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Lest we forget, Karl Rove has messed around in Alabama politics since 1994...at least.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:55 PM
Original message
Lest we forget, Karl Rove has messed around in Alabama politics since 1994...at least.
It is like healing a wound to see the information coming out now about Governor Don Siegelman. Dan Abrams was powerful on this last night. But we might forget that many believe the paw prints of Karl Rove have been seen in Alabama politics for many years.

Time to remember what we discussed here before.

Karl Rove's ruthless tactics may have helped a judge win in Alabama in 1994. Involved a recount.

In 1994 a group called the Business Council of Alabama appealed to Rove to help run a slate of Republican candidates for the state supreme court. This would not have seemed a plum assignment to most consultants. No Republican had been elected to that court in more than a century. But the council was hopeful, in large part because Rove had faced precisely this scenario in Texas several years before, and had managed to get elected, in rapid succession, a Republican chief justice and a number of associate justices, and was well on his way to turning an all-Democratic court all Republican. Rove took the job.


The race was between Perry O. Hooper and Ernest "Sonny" Hornsby. There is just no way that a few paragraphs will give the full impact.

More from Joshua Green's great article in The Atlantic called Karl Rove in a Corner

At the time, judicial races in Alabama were customarily low-key affairs. "Campaigning" tended to entail little more than presenting one's qualifications at a meeting of the bar association, and because the state was so staunchly Democratic, sometimes not even that much was required. It was not uncommon for a judge to step down before the end of his term and handpick a successor, who then ran unopposed.

All that changed in 1994. Rove brought to Alabama a formula, honed in Texas, for winning judicial races. It involved demonizing Democrats as pawns of the plaintiffs' bar and stoking populist resentment with tales of outrageous verdicts. At Rove's behest, Hooper and his fellow Republican candidates focused relentlessly on a single case involving an Alabama doctor from the richest part of the state who had sued BMW after discovering that, prior to delivery, his new car had been damaged by acid rain and repainted, diminishing its value. After a trial revealed this practice to be widespread, a jury slapped the automaker with $4 million in punitive damages. "It was the poster-child case of outrageous verdicts," says Bill Smith, a political consultant who got his start working for Rove on these and other Alabama races. "Karl figured out the vocabulary on the BMW case and others like it that point out not just liberal behavior but outrageous decisions that make you mad as hell."


Rove had the Republicans using the memes like "jackpot justice" and "wealthy personal-injury trial lawyers". In the end Rove's guy lost by 304 votes. That was not the end of it. Karl Rove called them to insist they have a recount. That recount stretched out with much unpleasantness...with tactics being used we have grown to know well.

The recount stretched into the following year. On Inauguration Day both candidates appeared for the ceremonies. By March the all-Democratic Alabama Supreme Court had ordered that the absentee ballots be counted. By April the matter was before the Eleventh Federal Circuit Court. The byzantine legal maneuvering continued for months. In mid-October a federal appeals-court judge finally ruled that the ballots could not be counted, and ordered the secretary of state to certify Hooper as the winneronly to have Hornsby's legal team appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which temporarily stayed the case. By now the recount had dragged on for almost a year.

When I went to visit Hooper, not long ago, we sat in the parlor of his Montgomery home as he described the denouement of Karl Rove's closest race. "On the afternoon of October the nineteenth," Hooper recalled, "I was in the back yard planting five hundred pink sweet Williams in my wife's garden, and she hollered out the back door, 'Your secretary just calledthe Supreme Court just made a ruling that you're the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court!'" In the final tally he had prevailed by just 262 votes. Hooper smiled broadly and handed me a large photo of his swearing-in ceremony the next day. "That Karl Rove was a very impressive fellow," he said.


Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

In the decade since, the recount and the court battle have faded into obscurity, save for one brief period, late in 2000, when they suddenly became relevant again. Almost as if to remind Al Gore's campaign of Rove's skill when faced with a recount, the case was revived in a flurry of legal briefs in the Supreme Court case of Bush v. Goreincluding one filed by the State of Alabama on behalf of George W. Bush.


Kudos to everyone who has kept on pushing info on the Siegelman case. Maybe soon more people will be looking under more judicial rocks in Alabama.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. Rove's "premise is not just to beat somebody but to destroy them"
That is so true. Not just win but destroy the opponent.

From a 2004 article remembering Rove's actions in other judicial races in Alabama.

