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Judicial independence, or over-reach?

Judges do not technically have an ability to do more than rule “Yes” or “No” on an issue that is both before their court and also justiciable.

However, for decades activist judges use “broad powers” to advance a political agenda and have continuously put average Americans on defense. This means overstepping boundaries around the judicial branch, reaching deeply into the legislative and executive branches. These activist judges ignore the elementary separation of powers at the heart of the American republic, and they establish themselves as rulers by fiat over all the little people.

Because all people (literally everywhere) want to respect judges, and the justice system, as the heart and soul of democracy and quintessential justice, a culture of deference has built up around even the most active judges who legislate from the bench. That culture is at work now as several extreme judges have ruled that President Trump’s executive order on immigration must stop. The truth is that the recent immigration order is both in keeping with existing law and with the Constitutional purview of the executive branch. Judges really have nothing to say about it. Technically speaking.

But, so powerful is the draw of an independent judiciary that Americans have for a long time given up their rights, liberties, even our immediate safety to even the most obvious judicial political over-reach. Plenty of judges create “rights” where none existed before, or take rights that are expressly stated in the US and most state constitutions.  The problem with this is it is unsustainable.

Judges are not elected, and when they act as if they are, and as if they are part of the political system from which they are supposed to remain aloof, they undermine the entire system of law that delicately balances upon their shoulders.

What is now happening as more and more judges engage in out-and-out political action, is the American citizenry believes less and less in what those judges do. The citizenry is losing confidence that those judges are capable of upholding the basic tenets of America, first and foremost.

A truly independent and cautious judiciary is one that passes up most legal complaints, focusing instead on the truly important ones that cut to the heart of American representative government. America is far beyond that now, and here is what we ought to be doing about it:

First, the executive branch must ignore the rulings of imperial activist judges. Simply ignore them, because judges have no actual enforcement power. Ignoring activist holdings will strand activist judges and draw attention to their powerlessness, re-focusing attention on the real heavy weight of truly well-considered holdings. Activist judges have only themselves to blame for this.

Second, activist judges must be removed from the bench, either through elections, impeachments, or administratively. For far too long judges acting far beyond their natural limits have gotten away with murdering democracy, and it is time for Americans to reclaim their freedoms. It is time to focus our efforts on reining in judicial over-reach, so that we might have an independent judiciary worthy of our admiration, respect, and deference.

Exercise the power of the People to impeach and remove bad judges

Both the United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution make plain that American and Pennsylvania state governments derive their power from the People.

But my, oh my, have we not seen a tremendous erosion of privacy and basic individual rights and liberties over the years as government power to regulate and surveil expands. Much of this starts with local law enforcement.

Over and over again we read with amazement how some official government regulatory or law enforcement arm commits another over-reach deep into some poor citizen’s life. And then with even greater amazement we read how some judge, especially federal judges, uphold what would appear on its face to violate the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.  Here are some headlines:

“Ohio Court upholds police forced entry into private home over failure to signal at traffic light…”

“New Jersey Federal Court Upholds The FTC’s Authority To Regulate Data Security”

 

“Judge Upholds Police ‘Code of Silence’ Ruling…U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve decided Thursday decided not to toss out part of a jury’s decision that found Chicago police operated under a “code of silence,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Last month, a jury found the police department obstructed the investigation into the beating death of bartender Karolina Obrycka at the hands of off-duty police officer Anthony Abbate in 2007.

U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve decided Thursday decided not to toss out part of a jury’s decision that found Chicago police operated under a “code of silence,” according to the Chicago Tribune.”

“Police can forcibly take DNA samples during arrests, judge rules”

 

“Federal Judge Upholds Warrantless Hidden Surveillance Cameras On Private Property”

 

“Court upholds dismissal of ticket quota lawsuit”

 

“Utah Cops Arrest Teen for Recording, Judge then Orders Teen to Admit Guilt before Trial”

 

“Law-Breaking Judges Took Cases That Could Make Them Even Richer

Federal judges aren’t supposed to hear cases in which they have a financial stake. Dozens do it anyway.”

