isn't very popular here in California. There are a lot of reasons for that but what people from back east might not appreciate is the degree to which this state is populated by people who came here to get away from oppressive families, communities and states in the rest of the U.S. That group contains a high proportion of gay people but many straights, too, can't tolerate the culturally conservative smallmindedness, which so very often is tied into reactionary religion. The general cultural here is more libertarian in terms of certain issues of personal freedom, very much including sexuality.

There are a LOT of gay people here and we are politically aware and active. But there are also MANY straight people here who REALLY don't like the Religious Right, especially the fundamentalists.

My guess is that being identified publicly as a "traditional values" judicial candidate would make electoral victory difficult, if it wouldn't be the kiss of death, in the localities of most local judgeships, and that would hold for any statewide judicial elections as well.

I guess that's a longwinded way of agreeing with Dick Mills about the fundies getting "the pointy end of the stick" if they tried to pull this here without being VERY slick about it.

Which carries its own hazards, because California, as well as so much of the rest of the country, has gone through the whole fundie "stealth" candidate period in the 1980s, with the nationwide revelation their stealth manual, etc. We know to investigate if things don't seem right about a candidate.

Posted by: Donny D. | Mar 16, 2010 6:28:09 AM

I was going to ask how, after his client was caught diddling herself on camera, Charles LiMandri can be taken seriously as an attorney. But then again, Robert Shapiro did represent OJ.

Posted by: DN | Mar 16, 2010 11:32:08 AM

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