Within thirty days of returning to my native SC in 1981 I told friends, “I’m used to lawyers talking about what they know; here they talk about who they know.”
After thirteen years observing our Judiciary and Legislature as a State Senator and nearly forty years practicing law and having law licenses in five states, I have concluded Jean Toal should be not be reelected Chief Justice.
I base that opinion on my belief that Justice Toal has repeatedly and inappropriately let politics influence her role as a Judge to the detriment of the public, and likely would continue to do so if reelected.
Here are examples of how politics has been her guide:
1. In Dorchester County, House candidate (now Representative) Chris Murphy walked door-to-door campaigning for election to the House of Representatives with his wife, then-Magistrate Maite Murphy, in tow. For example, they knocked on the door of an elderly gentlemen who supported Murphy’s opponent, and who later expressed fear that Judge Murphy might be biased against him if he were to appear before Judge Murphy when she knew that the gentleman had supported her husband’s opponent. Many consider it inappropriate, a conflict of interest, unseemly and the appearance of impropriety for a Judge to actively campaign for a candidate for office.
Judge Murphy justified her door-to-door campaigning with her candidate-husband by citing an Order Judge Toal had signed allowing part-time Magistrates to engage in political activity. Judge Murphy interpreted that to allow her to campaign door-to-door for a candidate to the House of Representatives — her husband — even if she were the Chief Magistrate. The Legislature elects Circuit Court Judges, and, after her husband was elected to the House of Representatives with Judge Murphy’s door-to-door campaign help, the Legislature elevated Magistrate Murphy by electing her Circuit Court Judge Murphy.
This synergistic interplay of Judicial and Legislative ladder-climbing was enabled by Justice Toal’s Order allowing part-time judges to engage in politics. While that was good for the careers of “Team Murphy”, I believe allowing Judges to engage in political activity is contrary to the public interest.
2. As described in an August 5, 2013 article in The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier, “Legislators, chief justice bully Dorchester council on judge’s space”, Judge Toal issued an Order adversely affecting Dorchester County and its Probate Court without granting County officials’ request to be heard by Judge Toal about her order. Judge Toal’s Order was apparently based in part on input from Rep. Jenny Horne, who is actively campaigning now for Judge Toal’s reelection.
3. When then-Governor Mark Sanford decided against reappointing a Dorchester County Master-in-Equity, a State Senator told me that Dorchester Representative Jenny Horne, another Representative and Judge Toal had met privately to discuss that appointment; that Judge Toal had told those two Representatives that this incumbent Master-In-Equity should be reappointed; and that those Representatives supported the incumbent Master-in-Equity because Judge Toal supported him. I confirmed with Judge Toal that she had met with those Representatives, and asked Judge Toal why she supported the re-appointment of the incumbent Master-in-Equity when the Governor did not. I consider it inappropriate for the state’s Chief Justice to discuss privately with legislators who should or should not be our state judges.
4. Judge Toal issued an Order excusing lawyer-legislators from appearing in Court for up to seven months each year. While that Order helps lawyer-legislators and their clients who may benefit from lengthy delays in the courts, I do not believe giving that such an unprecedented and extraordinary “period of protection” to those lawyer-legislators and their clients is in the public interest.
5. Judge Toal actively lobbied (some say “pressured”) legislators to vote for Rosalyn Frierson, her court administrator, as a Family Court Judge. Frierson lost. I consider it inappropriate for any Judge — particularly the Chief Justice of the S.C. Supreme Court — to lobby legislators regarding the selection of another Judge.
Our Constitution and system of government requires separation between the powers of the legislative, judicial and executive branches. South Carolina has probably the most powerful legislature in the nation, and is one of just two states wherein the Legislature decides who are most of the state’s Judges. Judge Toal knows that her job depends on how her conduct as a Judge pleases state legislators who soon will decide whether to vote on her reelection as Chief Justice. Ask yourself, based in part on the above, if you think she has let politics overly influence her conduct as a Judge, and whether she likely would continue to do so if re-elected.
Our state’s “Judicial Accountability” was ranked “F” (44%) by the independent State Integrity Project, which ranked our state government “fifth most corrupt” in the nation. See here and here. This data, about a Judiciary led by Chief Justice Toal for fourteen years, evidences the need to replace Judge Toal.
