“I can see November from my front porch!”
These are trying times. Our nation is divided on fundamental philosophical issues. The notion of “liberty” has become a vague historical anachronism for our deeply regulated modern world. “Freedom” means different things to different people. Even the nature of life seems to eschew science and rest on theologic principles or hedonistic choices.
Those of us who revere the Constitution oftentimes are looked at as unwilling heroes or villains, depending upon how we view government entanglement on a particular issue.
Even the statement “revering the Constitution” causes some to presuppose an overarching political philosophy and personal belief system.
Our political system was not designed to produce specific outcomes, and was certainly not created to produce a specific social system. Our government is a reflection of our morality, to the extent the two cannot really be separated. Our morality, our values, our guiding beliefs are as instrumental to whom we are as oxygen is towards our physical animation.
Yet we all are guided by different beliefs, and different visions of personal happiness. The government cannot provide for that happiness… it can only be restrained from encroaching on it, hence, a Constitution that seeks to restrain governmental power from usurping individual liberty.
More importantly, since a republic is given life through a plebiscite, the Constitution prevents the majority from interfering with the rights of the minority. Regardless of the political passions of the day… certain things are “off limits”, or should be.
We have been asked many, many times for guidance on whom Sandy and I think our clients and readers should vote for. We have steadfastly refused to issue endorsements… generally.
We have stated in the past, and continue to state, that any candidate, regardless of political party, who supports the Second Amendment has our support. Any candidate, regardless of political party, who does not support the Second Amendment receives our derision.
One of the reasons we also have avoided specific endorsements, frankly, is that no one has ever asked us for one before.
(I will not feel insulted at that… clearly most candidates know how extremely powerful a kingmaker Sandy and I are, and are terrified at the prospect of groveling for our royal nod.)
This time, however, is different. About two weeks ago we were contacted by Andrea Mader. She is a Deputy District Attorney with the Orange County DA’s Office, and has chosen to run for the open Orange County Superior Court Seat 30.
We had never formally met before, but we do have a number of mutual colleagues. When she first showed up to Artemis and sat down with Sandy and me, we started by asking the obvious question: Why us?
Technically, I am a member of the defense bar, and usually candidates running for a judicial position seek to distance themselves from anything that would suggest a connection to a criminal defense attorney.
Her answer: “You guys are well respected in the Second Amendment community and I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Your opinion on judicial fitness is valued by the people you train and those who read your blog. I would like to answer any questions you have about my judicial philosophy, and hopefully earn your vote and your endorsement.”
(Yes… flattery will get you anywhere with us!)
So the conversation began.
Of course, we talked about the Second Amendment, and her role as a prosecutor, but we also talked about a deeper understanding of the philosophy behind judicial restraint and fealty to the Constitutional protections of individuals.
Then I hit her with a hypothetical… well… sort of.
I was defending a victim of a violent assault awhile back. The police, as per their policy, wanted to confiscate and clone the victim’s phone. This invasion of privacy caused both the client and me to balk. We told the police we would be cooperative, but that this would probably require a warrant to limit the scope of the investigation. Frankly, we could not see a viable reason the police would want the phone, and, more importantly, how they could justify probable cause to seek a warrant.
We also pointed out the perpetrator of the crime had a phone, and that phone was in their possession. There was no justifiable reason to go on a fishing expedition while violating our client’s Fourth Amendment rights.
(Incidentally, there was nothing incriminating of any sort on our client’s phone. He, as well as the LTC and myself, just did not like the State gaining access to his private information for no discernibly valid reason.)
Still, a judge did, in fact, sign off on the pro-forma search warrant and the phone was surrendered. This really stuck in our collective craw.
Without coloring the facts or showing a bias, I asked her if, under the circumstances, she as a judge would have issued the warrant.
“Absolutely not. There is no probable cause and I would deny it. Protecting the public is my first responsibility. The best way to do that is to ensure that all governmental action comports with the restrictions placed on it by the Constitution.”
With that sentence she received my full-throated support.
There are obvious candidates our community knows… Sheriff Don Barnes and DA Todd Spitzer, who have steadfastly supported our Second Amendment rights and protected us against state intrusions on our liberties… but most of us are unaware of whom the candidates are for judges. I encourage you to look at Andrea Mader. Sandy and I will be voting for her.