Thursday, May 19, 2005

Don't Look for Unbiased Supreme Court Judges in Raleigh

The N&O is reporting that two North Carolina Supreme Court justices, Paul Newby and Edward Brady, attended the Raleigh rally last week in favor of a constitutional amendment outlawing homosexual marriage. At the rally, reported on in this space in an earlier posting, speaker after speaker got up onstage to warn the crowd about "activist judges" poised to allow same-sex marriage in our state.

According to Ruth Sheehan, neither justice spoke at the rally, neither carried signs, and neither was recognized from the stage. But they were recognized by a reporter.

Sheehan asks a pertinent question: "Should judges, especially Supreme Court justices, appear at events in support of controversial issues that could one day come before their court?"

The judicial canon of ethics was amended in N.C. two years ago to allow judges the right to attend, preside over, and speak at events sponsored by political parties, including fund-raisers. They can also attend issue-oriented events as long as they do not speak before the crowd.

But still.

Sheehan predicts, "If same-sex marriage does come before the court, Newby and Brady can now be certain they'll be asked to recuse themselves from voting." Asked, yeah. But will they recuse themselves, or, like Antonin Scalia, tell their challengers to go pound sand?

We don't know, but we can certainly guess.

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