Thursday, October 30, 2008

Has Karl Rove's Terror Campaign Worked in the Deep South?

After I wrote yesterday about the race for a seat on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, a disturbing question came to mind:

Has Republican strategist Karl Rove succeeded with his long-running campaign to intimidate Democratic candidates for statewide offices in the Deep South?

In his seminal reporting on the Bush Justice Department, Scott Horton of Harper's magazine has raised numerous important points about the motives behind political prosecutions, such as the Don Siegelman case in Alabama and the Paul Minor case in Mississippi.

Two points, in particular, are rattling around in my head at the moment:

* The goal behind the Mississippi prosecution apparently was to dry up a key source of financial support for Democratic candidates. Paul Minor, an attorney who had become wealthy from bringing successful litigation against the asbestos and tobacco industries, was one such donor--in Mississippi and beyond. Minor was a major supporter of John Edwards' presidential campaign, and Horton has reported that Bush strategists had fingered Edwards as the most likely threat to Dubya's re-election in 2004. That evidently helped make Minor a target for the Bush DOJ--along with state judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield, who had received Minor's campaign support. Minor, Teel, and Whitfield all are in federal prison for crimes that, as we have shown in an extensive series of posts here at Legal Schnauzer, they did not commit. The message? If you give to Democratic candidates in a deep red, Deep South state, you will come to regret it.

* The goal of the Alabama prosecution apparently was to eliminate a Democrat who had a troubling habit of beating Republicans in statewide elections. Siegelman had done it four times--in races for secretary of state, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and governor. Rove and Co. evidently decided, "By God, he's not going to get re-elected as governor." And they used a federal investigation, and disappearing vote totals overnight in heavily Republican Baldwin County, to accomplish that goal. The message? If you are a Democrat who beats us at the ballot box in a deep red, Deep South state, we will make you pay.

Those messages came to mind after I wrote yesterday that Presiding Judge William C. Thompson, a Republican, is almost certainly going to be re-elected to his seat on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals--even though he is demonstrably corrupt. I know Thompson is corrupt because I had an appeal before him in 2005, and Thompson swept the unlawful trial-court judgment under the rug by issuing a no-opinion affirmance.

Thompson appears to be a shoo-in for re-election because Democratic challenger Kimberly Drake has not been able to put up much of a fight. My post drew the following response from Robert Sullivan, Drake's campaign manager:

To quickly and briefly respond to the Legal Schnauzer blog, we’re putting up as much of a fight as we can, given our resources.

Thompson does lead Drake in campaign contributions--this is Alabama and a Democrat will always face an uphill battle. He is a beneficiary of the same backers as Shaw (Greg Shaw, running for Alabama Supreme Court) and is another product of Rove’s gaming of Alabama’s elections.

However, Kim has TV spots scheduled to appear this week, as are some radio spots. She has given interviews with several newspapers and a radio station. She also appeared at the judicial fundraiser and candidate forum at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

In the mean time, Drake is still a mother of three and a lawyer, while Thompson has time to fritter away.

We are also reaching out to Christians, who are unhappy with Thompson. Politics makes for strange bed fellows.

This is not over.

I hope Sullivan is right, and I didn't mean to imply that Drake isn't doing the best she can do. In fact, she has two sure votes here in the Schnauzer household, and I encourage all Alabamians to vote for her.

My main point was this: Bill Thompson needs to be booted out of office, and it's a crying shame that the Alabama Democratic Party could not help a candidate (either Drake or someone else) put up a serious fight. For two or three years now, I've been trying to tell Alabama Democratic leaders that I can prove the all-Republican Court of Civil Appeals is corrupt--and I've been willing to go public with it. But Democrats have not been able to take advantage, and as a result, Bill Thompson almost certainly will get another six years on the bench.

But back to Karl Rove: Is it possible Democrats could not give Thompson a fight because they were afraid to do it, even afraid to win?

Why would Kim Drake, or any other Democrat, want to solicit significant donations, and why would any donor want to give? Look what happened in the Paul Minor case next door in Mississippi!

Why would Kim Drake, or any other Democrat, want to push too hard for victory? My God, what if she actually won? Look what happened to Don Siegelman!

As we sit here now, just a few days from the November 4 election, we know that a Democrat has a pretty good chance of winning the White House and taking back the Justice Department from Republican criminals. But neither Drake, nor any other Democrat who might have run against Thompson, knew that at the outset.