Michael T. Rose
Mike Rose is a Summerville Attorney and former State Senator Representing Dorchester, Berkeley and Charleston Counties.
Here come de Judge!
How about…..ther go da judge!!!!
Jenny Horne spends more time gossiping and horse trading then doing things worthwhile for SC.
For example, Horne proposed or was part of proposing 20 bills/resolutions in 2013.
Of those proposals, 5 were for “recognition” for the cheer team of the Pinewood preparatory school, 1 to “TO CREATE THE SOUTH CAROLINA REGISTERED INTERIOR DESIGNERS BOARD”, 1 “TO ALLOW THE HOLDER OF A RETAIL WINE PERMIT FOR OFF-PREMISES CONSUMPTION WHOSE RETAIL SPACE IS AT LEAST TEN THOUSAND SQUARE FEET AND WHOSE PRIMARY “(can you say crony?), 1 to “HONOR MRS. ALLYSON DUKE, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER OF DORCHESTER SCHOOL DISTRICT TWO, AND TO CONGRATULATE HER UPON BEING NAMED THE 2013-2014 OUTSTANDING SOUTH CAROLINA SCHOOL BUSINESS OFFICIAL”, and finally 1 to TO DECLARE THE MONTH OF MAY AS “TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION MONTH”.
Does this really sound like a “limited government” Republican to you?
Can anyone say that any of the above bullshit is “doing the people’s business”? With all the serious problems SC has, is proposing 5 bills, more than 25% of those proposed by her in 2013, for some obscure cheerleading squad for a prep school really that important?
She’s truly disgusting, which is why she probably gets along so well with hard core liberal Toal.
Feb 3 is the official celebrate the CORDOVA ICE WORM DAY….
(yes, this is true…. yuck!)
Judge “Ice Worm” Toal. National Geographic has a short clip on her — little slimy black worm living in glacial ice. Ugh.
Thanks for the link. Interesting, but now I am curious about their purpose. They seem creepy and almost supernatural.
National Geographic doesn’t explain their purpose. I “corruption” is a human trait, though.
Another thought, if the ice worms are so far down then who in the hell first discovered their existence?
You toal us so!
Thank you Mr. Rose for having the guts and confidence to state what so many believe and know to be true, but are afraid of Toal’s wrath. I have also watched her lie, browbeat judges and attorneys and twist situations for her own political gain over and over in the past 15 years. She has repeatedly supported and forced the Richland County Legislative Delegation to keep appointing Master in Equity Joseph Strickland when he has a mental illness he has a difficult time keeping under control, he plays favorites with his attorneys, most administrative circuit court judges will not let him hear simple motions because he is inept. He constantly talks with attorneys about cases, pro se. He has been reported to Toal’s disciplinary counsel repeatedly and always skates by with a private reprimand. It appears that Toal does all this as a favor to one of her biggest benefactors Ed Mullins at Nelson Mullins who got rid of Strickland because of his mental illness and they do not want him back!
James Smith and Joel Lourie know all this and they don’t care. They are smarter than the rest of us not in politics and they know what is best for us.
It’s a matter of time before they have to account for supporting corruption over integrity.
Not being a lawyer, this is downright terrifying. Call it “shop talk,” but now I know — God help me if I ever have to go to any court in South Carolina for any purpose. I’ll first have to “shop” for an attorney “approved” by Toal.
Like pork, beef and lamb “Approved by USDA.”
God Bless Sen. M. Rose for publicly saying what 90% of the lawyers in this stat all know to be true. The only reason to vote for Toal is fear of retribution.
. . . or if you just want to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what a spineless and/or corrupt person you are.
I guess John Monk just let it slide when Toal said she did not own any publicly traded stocks. She forgot her stock in Columbia Silica Sand, Inc? Her rich daddy’s company? No, it’s not publicly traded, but she was deflected from Monk’s real question. She does now want the masses she claims to love and support to know just how wealthy the Hoefer family really is.
Didn’t Steve Morrison and Nelson Mullins get in trouble with Federal judges for teaching associates how to answer questions in this manner? Of course, the didn’t get in trouble with Troll Toal who hid it down deep in the ODC, but it happened. Hmmmm
The Sand Pit, named after a family business, is a newer home on the Isle of Palms with an “old beach” feel. This house has a very open, yet comfortable main living area and 6 large bedrooms.
