Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Gary Kreep, a California private attorney who has taken a pair of challenges to Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility for the presidency all the way to the Supreme Court, may soon have the chance to sit upon the bench himself.
As of the last announced count at the end of this past week, in the tight race for San Diego Superior Court, Seat 34, Kreep was leading his opponent, Deputy District Attorney Garland Peed, by a margin of 1,088 votes, with only 4,000 votes left to be counted.
The current margin – Kreep with 50.14 percent, Peed with 49.86 percent – reflects this tight contest, in which Kreep garnered only a 56-vote lead on election night with thousands of absentee and provisional ballots outstanding. As those votes have been slowly tallied, Kreep’s lead has been growing.
The race has pitted Kreep, with friends in the conservative and tea-party movements, against an opponent with connections in San Diego’s Republican establishment. Its revealed not only the divide within the GOP, but the length to which the left-leaning judicial system will go to protect its ideology.
“When the campaign first started,” Kreep told WND, “a fundraising letter went out under the banner of some local judges, in which the signer invites people to come to a fundraising soiree for Peed because I, on the other hand, am a conservative, I supported Prop 8 [a California ballot initiative defining marriage between one man and one woman], and I’m a ‘birther.’”
“But if I’m to be voted against because I’m a ‘conservative,’” Kreep related, “what’s that say about the other guy?”
Kreep also told WND that he ran into a buzz saw of political correctness when he faced the San Diego County Bar Association for its opinion of his qualifications for the bench.
The association’s investigative panel first accused Kreep of being a “racist,” the attorney recalled, until he presented proof of his work on class-action lawsuits for black and Hispanic families. Then it accused him of being “an extremist Christian” because he was part of the legal team that defended Prop 8.
Finally, Kreep told WND, when he met with the association’s senior panel, he was told, “Nobody who opposes abortion or same-sex marriage can be fair or unbiased. You can’t be a judge.”
Nonetheless, despite daunting odds and the endorsements of local heavy hitters, this tea-party favorite holds a significant lead with so few votes left to be tallied.
Kreep’s cases have included representing 2008 presidential candidate Alan Keyes, Wiley Drake and Markham Robinson in a challenge to Barack Obama’s eligibility that was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the challengers did not have legal standing to file the lawsuit. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court issued a refusal to hear the appeal.
Kreep told WND he chose to run for the judgeship because 90 percent of the judges in the area are former government lawyers, mostly former deputy district attorneys, many of whom “have no concept” of how civil and family law works.
“I’ve worked in family, appellate and civil law for over 36 years,” Kreep said. “I can’t tell you how many times I brought a case before a judge and the judge said, ‘I don’t know what that word means’ – a term that’s common in family law, but the former DA didn’t even understand the concept. That’s scary.”
When asked if he had faced opposition for his work on cases challenging Obama’s eligibility, Kreep laughed, “Yes.”
“When the San Diego Union-Tribune’s editorial people interviewed me to see if they might endorse me, the interviewer spent the first half of the interview criticizing me for being involved in eligibility case,” Kreep said. “When I suggested his tirade might be indicative of his bias, he scoffed at the idea, but then returned right to the eligibility issue with the remark, ‘How could you?’”
The Union-Tribune eventually endorsed Peed, as did the Lincoln Club, a powerful group of local Republicans, who didn’t even bother to interview Kreep.