Primary Elections & Judicial Reform

Election Day in the political party primaries is Tuesday, March 4, 2014, and voter turnout will determine who represents the political parties on the general election ballot in November. I read an interesting article last week that lamented the relatively small number of voters who actually turn out and choose the nominees of each political party.

The main point of the article is that because so few people vote in the primaries, this relatively small subset of voters has a lot of influence. That is true, of course, both in the Democratic and in the Republican primary. The reporter seems to think it would be better to change the process because Republican primary voters are “very conservative”—more so, in fact, than the general public—although he doesn’t seem to be too concerned that the Democratic primary voter is more liberal than the general public.

However, the point of my blog post is that those who vote in the primary of a political party have an oversized influence on the outcome. Home schoolers sometimes don’t recognize this fact, and if they fail to vote in the primary, we can all live to regret it. This is particularly true since the battle against home schooling freedom in the twenty-first century in Texas is often in the courtrooms.

If you have been following the travesty of justice in the Tutt case in Dallas County, you know full well what I’m talking about. My point here is that the judges who do not understand nor support the fundamental, constitutional right of fit parents to direct the care, control, and upbringing of their children are elected, and for many of these judges, the primary is essentially the election.

Those who fail to vote too often come to understand at a later time and at a tremendous cost that because they failed to participate in the voting process, someone was elected to office who negatively impacted their family in a horrible way. For that reason we established the Texas Judicial Wall of Shame on our website. The purpose of this page is to highlight and publicize some of the judges who need to be replaced because of their actions and unjust rulings from the bench.

You will see on that web page a posting for Democratic Dallas Associate Judge Graciela Olvera and a description of her actions in the Tutt case. You will also find Republican Houston Judge Denise Pratt and a description of her actions, for which we find reason to remove her at the ballot box. Judge Pratt has continued to take actions that make the news. One commentator laid out another compelling argument for her removal, and recently the Houston Chronicle printed another story about more controversy around her performance. If you live in Harris County, vote for anyone but Judge Denise Pratt.

On the state level, the Republican primary has contested races for several judgeships, including three on the Texas Supreme Court. I have endorsed Justice Hecht, Justice Phil Johnson, and Justice Jeff Brown for reelection. It is worth noting, however, that groups representing trial attorneys and teachers’ unions have begun a systematic effort to recruit left-leaning candidates to run against incumbents in the Republican primary because they recognize that it is very difficult to elect Democratic candidates in many areas of Texas, especially at the state level.

Regarding the Texas Supreme Court races, a well-noted and respected observer of the Texas Supreme Court, Dr. John Coppedge, said of Justice Hecht, “Many view Hecht as the ‘Scalia’ of the Texas Supreme Court [a reference to the conservative and well-respected Justice Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court]. Arguably the hardest working judge in Texas, Hecht is frequently at the court well after closing time.” Justice Hecht wrote the Leeper vs. Arlington ISD opinion in 1994, which clarified that home schools are legal in Texas. In addition to THSC, Justice Hecht has been endorsed by Texas Right to Life, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, and Young Conservatives of Texas and others.

Dr. Coppedge says of Justice Jeff Brown, “Justice Jeff Brown is the son of a police officer and was an Eagle Scout. He attended the University of Texas and The University of Houston School of Law. He served as a briefing attorney for then-Texas Supreme Court Justice Greg Abbott. After several years in private practice with the firm of Baker and Botts, he served as a district judge and then as a court of appeals justice. He was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Rick Perry and sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.” Justice Brown is endorsed by Texas Right to Life, Texas Home School Coalition, and Empower Texans, as well as by many other groups.

Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Wallace Jefferson says of Justice Phil Johnson, “Justice Phil Johnson is one of the hardest working justices I’ve had the pleasure to work with. . . . His attention to detail, respect for the rule of law, and commitment to the impartial administration of justice continues a lifelong dedication to serving the public. As a pilot in the US Air Force and veteran of the war in Vietnam, he knew that the fullest measure of devotion to this country requires risking one’s life in the service of others. His tours of duty earned him the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross twice, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and multiple Air Medals. . . . If we had similar awards for gallant service on the Court, he would have earned them all. . . . I know he will continue to ensure that the rule of law prevails for each and every citizen of Texas.” Justice Johnson is endorsed by Texas Home School Coalition, Texas Right to Life, Empower Texans, and many others.

Groups representing Texas trial lawyers are opposing each of these incumbents in their reelection to the Texas Supreme Court.

I cannot overstate the importance of voting in the primary, where you have more choices and a greater impact. In the battle for parental rights in Texas, the battleground in the primaries is a critical one, and I pray that you will vote and make sure your friends and families do so as well. Print out our THSC endorsements to take with you to the polls, but most importantly: VOTE!



  1. Leslie says

    Will any of the names you have provided for endorsement approve the Tebow bill in a couple of years?

  2. monianne says

    Where do I look for commentary in regards to legislation that changes Home School Curriculum?