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   Note: Mitt Romney never appointed any State Supreme Court Judges.

Gay Judges

Appointment of:

Governor Romney sanitized the judicial selection process to remove bias and favoratism.

When he appointed judges to criminal courts he did so based on their stated philosophy and record of being tough on crime. He did not discriminate based on ethnicity, sex, party affiliation, sexual orientation or for any other reason. As a result, he appointed at least one, and according to news reports, probably at least a couple of gays to be judges in criminal courts.

He made it clear his criteria would be based on the cases the judges would be ruling on. If he were to appoint a judge to the state supreme court, or in courts where they would be ruling on social issues, he stated his criteria in appointing such judges would include that they would not try to be activist judges or make rulings that were constitutionally and morally wrong.

Following are detailed quotes and a list of links on this subject:

Gay marriage and adoption
Oct 21, 2007 (1:16 min)

"Romney also sanitized the judicial selection process, requiring the nominating panel to conduct an initial blind review of candidates without knowing their names, gender, or references.

" ''The review process was completely apolitical,'' said Ralph C. Martin II, who chaired the Judicial Nominating Commission for half of Romney's term. A July 2005 review by the Boston Globe of Romney's judicial picks detected no philosophical or partisan pattern."

''I've appointed approximately 60 judges, one or two of whom... one of whom I'm quite confident is gay, the other may be gay as well. I think he probably is, and there may be more for all I know. But I've never asked a judicial candidate, "are you gay?" and discriminated against them on that basis.''

"The governor said that, so far, he has had few chances to appoint judges to the highest state courts, where his criteria would change to include ''strict construction, judicial philosophy.''

" ''With regards to those at the district court and clerk magistrate level, their political views aren't really going to come into play unless their views indicate they will be soft on crime, because in that case, apply elsewhere,'' Romney said.

"The above is a key point. Ziuko on Red State commented: ''If Federal courts are the major leagues, state [and district] courts aren't even the minor leagues, they're a pick up game of tee ball'' ...

"Who gives a rip if a small-time criminal court judge is gay!?!--especially if they have a judicial record of being tough on crime and are working in criminal courts! ...

"Taking another angle altogether . . . Romney recently refused to re-appoint David Gorton, the former Commissioner on the Appellate Tax Board (a panel of five judges), in part because of his questionable ethics and his outspoken gay activism negatively influencing his job performance. According to this article: ...

"Although no gay-marriage tax cases have yet to come before the board, Gorton believes it is only a matter of time before they will. Gorton, who has served on the board for more than nine years, has expertise and experience with both kinds of appeals."

"Looks like a position where a gay activist could negatively swing decisions/opinions. HUGE RED FLAG!! Fortunately, Romney had the sense to not re-appoint him.

"Therefore, does Romney get credit for taking away one gay activist judge? ... I'm guessing they'll choose to ignore that piece of history.

"[A blogger] said that Romney appointed ''TWO homosexual liberal Democrat gay marriage activists''

"Well, lets look at these appointees in more depth. First is Stephen S. Abany who was appointed to district court(as an ''Associate Justice,'' the lowest rung at the district court level) . . . first off, it turns out that he IS NOT a registered Democrat (so [the blogger] was wrong again . . . no surprise there I guess, I'm getting quite used to it) but his leanings and voting are generally liberal (AKA Democratic). Abany was 57 years old when he was appointed to a DISTRICT Court . . . not even a remote threat to rise up through the judicial system to become a Supreme Court caliber appointee.

"The other appointee [the blogger] refers to isn't even homosexual (as far as anyone has publicly claimed). Marianne C. Hinkle, a longtime state and federal prosecutor (and VERY TOUGH ON CRIME), was the another nominee in question. She's a Democrat and a member of a group that tries to promote gay rights in the Catholic church but has no record of judicial/courtroom activism. She was appointed at the same ''lowest rung'' at the District Court level as Abany and she was similarly in her late 50's when appointed.

"This Romney guys knows what he's doing. He has been pragmatic and wise in his appointments given the environment he works in."

"Of the 36 people [July 2005] Romney named to be judges or clerk magistrates... he has nominated nine registered Republicans, 13 unenrolled voters, and 14 registered Democrats...

"Romney said Friday that he has not paid a moment's notice to his nominees' political leanings or sexual orientation -- or to the impact his choices might have on a future presidential run. He said he has focused on two factors: their legal experience and whether the nominees would be tough on crime. He said most of the nominees have prosecutorial experience.

" ''People on both sides of the aisle want to put the bad guys away,'' Romney said.

"The governor said that, so far, he has had few chances to appoint judges to the highest state courts, where his criteria would change to include ''strict construction, judicial philosophy.''

" ''With regards to those at the district court and clerk magistrate level, their political views aren't really going to come into play unless their views indicate they will be soft on crime, because in that case, apply elsewhere,'' Romney said...

"Romney won praise in the legal community when he replaced regional judicial nominating committees that were viewed as politically tainted with a centralized Judicial Nominating Commission. The commission considers applicants using a ''blind" first phase of the selection process that removes names from applications in an attempt to ensure the candidates will be judged on their merits. In addition, all of Romney's nominees have been submitted to a Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Nominations, which rates candidates as qualified, well-qualified, or unqualified -- and each has been found to be either qualified or well-qualified.

"After Romney nominates the candidate, the pick must be approved by the Governor's Council, where Democrats hold eight of nine seats. Some observers said the long list of Democrats among Romney's court picks suggests that the governor has at least one eye toward the political landscape of the state, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 4 to 1.

