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JIC Dismisses Complaint Against Justice Tom Parker

Contact: Liberty Counsel, 800-671-1776, Media@LC.org, Press Kit 
MONTGOMERY, Ala., Oct. 21, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) dismissed the complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) against Justice Tom Parker. The SPLC complained that Justice Parker was interviewed on the American Family Radio talk show regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage opinion, claiming that any comment on any case anywhere in the country violated Canon 3(A)(6) of the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics.

Canon 3(A)(6) purports to prohibit Alabama judges from making "any public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in any court," even if such a proceeding is not pending before the judge making the comments, and even if the judge's comments do not have a reasonable likelihood of affecting the outcome or impairing the fairness of that proceeding. The American Bar Association has stated this broad speech restriction violates the First Amendment.

Parker was not charged by the JIC, but, if charged, he would have been suspended pending a hearing. Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit challenging Canon 3 and the automatic removal provision. That lawsuit is still pending. 

"We are pleased that the complaint against Justice Tom Parker has been dismissed," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "The speech restrictive Judicial Canon clearly violates the First Amendment. The Canon is so broad that it prevents judges from commenting on any case pending anywhere in the county, even if they are teaching students in law school. Shame on the SPLC for filing this politically-motivated complaint against Justice Parker. I call upon the Alabama Supreme Court and the legislature to change this unconstitutional speech restriction and the automatic removal provision," said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.