Last sold for $4,800,000 in March 2012.
Sand Pit…get it?
They sold it to themselves. Did you catch that? They swapped out another house down on Sullivans Island which they owned with some first cousins they are still trying to cheat out of stock in the sand pit – the real one that produces the $$$$. Then Jean owned her own house for awhile – then the trust stuff starting coming up. It would take $1,000’s or dollars in legal fees and time to figure it out.
You forgot the liquor business.
We will see just how “conservative” our legislature is b/c they have a golden opportunity to rid our State of liberal Toal and put a conservative on the bench. If we don’t get Toal out of there now, we have to wait 2 years for the next Supreme Court appointment.
The term is for ten years, The “retirement” statute does not require her, or anyone, to retire when they reach 72. And nothing prevents the general assembly from amending the statue. In fact, there is a bill pending right now to do just that. Of course, she has assured us she is going to retire at the end of 2015 and she has never gone back on her word before, so we have nothing to worry about.
“she has never gone back on her word before”, yeah right, I have a really nice bridge to sell in Charleston….real cheap! If you believe,”she has never gone back on her word before “, you will be interested in placing a bid!
“I have a really nice bridge to sell in Charleston”
Will I have to salt it every 20 years? If so, not interested.
Give Jenny Horne a break! She needs Toal because of the $30 million lawsuit she filed against SLED and law enforcement. Anyone voting for Toal is going along with this liberal and outrageous act against our men and women in Blue who risk their lives for us everyday!
Read this and see if you can connect the dots: http://gwdtoday.com/SiteImages/FileGallery/Elmore_Complaint_201.pdf
NO doubt in my mind Justice Toal was involved in my court case for the defwendant!
My lawyers charged me a small fortune and were scared to death to challenge Toal (who appointed the judge to hear my case) and threw me under the bus.
I will never trust the judicial system with her in charge! Blind Justice my a$$, not with Toal in charge! It is who she knows and who she favors and if you are not a relative or friend, kiss your money, justice, right/wrong, legal/illegal good riddance. Quid pro Quo is Toals mantra!
She needs to go!
Tell your legislator. If it is somebody like mine – James Smith – then don’t waste your breath and just let me know that somebody is going to run against him next time and you intend to vote for whoever that person might be – unless it is Bob Coble. One can tell these Toalites the absolute truth, present them with irrefutable evidence, then they still say they are going to vote for her. Like somebody wrote on this site – only the dumb and corrupt legislators are voting for Toal. .The ones who truly want our state to improve are voting for Pleicones.
Listen, folks and Folks: The Queen is fully aware of the nasty and hateful things people are posting on this website about her. Even though true, she is mad as hell. I know one of the partners in this firm got a call from the Queen either this morning or sometime yesterday. She is going ballistic was the word in the lounge at lunch today. Of course, the partner did add he hopes she gets so mad she strokes out – then he said he doesn’t want her to die – just have a brain change to being an honest decent person. Word in the halls, that ain’t going to happen.
Dude, being a law clerk is more fun that I anticipated. It’s only my third week here.
“. . . she is mad as hell. I know one of the partners in this firm got a call
from the Queen either this morning or sometime yesterday. She is going
ballistic was the word in the lounge at lunch today. Of course, the
partner did add he hopes she gets so mad she strokes out – then he said
he doesn’t want her to die – just have a brain change to being an honest
decent person. . .”
THANK YOU CLERK. VERY INTERESTING.
ZEBRAS AND CORRUPT POLITICIAN JUDGES DON’T CHANGE THEIR STRIPES.
LET US HOPE THE LEGISLATURE CHANGES THE CHIEF JUSTICE ON WEDNESDAY.
There ya go! CSOL graduates are good for something.
A person of character, morals and integrity would NEVER vote for someone with none of these traits; therefore, the General Assembly will re-elect Toal in a landslide!!
Come on Jean Toal, it is way past time you accept this is over for you.
My friend has dedicated all of his free time removing corrupt politicians who you assist in targeting good judges, attorneys or anyone for political favor. His group is driving to expose the truth about corrupt law enforcement who conducts political investigations without just cause, corrupt politicians and corrupt judges who abuse their power for political gain or personal interest.
