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Tom Parker

Investiture speech of Alabama Associate Justice Tom Parker

Justice Tom Parker delivered the following speech on January 14, 2005 at his investiture to the Alabama Supreme Court.

May it please the Courts.

Governor, Public Officials, friends and family, thank you for being here today.

The defining question for the American people today is this: “By what standard?”

 

By what standard shall we govern ourselves? By what standard shall our courts interpret the Constitution? Who is the ultimate voice of authority? Is it the people? Is it the judges who wear black robes? Are they truly the ultimate voice of authority? Or is there a higher source from which even the legitimacy of constitutions ultimately derive their authority, and to whom the allegiance of every policy maker and judge is due?

Our Founding Fathers answered this question with resounding clarity when they boldly declared that “We are endowed by our CREATOR with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

With these twenty-five simple words, that remarkable delegation of citizen patriots was able to declare with stunning precision what fewer and fewer modern jurists seem able to understand or communicate in their many thousands of pages of decisions rendered during the course of a lifetime.

Namely, this: The very God of Holy Scriptures, the CREATOR, is the source of law, life and liberty. It is to Him, not evolving standards or arbitrary pronouncements of judges, that the leaders of every nation owe their ultimate allegiance.

The most influential jurist on the thinking of our Founding Fathers, Sir William Blackstone, put it this way:

The doctrines thus delivered we call revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in Holy Scriptures. Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human law should be suffered to contradict these.

Blackstone would add a cautious reminder: Judges do not make law; they do but discover it from its true source.

Yesterday, January 13th, 2005, I was administered the oath of office at the United States Supreme Court building by the leading advocate in our land for original intent interpretation of the Constitution, U. S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Just moments before I placed my hand on the Holy Scripture, Justice Thomas soberly addressed me and all in attendance. He admonished us to remember that the work of a justice should be evaluated by one thing and one thing only–whether or not he is faithful to uphold his oath, an oath which, as Justice Thomas pointed out, is not to the people, not to the state, and not to the constitution, but an oath which is to God Himself.

Today, I once again placed my hand on the Bible, God’s Holy Word. On this day the oath was administered to me by a man who is well known to each of you, a man who sacrificed his very office in the holy cause of liberty. Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Supreme Court of Alabama understood that oaths are sworn to the Creator, that they must be upheld, and that no judge or set of justices may banish from the courtroom the very source of authority which gives legitimacy to law itself.

As I took the oath of office today, I placed my hand on the Biblical charge to judges:

“Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man, but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery. You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the Lord.”

(2 Chronicles 19:6-9)

I stand here today, humbled by this charge, but a grateful man who aspires to adhere to that tradition embodied in the sentiments spoken to me yesterday by Justice Clarence Thomas, and the commitment to our Founders’ vision of authority and the rule of law personified by Chief Justice Roy Moore.

As I took the oath of office yesterday at the U.S. Supreme Court, I placed my hand on those Scriptures which represent my defining prayer not only for this Court, but for every court in our great land. This prayer is summarized in the words of the Lord, who spoke through the prophet Isaiah, declaring:

I will restore your judges as in days of old,
and your counselors as at the beginning.

Afterward you shall be called, The City of Righteousness, the Faithful city.

(Isaiah 1:26)

Thank you for the great honor bestowed upon me today. I will always view my oath as solemn, binding and mission-defining.

May God guide us and direct us. May we boldly proclaim that it is God, Jesus Christ who gives us life and liberty. May we, as justices who have taken oaths to our God, never fear to acknowledge Him. And may the Alabama Supreme Court lead this nation in our gratitude, humility and deference, to the only true source of law, our Creator.

Thank you.

Tom Parker

Judicial servants vs. judicial tyrants

Tom Parker promises godly principle and godly action

Christians in Alabama and throughout the nation were frustrated and angered by the lack of godly leadership shown by the eight associate justices of the Alabama Supreme Court in August 2003. The eight justices voted to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building–where the court sits–that Chief Justice Roy Moore had installed two years earlier. The Federal District Court for the Middle District of Alabama had ordered Moore to remove the monument, claiming that its presence was an establishment of religion. Moore refused to comply and the associate justices took action.

Tom Parker served as Deputy Administrative Director of Courts in the Alabama judicial system, a position to which Moore appointed him in 2001. In this office, he worked as general counsel for the court system and director of the Alabama Judicial College. He advised trial court judges and provided new judges with training and continuing education for trial judges in the state. He also served as legal advisor and spokesman for Moore, giving statements and arranging press briefings for Moore during the standoff at the judicial building. When Moore was removed from office for refusing to take away the monument, Parker also had his employment in the court system terminated because of his support of the chief justice.

