Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What you need to know about Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker and the embryo ruling – The Washington Post

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In the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos are persons, Chief Justice Tom Parker wrote a concurring opinion that sought to define the “sanctity of unborn life,” citing extensively the Scriptures and Theology. His opinion, which drew criticism from abortion rights activists for instilling religious beliefs in a legal decision, was the latest in nearly 20 years in which he repeatedly invoked religion to prepare the ground for overturning the decision. Roe v. Wade.

Parker has also openly criticized other justices for not sufficiently considering religion in their decisions and has expressed support for the theory known as the Mandate of the Seven Mountains, which calls for conservative Christians to run the government and to greatly influence American life..

Who is Chief Justice Tom Parker?

  • Parker, 72, was first elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2004 and won the chief justice seat in 2018. His term ends in 2025; state law prohibits judges over the age of 70 from being elected.
  • Parker has for years been praised by abortion foes and condemned by reproductive rights advocates for writing opinions that would help bring about the downfall of abortion. Roe deer and further restrict access to abortion.

What did he write in the concurring opinion?

Parker repeatedly invoked Scripture in his ruling, arguing that Alabama’s law is based on a theology that God created each person “in his image.” He and the other justices in the 8-1 majority said life begins at conception and therefore frozen embryos are protected by law.

“Human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God,” Parker wrote in his concurring opinion.

He added that state code recognizes “unborn human life” and that destroying it — including frozen embryos — is an affront to God.

“All human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without blotting out His glory,” he writes.

He also referenced the writings of a 17th-century theologian as proof that men were created in the image of God.

“The principle itself – that human life is fundamentally distinct from other forms of life and cannot be taken intentionally without justification – has deep roots stretching back to the creation of man ‘in the image of God’ “, he wrote, quoting the book. of Genesis.

The chief justice also attempted to allay concerns that the ruling would jeopardize in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Alabama, suggesting that the legislature could limit IVF embryos to one or two at a time to reduce the number destroyed while allowing the procedure.

At least three fertility clinics have since suspended operations in the state, and Republicans across the country have sought to distance themselves from IVF restrictions.

Republicans and Democrats in the Alabama Legislature have worked to introduce legislation to protect access to IVF.

Parker went on to write that by passing a ballot initiative defining life from conception, “the people of Alabama took what was said of the prophet Jeremiah and applied it to every person unborn in this state “.

“[Alabamians] asked us to treat every human being in accordance with the fear of a holy God who created them in his image,” he wrote in his conclusion.

Parker did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s requests for comment Saturday afternoon.

What is its history in previous decisions and policy?

Parker served as deputy attorney general under Jeff Sessions, who would go on to become U.S. attorney general in the Trump administration. He served as an aide to Roy Moore on the state Supreme Court in 2000 until Moore was removed from office in 2003 for ignoring a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument that he had ordered to be installed in the judicial building.

After Parker was elected to the state’s high court in 2004, he traveled to Washington to take the oath of office. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, one of his role models, presided.

Once on the bench, Parker regularly invoked Scripture, criticizing his peers who did not do so.

“When judges do not rule in the fear of the Lord, everything falls apart,” he once wrote, according to a 2014 ProPublica investigation. “The whole world falls apart.”

He frequently heard cases that allowed him to write opinions about fetuses and human life.

“Today, the only major area in which unborn children are denied legal protection is abortion,” he wrote in one case, according to ProPublica, “and this denial is due solely to the dictates of the state. Roe deer.”

He also wrote that Roe deer was wrong in arguing that states could not ban abortions before they were viable.

Mississippi cited this reasoning in its argument to challenge Roe deer to the United States Supreme Court, a decision that its supporters say helped pave the way for Eggs fall in 2022.

What is its connection with the Mandate of the Seven Mountains?

Parker has often expressed support for the Seven Mountains Mandate, a theory that conservative Christians in America should use their fundamentalist beliefs to influence and direct government, education and the media, in seven key areas of life. Its supporters have sought to restrict reproductive care while allowing discrimination against LGBTQ+ people based on their religious beliefs.

Last week, on the same day that the Alabama Supreme Court issued its embryonic decision and Parker’s competing decision, the chief justice declared in an online broadcast that “God created government” and that Christians should take it back from the “possession” of others.

The comments came during an interview with QAnon supporter Johnny Enlow, author of “The Seven Mountain Prophecy.” Enlow described Parker as a “true pioneer” of the movement, while Parker thanked Enlow for promoting the Seven Mountains Mandate. The interview was reported by Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group.

Parker added in the interview that the country’s original form of government was based on the Bible, a common view of supporters of the Seven Mountains Mandate, and that its laws should reflect that. Researchers have criticized this interpretation, reports the Associated Press.

Still, Parker’s support for the movement is not new.

“The very God of the Holy Scriptures, the Creator, is the source of law, life and liberty,” he said in 2005 on his first day as a judge, according to ProPublica.

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