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Supreme Court Justice Leaked Audio Divides GOP

via Dolcefino Consulting
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Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine faces a primary challenge from appellate judge Brian Walker, who has criticized Devine’s record on ethics and impartiality.

Devine emerged from Texas’ conservative Christian anti-abortion movement in the 1980s, getting arrested over 30 times for protests.

As a judge since the 1990s, he has faced numerous ethics complaints.

Elected to the state Supreme Court in 2012, Devine is seen as defender of religious freedom by conservatives but criticized for allowing his faith to influence rulings.

His dissenting opinions on same-sex marriage rights were praised by other Republicans.

Walker argued Devine’s campaign speeches attacking colleagues and officials undermine judicial impartiality.

Devine said, “At times I feel like they would sacrifice the Republic for the sake of the process.”

He continued, “My concern is that they all bow down to the altar of process rather than to fidelity to the Constitution. And when I say that, it’s not meant to be malice towards my colleagues. I think it’s how they were trained — how they were brainwashed.”

“We are talking about great constitutional issues here that will determine whether we survive as a representative republic or not. Are we going to just have it stolen from us? Over process for crying out loud?” exclaimed the judge.

Walker said, “We have a judge who just continues to violate ethical rules and the code of judicial conduct that’s written by the Texas Supreme Court itself.”

He continued, “And if the people can’t trust that judges are going to follow even their own rules, then they’ll have very little confidence that the rule of law truly will prevail.”

Their primary will test voter demand for culture war issues to influence the judiciary.

Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values said, “He’s very principled and passionate about his role, and about standing firm and exercising that role even if someone has a different opinion or they’re trying to put some political pressure on him.”

“To me, it’s a reflection of what the people of Texas want and expect,” explained Saenz.

Sanford Levinson, a longtime legal scholar at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law said, “Judges usually didn’t speak that way. And I don’t think that trash talk is a particularly healthy phenomenon.”

Devine previously said, “The fact is we’re elected and part of our job is to run for reelection.”

“It doesn’t do you any good if you don’t get reelected, ” he added.

Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance For Life said, “It was very small and fragmented — nothing compared to what it is now. We were very hopeful. But there hadn’t been much accomplished tangibly at that point.”

Saenz said, “Voters expect judges to follow the Constitution at the state and the federal level, and not see it as this living, breathing document that they can change depending on what the facts are of some case that may not fit their own political ideas or agenda.”

“Judges like Justice Devine understand that this is what the voters expect, that this is what his role is. And he’s very committed to it,” he continued.

Adding, “I think that’s a perfectly legitimate topic for discussion and debate. But we seem incapable of having it.”

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