And the granddaddy of them all, a truly unbelievable case in which a federal judge recently decided the police can simply take over your home and eat your food without any reason whatsoever:

“The Nevada case of Mitchell v. City of Henderson still slogs through the Nevada Federal District Court. This case has one unusual feature. It accuses police in two cities of quartering themselves in two private houses without the consent of their owners. This would breach the Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which deals with quartering of soldiers. The defendant city officials say police officers are not soldiers. But the Mitchells actually have a thirty-two-year-old precedent on their side. That case says one need not be an active-duty U.S. armed service member to be a “soldier” under the Constitution………………….the police in Henderson wanted to “stake out” the Mitchells’ neighbor. They forced the Mitchells (and Anthony Mitchell’s parents) out of their homes, moved in for the time of their stakeout, and helped themselves to whatever was in their refrigerators and pantries. They even arrested Anthony and Michael for obstructing the police. Those charges could not possibly stick, so the city dropped them. But the Mitchells are still suing, on every ground they could possibly cite.
The Third Amendment portion of the Mitchell complaint has been dismissed as of February 2015. The judge held that police officers are not soldiers for the purposes of the Third Amendment; he also expressed doubt that occupying the property for less than 24 hours would constitute ‘quartering’, although he did not specifically rule on that aspect.”

And so on.  You can do your own Internet search on this subject and read the stories behind these headlines and many more.  The purpose here is to call attention to the problem of judges who clearly allow unconstitutional government behavior to proceed.

And what is to be done with US Supreme Court justices who lie under oath in their nomination and confirmation hearings, in order to be confirmed, and then begin ruling exactly the opposite of what they testified to in the US Senate?

In all these instances, the People – us, the voters, taxpayers, and citizens of America – should take the necessary steps to legally remove these failed public servants from their benches.  These are no longer judges in the essential sense of the term, and they certainly no longer look out for the basic rights and liberties of the People. 

So they must be impeached or recalled.

Is it time for civil disobedience and ignoring kook judicial holdings?

Civil disobedience, non-resistance obstructionism, and peaceful protests against clearly unfair laws and violent government agents is time-honored in America.

Civil disobedience works because it appeals to the higher mind, it appeals to the best, highest conscience in Western Civilization.  You have to have an open mind to have civil disobedience work on your political views so that you vote for change from the status quo.

It won’t work in a Muslim country, where civil disobedience will just get you locked up and tortured, or summarily killed.

It did work for Ghandi in India because the 1940s British empire valued democracy and voting rights, and the public cry at home over images of British soldiers shooting peaceful protestors in Delhi’s public streets threatened to up-end political control at home.

Americans have successfully employed civil disobedience since the 1920s: Segregation laws, no voting rights for women, a lack of equal rights or opportunity across so many sectors of society… the causes were real and political changes were needed for America to live up to its promise.

And ain’t America an amazing place that it is designed to change and heal old wounds, to become a better place?

Because the original use of civil disobedience was so righteous, because so many of the laws being protested in the 1920s through the 1960s were so outrageously unjust, the behavior eventually took on a connotation of being above the law and always justified.  In fact, over time even violence became justified in the name of Marxist versions of “justice,” and pro-violence slogans like “No Justice, No Peace” evolved.

Today, violent, fake civil disobedience has been employed by the “Occupy Wall Street” thugs, and by the violent criminals in Ferguson, Missouri.  These events always start off as a routine, rote, formula civil disobedience act, and then they quickly devolve into destruction, arson, violence, beatings, attacks on bystanders….all in the name of some Marxist version of “justice.”

Inevitably, politically allied elected officials have begun to implement their jobs in a similar fashion.  No matter what the law says, they ignore it, and make a big public deal about subverting the law.  As if they are justified.  They actually take pride in failing to implement the law as they are supposed to.

Examples of elected officials ignoring and subverting the law are a county clerk of courts issuing same-sex marriage licenses, despite Pennsylvania law saying it is illegal.  Or Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane refusing to defend state laws, because she personally disagrees with them.  Or California banning state judges from belonging to the Boy Scouts.  Or the Obama administration willfully failing to implement immigration law.  Or Harrisburg City mayor Eric Papenfuse refusing to rescind city ordinances that are plainly illegal under state preemption law, because Papenfuse holds certain personal views about guns.

