Justice candidate waves bible, faces DWI charge

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice candidate Michelle MacDonald has more than a DWI charge hanging over her head — she also has a bible. With it, she apparently supports a practice that dates back hundreds of years to England when the bible was considered the law itself.

Before news of her DWI charge hit the front page of the newspapers and before Republican delegates to the Minnesota state convention endorsed her, MacDonald held a bible over her head and said it was impossible to govern "without God and the bible".

Her short campaign speech, which was interrupted eight times by applause from the Republican delegates who unanimously endorsed her, was heavy on religious references and Tea Party touchstones such as property rights and "liberty".

Apparently none of the Republicans at the convention were aware that MacDonald had been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and resisting arrest last year. State Republican Party chair Keith Downey told the Star Tribune "none of us, including the convention delegates were aware of this information about the candidate. He said "delegates did not have the full disclosure they should have."

MacDonald's case is scheduled for September 15th, seven weeks and a day before the November election.

Her opponent is current Supreme Court Justice David Lillehaug. Prior to being appointed to the Supreme Court Lillehaug was heavily involved in the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor party and served as Al Franken's lawyer in his 2008-2009 U.S. Senate recount battle with Republican Norm Coleman. The DFL does not endorse candidates for the Supreme Court.

When raising the bible at the podium, MacDonald said judges used to carry it above their head when entering a courtroom and that is why the "all rise" announcement is made. That was the custom hundreds of years ago in England's royal courts when the Bible was thought to be the very law itself. So you stood to honor the bible and show respect for the king or queen.

While holding the bible MacDonald said George Washington said it was impossible to govern without God or the bible. The group that manages Washington's estate says that quote is often misattributed to the nation's first president. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association's research says the quote has never been proven to come from Washington.

Transcript:

Well I am Michele McDonald and I am running for Supreme Court judge of the state of Minnesota. Now did you ever wonder why when a judge enters a courtroom you hear the words (bangs gavel) "all rise" ?

Let me tell you why. When judges used to enter the courtroom they would hold a bible over their head, like this. (applause)

In the words of George Washington, it is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the bible. (applause)

Court orders by judges are daily effecting the lives and constitutional and civil rights of millions of Americans. It is a matter of profound importance to all people, parents, children, families and you that I as an individual, an attorney and judge uphold your fundamental liberty rights. (applause)

The entire social and political structure of Minnesota and America rests upon the cornerstone that we the people have certain rights which are inherent. That means, we do not have to go to lawmakers or courts to obtain those rights, but we turn to lawmakers and courts to protect and reinforce our rights. (applause)

These are the rights such as to protect our selves, our liberty, our life, our liberty with our resources, our property, our family and our pursuit of happiness. (applause)

I will as your Supreme Court Justice protect and defend your right to establish a home, family relations —to acquire possess and enjoy your property. I will protect and reinforce the rights of all of us that we, you know, by use of equal and impartial laws which govern all of us.

Judges unquestionably have significant influence over your lives, your hopes, your dreams, and your accomplishments. Let me repeat. Judges unquestionably have significant influence over your lives, your hopes, your dreams, and your accomplishments. As state court judge I will uphold my obligation not to interpret laws to allow violations of your civil and constitutional rights and fundamental law. (applause)

I will not deny any person's right to equal justice under the law. I am committed to civil liberties, constitutional rights, human dignities, and fair entreatment of all citizens — children or adults. (applause)

I am admitted as an attorney in the United States Supreme Court of America. As your Supreme Court Justice I promise to be accountable to the highest court in the land — which is the court of the people. All of you. (applause)

God bless you. God bless your children. God bless your family. And let's all ask God to bless America again.

(applause)

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