" ''He's tried to have a process devoid of politics, [but] he also has to get his nominees approved by the Governor's Council, and that is not a bipartisan body,'' said Jones, of Reading. ''The biggest problem in trying to reform the system to make it devoid of politics is that not everyone else buys into that model.'' ...

"Romney's appointee to the chairmanship of the Judicial Nominating Commission, Boston lawyer Christopher D. Moore, has reached out to minority and women's bar associations to encourage members to apply. He's done the same with the state lesbian and gay bar association, which also has a seat on Romney's joint bar committee...

"Whitney J. Brown, a registered Democrat with ''no connections'' whom Romney nominated earlier this month for a clerk magistrate position in Gardner District Court, said she was shocked to even get an interview for the position, let alone the nomination.

" ''Everyone said to me, 'Good luck, you're not going to get anywhere,' '' Brown said.

"Still, there is evidence to suggest that Romney is making sure his fellow Republicans and conservatives get a piece of the action.

"For one thing, Romney's choice to chair the Judicial Nomination Commission, Moore, is a Republican and a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group that fights ''judicial activism'' and promotes the legal system as the preeminent venue for protecting ''traditional values.'' Romney also named to the commission Greer Tan Swiston, a software engineer and failed Republican candidate for state representative in 2004 with no legal training.

"Peter Vickery, one of the Democrats on the Governor's Council, says he believes Romney and Moore would seek far more conservative jurists if a vacancy were to pop up on the Supreme Judicial Court, which delivered the gay marriage decision that Romney has routinely blasted.

"Some of Romney's nominees do have stellar Republican or conservative bona fides... Rick Beltram, chairman of the Spartanburg County, S.C., Republican Party... said he suspects Romney's judicial choices reflect ''smart politics,'' given that Republicans constitute just 13 percent of Massachusetts registered voters."

Although a centralized Judicial Nominating Commission set up by Governor Romney reduced political tainting seen by regional nominating commissions, he was still not fully satisfied with the choices they gave him. (The commission screens applicants, then forward to him candidates he must choose from to nominate judges.) He wanted the ability to appoint more conservative judges. Therefore he signed executive orders limiting who they could screen out, as the following article explained:

" ''He's trying to get candidates who are conservative and probusiness and who have a prosecutorial background, tough on crime, and to use the words that have been flying around for a few years, he doesn't want any of those activist judges on the bench,'' said Kathleen M. O'Donnell, past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

"Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney spokesman, said in an e-mail response to the Globe that the governor was frustrated that he was not being forwarded more candidates for consideration. Fehrnstrom said that the commission had rejected 77 percent of applicants since January 2005 and that only one minority candidate had been forwarded for Romney's approval. Romney changed the rules ''to remind them that their focus is on weeding out unqualified candidates,'' Fehrnstrom said.

" ''The governor has always reserved to himself the finer issues of philosophy and temperament,'' Fehrnstrom said. ''The reason for that is that we are very careful not to appoint judges who will hand down liberal legislation from the bench. Instead, we want strong law and order judges who will punish criminals.'' "

Statements Made on Preserving Marriage and Activist Judges

"Even Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, in his testimony on June 22, 2004, before the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated:

"Marriage is not an evolving paradigm, as the court said, but it is a fundamental and universal social institution that bears a real and substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of all the people of Massachusetts.

"We need an amendment that restores and protects our societal definition of marriage, [and] blocks judges from changing that definition ..... at this point, the only way to reestablish the status quo ..... is to preserve the definition of marriage in the federal Constitution before courts redefine it out of existence."

''The real threat to the states is not the constitutional amendment process, in which the states participate, but activist judges who disregard the law and redefine marriage in order to impose their will on the states, and on the whole nation. At this point, the only way to reestablish the status quo ante is to preserve the definition of marriage in the federal Constitution before courts redefine it out of existence." (Testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee, June 22, 2004)

"... ''If a judge substitutes his or her values for those values that were placed in the constitution, they do so at great peril to the culture of our entire land,'' he said.

"The remarks won applause from the 500 lawyers, scholars, and others who packed a ballroom to hear Romney's speech...

"Romney ended his speech by praising the new chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, and President Bush's current pick to replace outgoing Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor, [with] Samuel A. Alito Jr.

"Several Federalist Society members said afterward that they were impressed by what they heard from Romney. ''I think he said the right thing: Decisions should be left to the people,'' said Peter Urbanowicz, a Dallas lawyer."

"Beware of activist judges. The Legislature is our lawmaking body, and it is the Legislature's job to pass laws. As governor, it is my job to carry out the laws. The Supreme Judicial Court decides cases where there is a dispute as to the meaning of the laws or the constitution. This is not simply a separation of the branches of government, it is also a balance of powers: One branch is not to do the work of the other. It is not the job of judges to make laws, the job of legislators to command the National Guard, or my job to resolve litigation between citizens. If the powers were not separated this way, an official could make the laws, enforce them, and stop court challenges to them. No one branch or person should have that kind of power. It is inconsistent with a constitutional democracy that guarantees to the people the ultimate power to control their government.

"With the Dred Scott case, decided four years before he took office, President Lincoln faced a judicial decision that he believed was terribly wrong and badly misinterpreted the U.S. Constitution. Here is what Lincoln said: ''If the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.'' By its decision, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts circumvented the Legislature and the executive, and assumed to itself the power of legislating. That's wrong."