This lawlessness by the very people entrusted with safeguarding and implementing the law is dangerous.  These wayward officials stand on quicksand, because the basis of our republican form of democracy is the rule of law – equal application of the law, irrespective of what one personally believes.

If government officials begin ignoring laws they disagree with, and implementing law that was not voted into being by the consent of the voters, then the rule of law is over, it has ended.  The glue that holds America together is corroded, and the whole edifice can come down.

But let’s ask why only one side of the political debate does this.  We know they get away with this because the mainstream media protects them, but the MSM veil has been pierced by the Internet, so the flow of information is no longer completely bottled up by fellow travelers.

Put another way, why don’t other people, say people like American traditionalists, “conservatives,” engage in the same behavior?

Here is an example of what could be done: Last week a federal judge ruled that Arizona must issue drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.  Never mind that these people are in America ILLEGALLY, the claims they make for their applications could be and often are fraudulent, and the cost of these services is unfairly covered by taxpayers.

Why don’t the good officials of Arizona simply ignore that judge’s insane ruling?  That judge has no ability to actually make Arizona issue drivers licenses, and if I worked in Arizona government, or if I still worked in federal government and had something to do with allowing illegal immigrants in, I would simply ignore that judge’s crazy ruling, or the illegal commands of the occupant of the White House.

There, folks, how do you like the taste of that medicine now?

Think of the many kook, nakedly political judicial decisions that are handed down, contrary to law and policy.  Why reward these dictatorial jurists by following their dictates? Why not simply ignore them?  God knows, they are earning it.

Civil disobedience and official lawlessness is a game that everyone can play, and at some point the people who have been acting like adults will recognize they only stand to lose by following the rule of law while their opponents exploit their fidelity, and only by fighting fire with fire will they make it clear that everyone must follow and implement the law, no matter what their personal views are, or everyone loses.

Or, people can do it the old fashioned way, and work to get the law changed one vote at a time.

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

By Josh First

Perry County, Pennsylvania, may be a deeply rural and tranquil place with just two traffic lights, but it is Ground Zero for the latest battle over your Constitutional gun rights.

The results of this battle have enormous implications for all Pennsylvanians, irrespective of where they live, because any legal holding will eventually apply not just to one county, but all counties and all citizens.

Unquestionably acting on political goals, the three county auditors recently sued the county sheriff, Carl Nace, demanding that he provide the names and addresses of concealed carry permit applicants his office processes. Nace refused, citing state law which seems crystal clear on the subject.

Much has been written here and elsewhere about this lawsuit and its genesis, so I will not re-trace those steps, but it is valuable to report back on where things stand as of yesterday.

Yesterday a hearing was held in New Bloomfield, Perry County’s seat of local government, on the auditors’ lawsuit against Nace. The hearing was intended to give both parties an opportunity to argue their case before a judge. The three county auditors are the plaintiff, and Sheriff Nace is the defendant.

I sat literally front and center in the court room, accompanied by Carl Fox and Jim Lucas, among many other wonderful citizens, activists, and concerned citizens. Carl Fox is president of the Duncannon Sportsman’s Association, and Jim Lucas is an engineer and well known political activist. Both Carl and Jim are involved in supporting Sheriff Nace and determining the background to the lawsuit. Both men believe the lawsuit has political purposes and goals, and is not some innocent procedural cause in the interest of perfect auditing everywhere.

Attorney Joshua Prince represented Nace, and attorney Craig Staudenmaier represented the three county auditors. The auditors were not present, either at the court house, nor at the hearing. Nace sat with his attorney in the court room.

Judge George Zanic sat directly in front of me with a clear line of sight between us, and I hope he wasn’t put off by my large prescription sunglasses, which I wear to keep summertime migraine headaches at bay, even inside. With my new, white, grizzled beard, wrap-around sunglasses, and unkempt end-of-summer hair, several people I already know approached me to learn who I was. One asked me if I was there for “the opposition,” and then laughed out loud when he realized who I was. That beard is coming off today! And yes, this is an indication that I am having a hard time letting go of the fantastic, if exhausting, summer I spent with my wife, kids, and friends.

