Making Every Case a Debate About God?

We’ve had a chance now to digest the various opinions of the Alabama Supreme Court in Ex parte G.C., Jr., Case No. 1040001, July 29, 2005. This is the case I told you about on Friday, in which the Justices wrote seven separate opinions among them.

For all the sound and fury, there’s not much legal precedent going on in this case. The facts and the Supreme Court’s actual holding are unremarkable. The subject of the case is a young child born to parents who never married. The mother had overdosed on drugs and was not a participant in the litigation. The trial court, after finding the father had voluntarily relinquished custody and that the father was unfit to be a parent, awarded custody to the maternal grandparents. The father appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed without opinion. If only the Supreme Court could have demonstrated the same elegance and economy.

Instead, the Supreme Court granted certiorari (agreed to hear the case) and proceeded to allow its Roy Moore clone Tom Parker to tie it up into tight little logical knots.

Justice Parker states in his dissent that the Supreme Court’s need to write seven separate opinions grows from “disagreement over foundational issues,” and he proceeds to define those foundational issues in religious terms.

I submit that the Supreme Court’s need to write seven separate opinions grows not from any disagreement over foundational issues but instead from a sad, fearful attempt on the part of our Supreme Court justices to avoid being labeled anti-God. Once Justice Parker took a rather unremarkable ruling and turned it into a referendum on God, the justices felt it necessary to play his game and respond with their own religious statements.

Let’s hope the Supreme Court justices can soon get back to what we’ve elected them to do, considering legal cases on their legal merits. If they can get their backbones back, they’re actually quite good at it.

5 comments

  1. leeborden says:

    To my knowledge, no. I use Lexis, but the terms of the license do not allow me to reproduce the opinions in their entirety.

  2. Scott Booth says:

    I have only read Justice Parkers decision, but it is clear that he has clarified a legal doctrine, rather than, as you say, turned the case into a referendum on God. Maybe you would care to explain a single problem with his legal analysis, rather than give such an obviously biased blanket dismissal of his entire decision. Burden of proof and standards of review seem to me to be the most abused and neglected legal issues in family law. You seem to base your argument, as this court has, on a twisted notion of parens patriae.

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