You have made it very clear you have allowed corruption in your heart and politics to make very bad decisions that destroy good peoples lives and their families so you can remind those very same politicians how you helped them in screwing good people who’s only fault is refusing to be screwed by corrupt politicians, bogus political investigation and corrupt judges so you can get them to return the favor to you. Well those days are over for you, any politician or law enforcement who continue to use this as the recipe to abuse their power for personal gain of any kind.
Well said. Thank you.
Yeah, yeah…but she’s still hot!
I just talked with a bud who works at the State House. He claims he saw John Courson. He said Courson is beat down. That Courson hates Toal, has always hated Toal and was on the Pleicones team. But he has been rammed down like he has never been rammed down before. This guy said he told John it’s time to quit – and he said, “maybe so, maybe so.” My friend says they are hitting Courson with the fact that Toal is in his district and therefore, he “has to” support her. It’s BS, but Courson is so weak – and dumb – he doesn’t know how to get out of it. Courson is so dumb, he has been promised something for his little vote. When she loses, let’s see if they come through.
However, most believe Pleicones is going to pull it out. THEN you are going to see and hear from the real Toal haters.
John Monk’s article is quoted below.
What Monk doesn’t say is bluntly discussed here at FITSNEWS — the fear and corruption emanating from the state’s judiciary branch under Judge Toal, which has spread to the legislature. Yes, legislators like John Courson are “afraid.”
Wednesday’s vote is a corruption litmus test, and my friends and I will campaign aggressively against any legislator who supports the status quo under this “Queen.”
In interviews, many of the 170 lawmakers, who will vote in a joint assembly, say they dread the vote for several reasons.
As of Friday, neither candidate had a majority of “pledges” – a promise to vote – that would cause the other candidate to acknowledge defeat and drop out of the race.
The chief justice not only is the presiding officer of the Supreme Court but also functions as the chief executive officer of the state’s $65 million-a-year court system and the discipline of people, including lawyers, who work in that system.
In recent weeks, both Toal and Pleicones, and their lieutenants in the Legislature, have been gathering pledges of support from lawmakers. Neither would disclose their vote count Friday.
“Let’s put it this way — I’m very pleased at this point,” Pleicones said.
Toal said, “I feel very encouraged and comfortable about it – extremely encouraged.”
Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/02/01/3240580/toal-pleicones-release-financial.html#storylink=cpy
Courson is as useless as tits on a boar hog!
The guy is not smart, has been in the Senate too long.
His claim to fame was his impersonations of Strom Thurmond and he was not that good at it. The only reason he is President Pro Tem, he was running against a bigger dumb ass and sicko skirt chaser Harvey (Hillbilly) Peeler!
Jean Hoefer Toal needs to GO!!!
And so does Courson…. and his lady in waiting, James Smith. Clean up neighborhood, please.
This race isn’t just Toal vs. Pleicones. It’s about a golden opportunity to have a better Court. Vote against Toal and she is gone. This will open a seat to elect a fair and impartial justice. It makes no sense to vote for her. She is too polarizing a figure to be on the court any longer. A vote for her gives us the same court we have now. Nobody wants that. Voters are watching this race like no race ever before. I want so called conservatives in the upstate like Gary Smith and Bruce Bannister to explain their vote for Toal this spring.
Amen, brother. And Toal’s infamous drunk driving incident — including crashing into a parked car, not stopping, continuing home — is dishonest, reprehensible behavior. Her explanation: ignorance and innocence because her car radio was turned up loud. Case dismissed. Ordinary people would have been jailed for that. Legislators voting to re-elect this embarrassment will be tarred and feathered. And, yeah, everyone I know is watching this vote, too.
Upstate, please do what you can to get our token upstate Supreme Court member – tub of useless lard, John Kittridge, to retire and just teach his little Sunday School class over here on our side of town. He is pathetic.
Gary Smith …a …conservative? You meant this as a joke …right?
Anyone know who my Aiken Senator, Tom Young, is backing? Better not be Toal! Can someone get us a list of who is backing her?
Not sure about Young but I know that Malloy, McGill, Hayes, Courson and maybe Larry Martin are supporting her. I can see the first ones but if it is true I am surprised about Martin. I know Shane Massey from up your way is fighting hard for Pleicones! Thank him when you see him!
When confronted, weak ass Hayes would not say who he is supporting. Just walked away. Courson is stupid as thoroughly discussed herein and Malloy and McGill are dumb and corrupt enough to vote for Toal. They need to be removed from State Government also.
