Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Judge Bill Graves - Connect the Dots - Part II

Many Oklahoma citizens unfamiliar with the culture war don't understand how a popularly elected Oklahoma judge could be demoted for simply exercising his constitutionally guaranteed First Amendment rights. The official position is that Judge Bill Graves was not demoted, but simply reassigned to other duties where he was needed more. This position asks the onlooking public to ignore three basic, undisputed facts: (1) that Judge Graves openly criticized an extremely controversial proposition of the Oklahoma Bar Association and the American Bar Association and (2) within weeks thereafter he was "reassigned" to duties that would cause most onlookers to conclude that he had been demoted (3) Judge Graves had over 24oo ongoing criminal cases on his docket when he was "reassigned," including several death penalty cases. The following blog entry (Link HERE) by New York Law School Professor (and gay rights activist) Arthur S. Leonard goes a long way in clarifying this otherwise inexplicable difference in perception between the publics questions and the official position:

Well, sitting judges raving about the "homosexual agenda" and decrying the attempt to curb their desire to enact their religious beliefs against homosexuality in their work would certainly merit the attention of the judicial disciplinary authorities in the jurisdiction where they sit, I would think. Judge Graves has now alerted the Oklahoma authorities of the need to monitor his decision-making with care in order to protect the due process rights of sexual and ethnic minority litigants who may come before him. Although he "covers" himself by saying, regarding "homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals", "Certainly, the three latter groups should be treated with courtesy, fairness and justice like anyone else," he also insists that the BBC, by its proposed rule, "is promoting the homosexual agenda which is to have homosexuality treated as normal and natural as heterosexuality."

Actually, this is a breath of fresh air, to have a judge who is obviously firmly anti-gay come forward and expose his views, including his accurate understanding of the "homosexual agenda." Yes, an accurate understanding, as gay liberationists have figured out that our sexual orientation is actually a normal and natural variant of human existence, and our "agenda" -- to the extent there is anything so formal -- is exactly that: to reverse centuries of demented propaganda against us by helping everybody to understand that we are folks whose differences from others are naturally occurring variations in human characteristics.

A word to the wise, though: every lawyer in Oklahoma should keep a copy of this letter in their files to use in support of a recusal motion in case they are appearing before Judge Graves in a case where they are representing one of the groups demeaned in the letter....
That's blackmail. But, it is an officially tolerated form of blackmail. To understand just how far the animus toward traditional Christian values in the legal profession extends, you need go no further than the following editorial recently printed in The Oklahoma City Journal Record (Link HERE) the "official" legal newspaper of the state capitol:

(Snip) In an April 8 letter to the Oklahoma Bar Association concerning the adoption of the revised code, Oklahoma County District Court Judge Bill Graves vehemently objected to a provision calling for non- discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, or ethnicity. Graves rails against the proposal as coming from the "liberal, pro- homosexual American Bar Association." Graves states that the current canons of ethics cover sexual orientation. He states "homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals ... should be treated with courtesy, fairness and justice like anyone else," which sounds good. But then the judge truly expresses himself by continuing that the OBA is "promoting the homosexual agenda which is to have homosexuality treated as normal and natural as heterosexuality." Graves opines that "the People of Oklahoma do not subscribe to the homosexual agenda."

Whether you agree with Graves or not, his public stance forces the question of whether somebody appearing in front of him might get a stiffer sentence or less judicial compassion because the judge thought the person was a promoter of the so-called liberal, homosexual agenda - or even the litigant's attorney, or the attorney's law firm. A parade of horribles is not hard to imagine. Should an officer of the ABA have his client appear with another attorney, or will Graves forgive the association with the liberal, pro-homosexual body? What if the attorney is gay, or the defendant is gay? Graves is, after all, telling the OBA that he does not feel he should be required to not discriminate, so is it not logical to assume that he might discriminate if given the opportunity?

Graves asserts that the code denies judges their First Amendment rights and is contrary to freedom of religion and the Bible, because there are "numerous Biblical references condemning homosexuality." Graves notes that even many non-Christians and atheists object to the "homosexual agenda." But homosexuality is not a crime and is not condemnable in Oklahoma. Graves ignores the fact that he affirmatively sought the office of district court judge. Perhaps if it is too much for him not to discriminate, he should resign. (Snip)

The writer's position is clear: devout, practicing Catholics, Evangelicals, Mormons and Orthodox Jews are not welcome on the bench in Oklahoma unless they recant their faith. The circumstances surrounding Judge Bill Graves "reassignment" could cause the onlooking public to assume that this is also becoming the defacto if not dejure position of some Oklahoma courts.


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