Recalling Karl Rove's role in mud-splattered Alabama races

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - In the 1990s, the normally polite and even dull Alabama Supreme Court races were covered in mud.
Judges accused each other of soliciting bribes and partying with people who had cases before them. They even used the "L" word - liberal.

And behind nearly every race stood a little-known campaign consultant brought in from Texas to help the Republicans - Karl Rove. Rove, now a senior adviser to President Bush, brought a rougher brand of politics to the races for Alabama's appellate courts, say former candidates and political analysts - a brand the state hadn't seen since the notorious campaigns of the late Gov. George Wallace and one that it won't soon forget.

Terry Butts won't forget. Butts, a former associate Supreme Court justice, was running against Rove's client, Bill Pryor, for attorney general in 1998.

During the race, the Pryor campaign used a 1995 article in GQ magazine that included details of Butts' partying a decade earlier in Las Vegas. At a debate between the two men in a Baptist church in Montgomery, Pryor held up a copy of the magazine and started talking about values. Butts was blind-sided.

"That was dirty," Butts said. "That truly was dirty."


What a snide, mean little man he was and is. Oh, and why were they debating in a Baptist Church?

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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. karl is out there and he's one dangerous sob....
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. He has no conscience.
IMHO.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 04:06 PM
Response to Original message
4. Rove spoke of this in his speech to the Federalist Society in 2005
Here is the transcript, audio, and a video.

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/karlrovefedera...

As I was looking around the crowd here tonight I see that we -- virtually everybody in this audience is -- falls into one of three classifications of people. First of all, honored to have members of the federal judiciary here, and the state judiciary. So we have a bunch of judges. I saw a couple of our nominees to the bench. Fred Cavanaugh and I crossed paths here recently. (Fred, where are you?) Any of you nominees just remember you wanted the job.

And, of course, the final group of people who are here tonight are aspiring judges, so my advice to you is save your money, buy a little Kelvar jacket and hope you get in the chance to get in the process 'cause it's not going to get any better soon.

You've also got here a friend of mine that I'd like to just say a word about because I've known her for 15 years. Back in Texas when the Supreme Court of Texas was a disaster -- I'll have a little bit more to say about that later -- she was one of the few people in the legal community who stood up and said we need to do something to change it, and I worked with her awfully, you know, for an awfully long time to see us get the changes we wanted in the judiciary, and she was a warrior. And I've worked with her the last five years and have really gotten to know her well.


He speaks of "changing" the Texas court because is did not suit him. The Alabama court was all Democrats until Rove started. I believe it is all Republican now.

He spoke of Alabama in his speech. Note the continued use of the words "judicial activism" throughout the speech.

I saw this public reaction to judicial activism again in Alabama. The state legislature passed tort-reform legislation in 1987. However, activist judges on the -- on the Supreme Court, the trial lawyer-friendly Supreme Court, struck it down, prompting a period of "jackpot justice" at Alabama through the mid-1990s, where the median punitive-damage award in Alabama reached 250,000 dollars -- three times the national average. Time Magazine labeled Alabama "tort hell."

Like in Texas, this led to a popular revolt against judicial activism. It began in 1994, when Republican Perry Hooper challenged sitting Chief Justice and trial lawyer favorite Sonny Hornsby.
Hooper pulled off a stunning upset -- outspent, outworked -- he won by 262 votes out of over 1.2 million votes cast. And then, the day after the election, several thousand absentee ballots mysteriously surfaced, none of them witnessed nor notarized as required by Alabama law, and Sonny Hornsby tried to have them counted. It took a year of court battles before Hooper was finally seated. His groundbreaking victory would not have been possible without the work of many Alabamians -- including a young dynamic lawyer I got to know by the name of Bill Pryor -- and isn't he doing a terrific job.







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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
5. Update: Found this blog called Legal Schnauzer...documenting
personal experiences with corruptness in Alabama. It is well done, and appears to be a work of emotion and pride by the blogger.

The post from December 6 is called Muzzling the Legal Schnauzer.

This person has had some confrontations with Alabama Justice, which by this time sounds just about like Texas Justice to me. I like this blog, and besides I have a soft spot for Schnauzers. You never messed with our beloved little Schnauzer either.





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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
6. Update: Another great blog about Alabama judges and Rove and other scandals
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
7. karl scares me more now than when he was in the white house
i believe he left to keep the light off of him while he works his evil
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. He needs constant scrutiny.
I agree, he is a dangerous person. He appears to have no scruples.
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