If I had been in their shoes, knowing what had happened in the Siegelman and Minor cases, I might have given Bill Thompson a free pass, too.

Hopefully, next Tuesday will be a red-letter day for Democrats--and for justice. And hopefully, Rove & Co. someday will pay big time for the crimes they have committed.

But for now, Rove's legacy of threats and intimidation still has teeth. And it shows in the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.


Anonymous said...

Simply because an appellate judge rules against you does not mean he/she is corrupt. incompetent maybe, but not corrupt. appellate judges get the law and facts wrong all the time. there are thousands of appeals, and very little court personnel to do an adequate job reviewing each appeal.

if your appeal was pro se, more than likely it was decided by a staff atorney, without judge thompson even reading it. the staff attorney probably just wrote a memo reccomending "affirmed no opinion" and the Court went along with it.

many times the Court does this (affirmed no opinion) to protect litigants. I have filed appeals before to cover my ass from a crazy client where i knew that i was beat on the law and facts. the court would affirm with no opinion, to spare me the beatdown that would follow.

the appellate courts in this state are bad, and they are generally bought off by either corporate or trial lawyer money. but i doubtjudge thompson specifically intended to committ fraud or any other crime in affirming the verdict against you.

maybe you are right. maybe the repubs in this state are out to take you down and have orchestrated all of this rigmarole to simply "get" you. But I would like to see some hard facts on this blog, rather than innuendo and accusations. The proof is in the pudding. Post the depositions or the trial transcript. post the illicit conversations you recorded that implicate uab. post some hard evidence, rather than opinion.

also remember that if you do get a lawyer- a long shot given that it appears you have sued every lawyer you previously hired- to sue UAB for your wrongful termination (which by the way, may be a colorable claim), the defense will offer all of your web posting into evidence to portray you as a kook. be carefull what you post. post only what you can prove, or it can bite you in the ass in the future.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for an interesting comment. A few thoughts:

* I didn't just say Thompson ruled against me. I said he ruled contrary to clear and simple law, and I stated what that law was. If a judge does that and uses the U.S. mail as part of the scheme, it's a crime. And that's why I say he's corrupt. Two former state judges in Mississippi currently are in federal prison on this kind of issue. And they got the underlying ruling correct, under the law. The Bush DOJ is holding them political prisoners for all intents and purposes. Shows you the DOJ takes this seriously, at least when a Democratic judge allegedly does it. When a Republican like Thompson actually does cheat litigants, it's overlooked.

* I'm sure the appeals courts are swamped. But maybe that wouldn't be the case if trial judges got cases right the first time around. In Shelby County, they don't even try to get cases right.

* My appeal was pro se, and if a staff attorney affirmed it without Thompson even seeing it, then that makes the staff attorney corrupt. Isn't Thompson responsible for his staff? Shouldn't he be running a better operation than that? Why would he allow his name to be put on something that he hasn't even seen?

* Your point about issuing a no-opinion affirmance to protect a client does not apply in my case. I was my own client. And the law clearly was on my side, and I showed how in my posts today and yesterday. I simply got cheated, and I suspect many other Alabamians do, too.

* I couldn't agree more with your comment about our appellate courts being bad. In fact, you and I generally seem to agree on most of this. We may just look at it from different angles.

* Don't know how closely you've read the blog or how long you've read it, but I've posted hard facts from the beginning. As you know, depositions and trial transcripts often run into the 100s of pages, and I don't have the time or resources to scan those documents into the blog. Also, those documents aren't necessary to see how this case was butchered. I've given out the case number of the lawsuit against me and told people how they can easily find it and review the file. Anyone who doubts whether I'm telling the truth about the facts or law related to the case, is welcome to ask me a specific question and I will be glad to respond and point them in the direction of the appropriate document.

* My claim against UAB is definitely colorable. And no lawyer who plans to do their job properly should have a concern about representing me. Again, the legal malpractice claims I've filed are public documents, and anyone can check the file and determine for themselves if they think the claims were valid or not. I never have had, and never will have, a problem with any attorney who represents me as opposed to caving to the wishes of a corrupt judge.

* I'm not worried about the people at UAB trying to portray me as a kook. They know I'm not a kook and they know they cheated me out of my job. That's why so many people who work at UAB read my blog every day. If I was a kook, why would they care what I was writing? UAB's own grievance committee determined that I was wrongfully terminated, so I'm not saying anything that UAB's own HR mechanism hasn't already stated.

Anonymous said...

You, you, Schnauzer you!