What is the role of citizens in the judicial branch of government? More and more in recent years, THSC has supported families in legal battles when their parental rights were being threatened or abused. Because parents’ ability to make decisions for their children is the foundation for their right to choose how to educate them, these cases are of utmost importance to every Texas family. So when it comes to decisions made in court, how can we make a difference?
In both the executive and legislative branches, we have a responsibility to help educate our representatives and to make them aware of the issues we hold dear. However, the judicial branch is a little bit different, and rightfully so.
Legislators work in Austin to pass (or kill) legislation that will impact families. THSC works tirelessly to protect parental rights in that process, often issuing calls to action requesting phone calls, emails, and letters to legislators from parents expressing their support of or opposition to bills. However, while the opinion of their constituencies is important to legislators, judges are supposed to fairly and equitably apply the law to all based on the facts of the case presented in court. Any attempt to influence the outcome of a case is unlawful and can even be detrimental to the very families we are supporting. THSC does, however, work through the legal process to pursue any and every potential legal avenue to help these families.
So what about bad judges who legislate their own opinion from the bench instead of applying the law fairly to all? What can we do for families who are suffering because law is being ignored? THSC, with the help of our members, responds to these abuses by monitoring and keeping families informed of ongoing cases and by raising awareness of judges who act outside the law through the Texas Judicial Wall of Shame (TJWS). Unlawful actions and rulings must be brought to light so that the public is aware of the injustice and equipped to make educated decisions come election time.
So, is becoming informed and spreading the word enough? As I mentioned earlier, a Houston judge with a long list of horrific actions earned a place on the TJWS and was forced into a runoff in the March Primary election. Just last week she resigned and suspended her campaign due, at least in part, to our coverage and to that of many others who, for the sake of families and children, said this judge had to go.
Regardless of how egregious the actions of a judge might seem in the course of hearings or trials, do not succumb to the temptation to “give that judge a piece of your mind” by email or phone calls. They are not legislators, and doing so is not appropriate nor beneficial. Instead, stay informed. Spread the word. We will do all that we can for these families in the legal system and, when necessary, will work in the political process to replace judges who do not recognize the fundamental, constitutional right of fit parents to direct the care, control, and upbringing of their children.