We honest citizens should set up a website to “recognize” the low-life legislators who vote for this crooked judge. I’ve got a friend who does websites. Legislators voting “AYE” for Toal will have a fictional albatross in their hands and cash bulging, tumbling out of their pockets. I’ve got a cartoonist friend who can draw good likenesses.
Here’s looking at you, Courson, Hayes, Harrell, other jerks, next primary.
Following this drama here is more fun than riding the “It’s A Small World” ride at Disneworld.
May be true, Shifty, but this is one of the biggest and best opportunities we have had in awhile to get a little bit of dignity and integrity back into State Government. The good part about it going to a public vote is that the masses who know who is corrupt and will vote without thinking of the state first – by their vote for Toal. The good guys will vote for Pleicones.
Call their hand, and start eliminating the cockroaches…..
1948: Lucky Strikes Means Fine Tobacco
2014: Lord Save Me From Toal
In a state ruled by an iron fist of the judiciary Mike Rose has done us all a huge solid by saying publicly what most every SC attorney knows to be true, but will the legislators listen, or be to scared of toals wrath to agree and vote her out?
Let’s add Haley, Eckstrom, Clyburn, Wilson, Peeler, Leatherman, Martin, Harrell, White….take’em all and many not named here!
Senators and House members: To be perfectly clear, if you vote for Toal and a continuation of her corruption, lying and deceptive ways, you will have to explain to your constituents at your next election exactly WHY you did that. The evidence is beyond any reasonable doubt that Toal has abused her power, is not honest and further drags South Carolina to new low levels.
RESTORE THE INTEGRITY OF OUR SUPREME COURT
Elect Costa Pleicones – Sign the Petition!
Our legislators should do what they should always do- use their vote to improve our state. This means that they should not allow Justice Toal to continue as Chief justice.
I have no personal animosity towards the Chief Justice. I merely want a sound, well run, and ethical judiciary. Reasons to not allow Toal to continue as Chief are serveral.
First, she neglected the magistrate court system for so long that the backlog of cases became mammoth in size. Instead of responsibly working with local prosecutors and magistrate judges to get through this backlog, Toal issued an executive “drain the swamp” order demanding that thousands of cases be disposed of almost immediately. This resulted in thousands of defendants charged in these courts getting their charges thrown out or significantly reduced. Many, many DUI defendants got a “free pass” because of Toal’s “drain the swamp” order. Eventually, one of these DUI defendnats, not having suffered the consequences of drunk driving, will drink and drive again- maybe injuring or killing innocent people. Toal will be solely responsible for such a tragic event.
Second, she has completely failed to lead in the matter of Solicitor Docket control. In South Carolina the prosecuting attorneys once had the power to call cases in the order that most served justice. Toal has taken that power away and has failed to forge a solution to this problem. She has stated in the press that she is contemplating another “drain the swamp” order- much like the magistrate court order. I fear that Toal will make my community less safe if she forces the local prosecutors to throw out cases against defendants facing charges in the circuit courts.
Third, Toal has engaged in unbecoming and unethical behavior. When she was lobbying legislators to have her former employee elected family court judge, she actually contacted a number of circuit court judges- judges that she supervises and controls- to have them also lobby legislators on behalf of her former employee, Frierson. This is clearly an abuse of power and this behavior reflects poorly upon our judicial system.
Fourth, her record of being a hit and run scoff law is embarrassing. After causing about $3,000 of sheet metal damage in a side swipe of a parked car, Toal left the scene and drove home. When law enforcement officers tracked her down, she answered the door with an alcoholic drink in her hand. This was likely a clever and effective way to avoid a DUI prosecution. Her second hit and run is a manifestation of her “above the law” attitude.
Amen!, Toal is ultra liberal in every respect! My personal feelings, she will stoop as low as she can get away with and with this REPUBLICAN???? Legislature, that is as low as the gates of Hell!!
Anyone who votes for her shows their True colors and lack of moral/ethical makeup.
What an amazing post. I knew about Toal’s car wrecks but much of the other information you give is news to me. I sure hope legislators are reading this blog. The lawyers among them probably know all this but the non-lawyers, like me, probably don’t. So wake up legislators, smell the (burnt) coffee, do the right thing tomorrow!
