You may have heard the Alabama Democratic Party will hold a hearing Friday afternoon as to whether Supreme Court Chief Justice candidate Harry Lyon should be disqualified as the Democratic nominee. This time it has nothing to do with Lyon's financial reports and everything to do with his online rants, particularly on Facebook. Let's recap the sordid saga of Harry Lyon's candidacy.
Back in March, Lyon was the only person to qualify for the Chief Justice spot so he automatically became the Democratic nominee. He filed no financial disclosure reports. On August 7th Sherry Broyles petitioned to have Lyon removed from the ballot based on that lack of disclosure, citing Alabama campaign finance law.
ADP Chairman Mark Kennedy instructed Lyon to comply with the law and provide proof that he had filed the necessary reports. Lyon did that last Friday and yesterday Kennedy issued an order denying Broyles' petition to disqualify Lyon.
That's the end of the road for complaints about Lyon's lack of financial disclosure. He has filed the make-up documents and is apparently in the clear on this. Now we come to Lyon's rants against his opponent, Roy Moore, as well as the disgustingly homophobic posts we noted yesterday -- and more.
In this state, judicial candidates as well as judges are required to abide by the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics (pdf, 117KB). I quote here from Canon 2:
A. A judge should respect and comply with the law and should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
B. A judge should at all times maintain the decorum and temperance befitting his office and should avoid conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute.
Saying "unlike my opponent, I don't suffer from dementia, hypocrisy or devil worship," as Harry Lyon did in a facebook post on July 4, is a pretty good indicator that Lyon lacks the "decorum and temperance befitting" the office he is seeking. Nothing in Lyon's rants "promotes public confidence" in his judicial ability. As ADP Executive Director Bradley Davidson told the Montgomery Advertiser:
“He’s defamed just about everyone he would come in contact with as a member of the Alabama Supreme Court,”
And he's defamed his opponent by calling him a demented devil worshipper, which is a distinct no-no in judicial contests. Yes, we do have standards, even in Alabama.
Mark Kennedy issued another order yesterday calling a show cause hearing for Friday in the matter of Lyon's decidedly unjudicial -- and unDemocratic -- behavior, citing Article IX of the SDEC bylaws:
... does hereby issue a call for a show cause hearing before the Executive Board of the SDEC as to why candidate Harry Lyon should not be disqualified as the Democratic nominee for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Harry Lyon is in violation of the Statement of Principles of the Alabama Democrats as set forth in Article I of the By Laws of the SDEC and more particularly as follows:
1. “That the people are entitled to honest and ethical government […]”
2. “That it is the inalienable right of every Alabamian to face the future with dignity and without fear.”
3. “The Democratic Party stands for … justice under the law.”
4. “It is the duty of all public servants to relentlessly support and enforce the highest ethical standards […]”
A hearing has been scheduled Friday, August 17, 2012 at 1:30 PM at the following location:
The Harbert Center
2019 4th Avenue North #100
Birmingham, AL 35203
3rd floor – Beeson Hall Room B
Failure to appear will not result in a rescheduling of the proceedings.
Examples of Lyon's infractions are included in an addendum to the Show Cause order. There's plenty of bizarre stuff there; go read it if you can stand to.
Harry Lyon is an embarrassment to the Democratic Party and his use of the Democratic label is an offense to all decent people who call themselves Democrats. I'm glad his behavior is being challenged. Better no candidate than an unhinged one who demeans all of us.
The meeting on Friday will be open to the public, as are all meetings of the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.