Judge Zanic boiled down the entire argument to two points, one in each set of motions filed by each party. Zanic appeared most curious and skeptical about attorney Craig Staudenmaier’s assertions and claims about the need for the information, and the deficiency he says the county audit suffers from without the applicants’ names and addresses. More questions were asked of Staudenmaier than of Prince, and those questions for Staudenmaier were more pointed than those posed by the judge to Prince.

The judge was clearly having trouble understanding the plaintiff’s demand, or the need for the demand in the first place.

Citing general auditing standards, Judge Zanic referred to his own experience as a professional and as a former district attorney. Zanic disagreed with Staudenmaier about what information is necessary for any audit, let alone a county audit that was successfully completed by another firm when the auditors failed to do their own.

Prince did an excellent job in all respects, demonstrating a clear and quick knowledge of the governing statute, related laws, and the facts. Prince was articulate, clearly well prepared, and he stayed with Nace after the judge departed; both men answered questions from citizens and reporters.

Staudenmaier was often halting in his explanations, seemingly confused at times, and he argued in circles, often failing to directly answer the judge’s pointed questions. Some of his answers were rudimentary and elicited grumpy mutters from the audience. As soon as the judge left, Staudenmaier shot out of his seat, grabbed his papers, and fled out the back of the court house, through a hallway and door off limits to the audience. He took no questions from anyone in the court room, nor from anyone outside the court house.

Channels 43 and 27 were there, as was the Patriot News. Kudos to reporter Dennis Owens for pointing out that the auditors were not present at their own hearing, which is unnecessarily costing the county taxpayers a lot of money.  Their absence raises questions about just how seriously they take all this mess they have created.

Uniformed sheriffs and deputies from at least 15 counties were in attendance, in support of Sheriff Nace.

The court room was about 85% full.

“I hope to have a decision for you very soon,” said Judge Zanic.

Here is my take-away:

1) A person can draw their own conclusions about the quality or necessity of elected officials who take taxpayer money, who initiate unnecessary and expensive litigation, and who then do not show up in public or even at their own hearing. You cannot kick the hornet’s nest without getting stung, and then complain about it, but that is what these three auditors are doing. What they have said, and what their spokesman attorney Craig Staudenmaier has said, is that these three feel unhappy about the negative reactions their citizens have had over this lawsuit. Some counties do not have auditors, and it seems that the three in Perry County have proven they are either unfit or not needed. Perry County should either eliminate the office of county auditor, or vote these three out of office.

2) Perry County should do everything it can to determine who is behind the auditors’ lawsuit, including determining who paid Staudenmaier. This should be done to determine what political forces are in play (CeaseFirePA? Bloomberg? Soros? The Democratic Party of Pennsylvania? A local elected official?), and why they are present, and also let’s see if the people who started this expensive mess can then be held accountable and pay for it out of their own pockets.

3) Perry County should prepare to recover any costs or legal fees associated with this lawsuit, whether from the three auditors or from someone else who may be accountable. I think that Joshua Prince is representing Sheriff Nace for free, but no one should have to spend time defending someone from a frivolous lawsuit at their sole expense.

 

 

Senate ceding its role to president: Chaos

The US Senate has recently changed rules that have helped maintain America’s checks-and-balances system of government for over 150 years.

In the interest of bolstering the executive branch’s incredible reaches for off-limits power, the senate has ceded its role as being a legislative check.  The senate is now an adjunct of the executive branch.

Recent senate rules change allowed radical, far out of the mainstream federal judges to be confirmed.  They in turn go on to help the executive branch implement its unconstitutional actions.

Assuming we get through this crisis without a civil war, what happens if a new president is elected from the other party, and he or she wants to correct the damage done to America, liberty, and democracy over the past five years? When that president employs the same exact methods, will the current party cede the field, acknowledge that politics is a two-way street, and relinquish their rights?

No, they won’t.  They will fight like hell, use their media allies to bolster them in the public eye, and accuse the new party in power of all kinds of contraventions.  Hypocrisy? Yes.  It is the norm in politics, apparently.