Clemson ’83 – if you find ANY Clemson grad in the State House who votes for Toal, post it tomorrow afternoon. Their diploma will be rescinded by Thursday afternoon. Count on it. She’s that bad!
Guarantee you Harvey Peeler will vote for her! Heard there was some kind of connection with his brother Bob Peeler. Both are Clemson people. Bob Peeler is a trustee and known womanizer.
Continued….. Toal has also struck at least one other vehicle since her hit and runs. She paid off the victims with money if they would agree to not call the police. She should, at the very least, be honest regarding her driving incidents.
Toal caused (or at least endorsed) the funneling of thousands and thousands of South Carolina tax dollars to the Charleston School of Law. I was recently surprised to see this local for profit law school was presenting a think tank type symposium that was being funded with South Carolina tax dollars. A state agency called the Indigent Defense Office is controlled by Toal. She had that agency supply the money used to fund this event at the Charleston School of Law. Toal uses her power to have the SC Bar put her supporters on this agency so that she can control it. She does not even mask her control of this state agency. For instance, a quick check on the agency web site confirms that a lawyer on the agency’s board of directors works at her husband’s law firm. The event funded by SC tax dollars was not a training event for the lawyers charged with representing poor people. This was a celebratory event honoring the Gideon case. The event mainly addressed the expansion of the legal rights of the poor, and the speakers were mostly celebrity-type lawyers in the legal field. A friend from Summerville attended and enjoyed the program, but, while I support the rights of all citizens, and I support this local law school, it was not responsible to have our tax dollars fund an event like this- especially for a for profit law school.
Also, Toal has received far too much credit for bringing innovative technology to the court system. The fact is that South Carolina is barely keeping up with the rest of the states in this regard. At any rate, implementing technology does not outweigh her negative behavior.
It is also a shame that the lawyers in this state, myself included, must speak anonymously on this issue. It is sad that we all simply accept the fact that Toal would exact some measure of retribution on us if she were to know who spoke out against her – no matter how honest our comments are. I’d like to have these comments appear on the Post and Courier editorial page, but I can’t risk the damage Toal would do to my legal career if I was to sign such a letter to the editor. South Carolina Legislators, please vote for honesty, integrity, and fairness for the judiciary.
Toal has a state funded lobbyist (Coble) lobbying at State House for her. She has judges calling legislators. She has a Speaker of The House under a Statewide Grand Jury investigation working for her. Will our legislators do what’s right and get rid of Toal? Answer tomorrow.
If legislators are afraid to cast a vote for fear of retribution from the person they vote against, doesn’t that say it all? Judges are supposed to be impartial and incapable of rewarding their friends or punishing their enemies. If you are afraid of her, why vote for her? Before the current Chief Justice, the average term of the Chief was two years. Isn’t thirteen years enough? A pall of fear will be lifted from the judges and lawyers of this state if Justice Pleicones, a good man and fair, prevails. If not, it is more of the same: “What’s your name? Who’s your Daddy? Is he rich like me?”
It’s not just Toal they are afraid of. Bobby Harrell is threatening legislators with their committee assignments. If the legislators vote for what’s best for our state and vote their conscience, Pleicones wins. PLEASE do the right thing for a change and stand up to bullying and unethical behavior.
A House member told me this exact thing today. He will kicked to the bottom of the Harrell pile of never appointed to anything of importance again if he votes against Toal. He said that it has never been this bad and the longer the race stretches out, the more heinous “Toal, Harrell and Leatherman become.”
It was heard by those of us still hanging around up here, that one House member told Harrell a couple of hours ago to “Fuck off! If you try to punish me for voting for Pleicones, I will tell all I know.” Harrell blanched and sleezed, slimed and slided out of the room. It’s that nasty, Folks. Pleicones has got it.
Harrell was telling legislators the Toal vote was a “referendum” on his speakership….considering it’s getting closer and closer to the fact that he will be adjudicated a publicly verifiable crook, it seems like the appropriate vote would be FOR Pleicones, to show Harrell what a ‘laudable’ job he’s done as Speaker.
Harrell is supporting Jean Toal because he will later be counting on her help if his case regarding ethical violations lands in the courts. It is a sad day when an ethically challenged speaker of the house is essentially buying (by bullying other legislators) the favor of the state’s highest judge.