Conservative Criticizes Parker's Criticism
If you're not familiar with the issues involved here, check out my initial piece for a brief background.
Gary Palmer is the president of the Alabama Policy Institute , a conservative think tank. Palmer and Parker actually agree that US Supreme Court Case in question was wrongly decided, but the two have starkly different expectations of how the Alabama Supreme Court should have responded. Palmer not only takes aim at Parker's legal reasoning but also takes Parker to task on a personal level.
To my untrained legal eye, Palmer's argument against Parker's fundamental reasoning is contained with this statement:
While Parker is correct that Roper is another example of judicial activism, the decision by his colleagues to abide by the higher court's ruling does not constitute a failure to defend the U.S. Constitution nor is it passive accommodation of judicial activism. The other eight justices were in fact upholding the rule of law because all judges are bound by precedent.Palmer is also critical of the manner in which Parker made his disagreements known.
Conservative judicial activism is no more acceptable than liberal judicial activism because in the end both lead to an undermining of the public respect and trust of the law. Consequently, by advocating that conservative judges engage in judicial activism by refusing to uphold the precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, Parker himself fails the test of judicial restraint.
It is distressing to see a member of the Alabama Supreme Court undermine the decorum of the court by attacking the credibility of his fellow justices, all of whom can legitimately lay claim to solid credentials as conservatives and constructionists when it comes to abiding by and upholding the U.S. Constitution.One other thing I found interesting was Palmer's identification of the governor and attorney general (not the state supreme court) as the officials with the standing and authority to fight "activist decisions" from the Supremes. Palmer's argument is sensible, but I bet Bob Riley and Troy King would rather sit this one out than engage in the conservative hand-to-hand combat now taking place surrounding the state's judiciary. If Parker and his allies were convinced by Palmer's logic, they would simply turn their guns on Riley and King.
By writing the article, Parker himself demonstrated a lack of judicial restraint and that is no way for a member of the state's highest court to conduct himself.
Be sure to read Palmer's piece, though for a more complete window into this compelling legal debate.
Parker's unconventional manner and unorthodox judicial philosophy are certainly ruffling feathers among some in the conservative legal community. However, unlike many intellectual and legal debates that bypass the average citizen, Alabama voters will have a chance to weigh in on these weighty matters in the June primary and the November general election.