If amnesty is granted to 8-10 million illegal immigrants, and they become voters, then the two-party system is over.  America will become artificially dominated by a single party bent on controlling the citizenry through gun confiscation, NSA spying, and more onerous socialism designed to end our capitalistic system.

I, for one, will go down fighting, if necessary.  I hope you, too, will join your liberty-loving fellow citizens and either prevent the country from descending into chaos through successful political work, or prepare to meet that chaos in an organized way.

It’s official: Sunday hunting in VA

Two weeks ago the Virginia state House passed a Sunday hunting bill out of a committee that had bottled up similar bills for decades before. It was a surprising statement that it actually got through committee.  Then it passed the full state House, which surprised even its most ardent sponsors.

Well, today the Virginia state Senate passed the companion bill.  It allows hunting on private land on Sunday, a private property rights win if there ever was one. If you pay property taxes, say on a remote mountainside property, and you are deprived of 14.2% of your full use of that property for some vague reason, you might get frustrated.  It is your property.  You can shoot 1,000 bullets at a target on Sunday, but you cannot shoot just one at a squirrel.  Laws like this are by their definition arbitrary, the bane of democracy.

Virginia’s governor says he will sign the bill into law.

Welcome to the modern era, Virginia! We are envious of you.

Kudos to Kathy Davis of PA-based Hunters United for Sunday Hunting (www.huntsunday.org), who has devoted the past two years of her life to this issue, and who helped a great deal with getting the Virginia law passed and the lawsuit filed there.  The lawsuit compelled the state legislature to act, before a judge ruled against the state and the entire state was opened up.  While I would like to see public land open for Sunday hunting, I am satisfied with private land as a start to implementing it state-wide.  This really is an issue of the most basic American rights.

The end of 215 years of American tradition

Early in America’s youth, a rule in the US Senate was established that recognized minority rights.

By setting a higher threshold for confirming federal judges, US senators had a chance to seriously consider judicial candidates, who serve for life and can only be impeached for serious crimes.

Today, the US Senate majority changed that 215-year-old rule, no longer allowing filibusters for extreme candidates. Now, judges will be voted for confirmation by a simple majority.

When the other party had control of the senate, and the present majority engaged in filibusters, it was business as usual. Now, the majority wants absolute control. No forced debate.

Now what happens when this majority is in the minority? Will they whine, moan, and cry about not having the filibuster at hand to stop or slow down judicial nominees they strongly oppose? Probably. And the sense of irony will be ignored.

Their friends in the mainstream press will take their side, and it’s up to us citizen journalists to get the word out about how serious this is.

A political tradition lasting 215 years must have been worthy. Now we see a huge power grab by one party. What will you do about it?

Harrisburg Mayor’s Race & More

Dauphin County, PA, Election Round-Up: All Politics are Indeed Local, So Vote & Protect Your Property Values

By Josh First
November 4, 2013

Voters tend to get most excited about, and participate most in “big” presidential elections, but three local political races are about to be decided in two days, and each one has a direct impact on home values in Dauphin County, on your taxes, your kids, on businesses and your friends’ and families’ jobs. Here they are.

Judge

Despite performing zero reporting about the incredible primary race this spring for judge, and very little reporting about the general race between Bill Tully and Anne Cornick, Harrisburg’s local part-time newspaper The Patriot News suddenly had the evident deep wisdom and cultivated knowledge to make an “informed” endorsement Sunday. No, their endorsement would never, ever, ever be political ((cough, cough)). While they are both lawyers, Tully is Cornick’s professionally experienced senior by about two decades, has an impressive resume several pages longer than hers, and he is eminently more qualified to be the next judge. Most political races have a Yin and a Yang, a black hat and a white hat, a positive and a negative, a qualified candidate and a foil highlighting the superior candidate’s abilities, and we’ve got that here. Vote for high quality over politics, for quality over the foil, please; vote for Bill Tully.

Susquehanna School Board

How often do we hear of school board races actually meaning more than, at most, how much our property taxes will be rising? Well, this school board race in Susquehanna Township actually means a lot, not only to residents of Susquehanna Township, but to every citizen living around it. Much more than school taxes rides on the outcome of this election. As goes one domino, so goes another next to it. Lower Paxton Township, this is about you, too.

