Judicial Distemperament

Guest Blogger Lawrence Rafferty writes a very disturbing post on Jonathan Turley: Res ipsa loquitur (“The thing itself speaks”). Here’s the first paragraph.

There is a surprising story out of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania that seems the perfect storm of religious tensions. You begin with Ernie Perce, an atheist who marched as a zombie Mohammad in the Mechanicsburg Halloween parade. Then you add Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim who stepped off a curb and reportedly attacked Perce for insulting the Prophet. Then you have a judge (Judge Mark Martin) who threw out the criminal charges against Elbayomy and ridiculed the victim, Perce. The Judge identifies himself as a Muslim and says that Perce conduct is not what the First Amendment is supposed to protect.

Read Rafferty’s complete post, particularly his concerns about criminalizing anti-religious speech. There may have been conflicting evidence concerning the crime but as Rafferty says, “. . . when it comes to free speech, that is not just our controlling constitutional right but the touchstone of our culture.”
This judge should be recalled. Not because he is a Muslim but because he cannot distance himself from his own religious sentiments sufficiently to render rulings based solely on the law of the land.
Holy cow, I agree with Jim West.
This case illustrates why we need to keep religion, all religion, out of our government at every level and every branch.
Update: February 27:
Perhaps I reacted too soon and too pointy. In the comment below, Gary directs us to Language Log. I turns out that Judge Martin is not a Muslim but rather likely a Lutheran. He seems to have been using something like a counterfactual when referring to himself as a Muslim, “(If) I am a Muslim . . .” This doesn’t relieve all my concerns but it does put it in a somewhat different context.

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