Parker is campaigning in the Republican Primary for Alabama Supreme Court, Place 1. His opponent in this race is one of the associate justices who ordered the Ten Commandments monument removed. Parker points out that the Alabama judicial building is leased from the Alabama Building Authority and that the chief justice is the leaseholder of the building–and, therefore, can control the interior furnishings and decorations. When Moore was suspended from office, this authority passed to acting chief justice Gorman Houston who, according to Parker, could have ordered removal of the monument by himself. “The other justices did not have to get involved. They made a mistake by doing so,” Parker said.

A Montgomery native, Parker has been married for 22 years to Dottie. He attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and received his law degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He presently serves as Special Projects Manager for the Foundation for Moral Law in Montgomery. The Foundation had provided legal funds for Moore and continues to work to combat judicial tyranny.

Prior to his work with the judicial system, Parker worked under Jeff Sessions in the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. As an Assistant Attorney General, he handled criminal appeals and death penalty cases with experience presenting oral arguments before the Court of Criminal Appeals and the state Supreme Court.

Parker was a partner in the law firm of Parker & Kotouc. That firm was involved in two high-profile cases: the Mobile school prayer case Wallace v. Jaffree and the humanism textbook case Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County. Parker also defended churches, ministries, Christian schools, and home schooling. He was founding executive director of the Alabama Family Alliance and the Alabama Family Advocates. Both organizations are associated with Focus on the Family and Dr. James Dobson. Parker also drafted pro-life legislation for Alabama and lobbied for the pro-life issue in the Alabama legislature. The Alabama Pro-Life Coalition was run out of his law office.

Parker believes the justices of the Alabama Supreme Court could have acted as buffers to the usurpation of the rights of the people and the state by thwarting efforts by the federal district court in the Ten Commandments case. “Instead, they voluntarily chose to get involved and vote to remove the Ten Commandments monument,” he said. Parker wants to serve the state with the interest of protecting the rights of the people–particularly the right to publicly acknowledge God. He says that, had he been a member of the Supreme Court during the standoff, he would have spoken out in opposition to attempts by the federal court to interfere with the state’s liberties.

Parker sees the courts as a body tasked with protecting liberty. Courts should not act as legislative bodies in order to create new laws or a pseudo-constitution. “Unfortunately, we are seeing the forces of political correctness at work in our nation and even coming here to Alabama to try to force their ways on us. We’ve seen the travesty of gay “marriage” being found to be a constitutional right by the state supreme court in Massachusetts. [And] the U.S. Supreme Court totally abandoned its means of judicial analysis in order to reach its desired goal of legitimizing homosexual activity.”

Parker knows from whence comes the authority to govern. He recognizes the same source of authority that the state constitution names: “Our constitution sets out God as the foundation for our judicial system. I cannot be faithful to our constitution [without recognizing] God as the One whose favor and guidance was invoked in the establishment of the state judicial system, as expressly set forth in the preamble of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.”

He says that the acknowledgement of God is necessary to the constitutional government of Alabama. “Our state founding fathers, in every one of our constitutions throughout the history of Alabama, have included that important principle and cornerstone for our state government. Judicial systems have to have some moral or philosophical basis. Our system of justice is based on the Judeo-Christian belief system.”

“The Old Testament admonished judges not to make a distinction between the Jew and a stranger but to treat all equally. What that meant was that your national origins or your beliefs were not supposed to matter to the administrator of justice–it was only one–actions for which one could be held accountable. The whole concept of liberty of conscience was recognized in the judicial system of the Old Testament and protected by the first table of the Law, the Commandments I through IV. Your relationship as an individual with God is something that you were accountable to God for. And, government had no authority to try to–in any way–affect one’s belief in God or the manner of discharging the duties to God.”

Parker reminds Alabamians of their ability to counteract judicial tyranny: “We in Alabama are fortunate in having an elected judiciary. The check that the public has over judges at the polls saves us from what we have seen at the national level or in states with appointed supreme courts where those courts grabbed power and tend toward a totally new constitutional theory of judicial supremacy.”

One of the justices who sold out the rights of the state and of the people by bowing to the tyrannical will of a federal judge is campaigning for re-election. Alabama voters have a perfect opportunity to replace her with a man who is committed to acknowledging God and protecting citizens from the interference of despots. “Just like faith without works is dead, so too are principles without action. For too long, we’ve had judges telling us that they were opposed to judicial activism. But when the challenge came, they didn’t stand against it. We need state judges who have the moral courage to act on their principles and resist judicial tyranny.”