Susquehanna Township was, at one time, the successful Yin to Harrisburg’s painfully struggling Yang of a school district. It was a study of contrasting similarities, shared goals, and an example of multiracial harmony. Not necessarily any longer. The quality of the Susquehanna School District hangs by a thread. It is riven by all kinds of cross-cutting forces, not the least example of which includes last week’s announcement of the resignation of administrator Shawn Sharkey (can a more appropriately named ‘villain’ be conjured in fiction?), reportedly for sleeping with an under-age student. Resignations of high quality administrators and staff, and fierce interoffice politics, have been raging throughout the district for several years. Leadership is needed in this vacuum.

Making it all worse, racialism and apparent racism are at the core of a dangerous and divisive move to segregate the school district. Demands of a group of school board candidates led by Jesse Rawls would divvy up the district’s teaching and professional positions by the representation of citizens’ skin color, not the content of their character or their credentials. Nothing to do with quality, education, or training: Jobs assigned strictly by shades of pink and brown. Sound fair and reliable to you? Making matters worse, Rawls has been alleged to have unrepentantly called one of his opponents a kike, as in the equivalent of The N Word for Jews.

Oh, the sad irony of the magnificent 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, being invoked to establish just another regime of racial control. Are good citizens really going to vote for that?

Property values and much more depend greatly on the quality of the school district. If voters want some order brought to the chaos in the Susquehanna School District, then vote for Bob Marcus and Bruce Warshawsky, whose sole focus is on academic excellence. Imagine that: The simple, basic pursuit of school/ teacher/ student excellence as central to educating the kids of Susquehanna Township School District.

Mayor of Harrisburg

Voters hate making a decision between one mediocre candidate and another. That is probably what Harrisburg citizens face on Tuesday, with the stellar Independent candidate Nevin Mindlin artificially run out of the race and removed from the ballot. Once again, The Patriot News made an odd, nakedly political endorsement in this election that bore no resemblance to the facts surrounding the candidate they endorsed, those same facts reported in their own newsprint.

Candidate Dan Miller is a Certified Public Accountant who has served as Harrisburg’s Controller. He has extensive local government experience, as well as business experience. He also has a persnickety personality and does not always listen well, as my Mom used to say. Collaboratively, and not combatively, is how Harrisburg’s next mayor must run things. Can Miller do that? One hopes.

Candidate Eric Papenfuse has very little government experience, and his business experience is running an alternative book store serving organic, free range, expensive teas. As a former candidate myself, I appreciated that his bookstore became a center of official political debates run by Harrisburg Hope, a political group we then learned was designed to support Papenfuse’s candidacy. But he’s still not real qualified to be mayor.

More to the point, two key things really speak to Papenfuse’s likely leadership direction, the first being his 2009 invitation and hosting of domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, an extremist now posing as an educational “expert,” at his bookstore. Papenfuse has given varying reasons why he served Ayers’ purposes, including recently telling me on a call-in radio program that Ayers is deserving of “free speech.” Well, lots of evil people also deserve free speech, but what kind of person would actually facilitate giving them a platform? Answer: The same kind of person who is also associated with Occupy Wall Street, Eric Papenfuse.

The second indication is a letter to the editor Papenfuse wrote (Patriot News, January 30, 2010) about his bizarre vision for public education, specifically citing Harrisburg University and Harrisburg SciTech. Advocating for teaching Harrisburg’s disadvantaged inner city students to be “radical thinkers,” instead of “workers,” Papenfuse wants inner city students to be schooled in anger, poetry, street theater, and activism. Forget getting an accounting degree, a chemistry degree, an IT degree, or eventually a law degree. Forget being a constructive, positive contributor to society who can earn a living and support a family. No, according to Papenfuse, Harrisburg’s kids must be cannon fodder in his, and Ayers’ social unrest movement, perpetually living on government handouts, perpetually at war with their fellow Americans. This is an obvious recipe for disaster for Harrisburg’s students and their families. Let’s ask the voters of our great city: Do you want your kids to be Eric Papenfuse’s political cannon fodder? Or do you want them to get ahead in life?

