Judge Bill Graves - Connect the Dots.
District Judge Bill Graves wrote a letter to an Oklahoma Bar Association committee criticizing the suggested changes in the code. These changes are along the lines of wording in the American Bar Association code.
"These policies are not based on laws enacted by Congress or the State Legislature, but on proposals of the liberal, pro-homosexual American Bar Association," Graves said.
He specifically objects to a proposed rule prohibiting judges from holding membership in organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity or sexual orientation."
Graves said the proposal promotes a "homosexual agenda which is to have homosexuality treated as normal and natural as heterosexuality. These are cultural, moral and political issues that should be reserved to the Legislative branch."
Recently, rumors began circulating that Judge Graves had been removed from his responsibilities as a District Court Judge and assigned to duties normally reserved for unelected Special Judges. Judge Grave's reassignment was reported today in the Daily Oklahoman (link HERE):
More than 2,400 criminal cases in Oklahoma County are about to be reassigned, thanks to a controversial order by the county's presiding judge.
District Judge Vicki Robertson shuffled some judicial assignments in a June 27 order.
The order — which goes into effect Aug. 1 — resulted in District Judge Bill Graves losing his criminal docket and being assigned to probate cases, a chore that had been handled by an appointed special judge.
Graves, who declined to comment on the move, had more than 2,400 cases on his docket in July, according to court records.
Those cases will be reassigned to the other six district judges handling criminal cases, according to Robertson's order.
Robertson said specialty dockets like drug and mental health courts have siphoned enough cases that the county does not need as many criminal judges.
"I just had to redistribute the caseload,” she told The Oklahoman recently.
Decision draws oppositionRobertson said she chose to reassign Graves, who made news recently for decrying the homosexual agenda in proposed rules governing judicial conduct, because he had the least seniority among the judges assigned to criminal cases. Robertson could not be reached for comment Friday, but her order has drawn opposition from all seven judges — including Graves — and the Oklahoma County Criminal Defense Lawyers
When I addressed the Oklahoma Bar Association Bench and Bar Committee on this issue this spring (Link to comments HERE and HERE), I warned them that this type of anti-Christian discrimination would occur as a result of the passage of the proposed rule changes:
It now appears that even legal opposition to the rule changes through the mandated OBA hearing process may be enough to get a Christian judge reassigned to duties usually reserved for his assistants.
I sincerely believe with all my heart, based upon my own personal experience, that that the new proposed code of judicial conduct will be used by some attorneys and organizations to first “shop” sitting judges and then shape judicial elections and thus establish a defacto , as applied, religious test for Oklahoma judges
The question is straightforwardOur founding fathers recognized this problem and drafted strong protections into the language of the constitution
.Will we use the power of the Oklahoma Bar Association to dictate the religious associations (or lack thereof) of the citizens who serve on our benches? I agree with Justice Joseph Story who said, “The rights of conscience are indeed beyond the reach of any human power .They are given by God and cannot be encroached upon by human authority … Our judges did not surrender their citizenship when they took the bench and are entitled to the same rights of conscience, association and free exercise of religion as any other citizen . .Article VI, Para .3 of the Constitution is straightforward: “ … No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States United States .” Article 1 § 2 of the Constitution is equally clear: “no religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights Oklahoma .”
This is truly frightening. Ten years ago when I was in law school, my ethics professor taught that any person who opposed gay rights should not be allowed to serve on the bench. That professor will soon become a part of the Oklahoma Bar Association committee which screens and selects the judicial candidates that you are allowed to vote for. At the time, many of us thought that that particular professor was a hopeless radical. But, given what has happened to Judge Graves, you have to wonder if there will be any way in the future for a practicing Catholic, Evangelical or Orthodox Jew to serve on the bench in Oklahoma.