A measure to oust the four justices who voted for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts will be considered today by the state legislature's Joint Judiciary Committee.
Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall speaking at the annual dinner of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association in 1999 when she was an associate justice.
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As WorldNetDaily reported, the Massachusetts-based group Article 8 Alliance is promoting a "bill of address," a Massachusetts provision allowing lawmakers to remove judges who fail to fulfill their duties.
The measure, filed by Democratic state Rep. Emile Goguen filed in April 2004, contends the justices violated multiple articles in the state constitution prohibiting courts from nullifying existing laws and requiring that laws remain in effect until the legislature repeals them, regardless of the actions and opinions of the judiciary branch
The bill names Chief Justice Margaret Marshall and justices John M. Greaney, Roderick L. Ireland and Judith A. Cowin.
The last time Massachusetts lawmakers removed a Supreme Judicial Court justice was 1803. A failed attempt was made in 1922. But Article 8 director Brian Camenker, who launched the campaign in January 2004, has said lawmakers privately say "this was a completely illegal ruling, it has no basis in law at all, and that this is really what needs to happen."
The legislators, Camenker believes, are afraid of the Boston Globe and other mainstream media, and homosexual activists and their lawyers, and they don't want to be seen as trying to oust a judge.
In addition, Gouguen has accused Chief Justice Marshall of conspiring with homosexual activists before her 2003 ruling, citing alleged violations of the state's Code of Judicial Conduct and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.
Pointing to Marshall's speech to the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association in 1999, when she was an associate justice, Gouguen contends she aided and abetted Mary L. Bonauto, the attorney who argued the same-sex marriage case for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.
In the speech, Marshall, praised the "growing body of gay-friendly international jurisprudence," including that of her native South Africa.
Gouguen argues Marshall's appearance before the homosexual group should have disqualified her from the same-sex marriage case. He notes the Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct stated at the time, "A judge should disqualify himself in a proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." The code's language was strengthened last year, changing "should" to "shall."
John Haskins, Article 8's associate director, says his group is trying to arrange testimony by constitutional experts, including one or more from Harvard Law School.
He said the House and Senate leadership "appears to have conspired to schedule this hearing without notifying us until it was too late to introduce testimony or alert the media."
Haskins said it's the opinion of more and more legal experts that, "for the entire country, a great deal depends on our scaring the Massachusetts political estabishment back into at least faintly constitutional parameters."
Last July, Article 8 charged the state Legislature's Rules Committee violated legislative rules by holding a secret vote on the bill at a meeting that was not advertised in advance.
Goguen caught wind of the meeting but was told by the chairman it was a private "executive session" and he would have to leave, despite House rules requiring it be open to the public.