If Miller is a snip-snap, too-smart-for-you accountant, perhaps too assured of his own correct thinking, Papenfuse is on the cusp of introducing radical, ultra-divisive politics to Harrisburg the likes of which we have never before seen. Dan Miller has my vote, not because I am enamored of him, not because I think he is the best thing since sliced bread, not because I think he is the best candidate hands-down. But he is a damned sight better, and better qualified, than Eric Papenfuse. I hope you will vote for Dan Miller for those simple reasons alone.

Stay in the conversation at www.joshfirst.com and on our Facebook page.

Bill Tully for Judge sporting clay shoot

Bill Tully is a candidate running for Dauphin County Judge. He is the older and much, much more experienced of two candidates vying for the same seat. Bill is holding a sporting clays shoot at Hummelstown Field & Stream Association on May 4th, starting with the 8:30 breakfast.
It is $75 per participant and is open to kids 12 and up.
Questions should be directed to www.billtullyjudge.com

Good News From Dauphin County: Redefinition of ‘Establishment Candidate’

Good News: Dauphin County, PA’s Redefinition of the ‘Establishment’ Candidate

By Josh First
March 15, 2013

Two consummate political insiders are quietly leading an interesting, even inspiring redefinition of ‘establishment politician’, and it’s happening in a quiet Dauphin County, PA judge’s race usually known more for voter disinterest and a lack of exposure to the candidates than as an all-out competition. That’s now all changing as a competitive scramble for limited primary votes gets the two candidates out into the cold, knocking on doors every day, asking for ballot petition signatures, and handing out their campaign literature.

Both Bill Tully and Fran Chardo have long and active ties to the local GOP political establishment, serving as county GOP committeemen and assistant district attorneys, among other official and unofficial roles.

Another political insider, Jim Zugay, until recently the Dauphin County Recorder of Deeds, dropped out of the race over a month ago after failing to obtain the Dauphin County Republican Committee endorsement. Reportedly, Zugay had been promised the endorsement, and would not compete in an open primary without it.

Both Tully and Chardo asked for an open primary with no GOP endorsement, instead relying upon their existing individual relationships within the party. Tully is endorsed by popular Dauphin County Sheriff Jack Lotwick, and Chardo has the support of his boss Ed Marsico, Dauphin County’s popular District Attorney.

Chardo has spent his career in the DA’s office, now serving as head assistant district attorney. Tully also served as an assistant DA, and has also done a long stint as a private defense and civil litigation attorney.

Both men are clean cut, personable, articulate, respected community leaders and family men, with excellent professional and political qualifications. Either one can pick up a phone and talk with nearly any elected leader in the state. Both are quintessential political insiders with roots in and allegiances to ‘the system’.

Except for one thing: By running in this race, these candidates both bucked their own system. You know, the smoke-filled back room system, where party bosses horse trade and usually weed out strong prospective candidates either through pressure and threats, or enticements of government jobs and contracts, future support, or party endorsements that provide some and deprive other candidates of campaign seed funds. That party machine system has been steadily eroding in Dauphin County over the past few years.

Indeed, it seems to be breaking down in the state Republican Committee, as well, where appetites are stronger for greater opportunity through healthy primary competitions rendering the fittest candidate to carry the GOP torch. Last year was a fiasco for the Dauphin County GOP machine, where party bosses ran untested, apparently unqualified candidates against independent-minded incumbents and self-starters, and lost, at great cost to party finances and credibility.

Now, these two self-driven judicial candidates face off, each with his own array of marquee supporters, and no party endorsement, which strikes me and most other Americans as the way American political races are supposed to be run. Chardo has a good strong personal presence, while Tully is older, more experienced, and probably a little more independent of party bosses. Each one has prosecuted bad guys before a judge. Either one will give you a fair and professional hearing as a presiding judge.

The primary election will be held on May 21st, 2013, and your vote absolutely matters. In my book, both candidates are already winners for bravely breaking new political ground, and letting the voters decide, instead of the party bosses.

Stay in the conversation at www.joshfirst.com and on our Facebook page