Is it just us or has Jeff Hughes ripped a page from the Woody Jenkins playbook in his campaign for the State Supreme Court with that tacky “newspaper?”
For that matter, how is it that Jeff Hughes runs on a campaign of rock-solid conservatism, garnering endorsements from Piyush Jindal, the Louisiana Republican Party and the Tea Party while at the same time reaping boat loads of campaign contributions from the plaintiff bar?
And how is it that Jeff Hughes on the one hand touts his support for right to life, firearms, “traditional” marriage and capital punishment while citing the new chief justice as a New Orleans liberal and says that his election would give conservative Republicans a majority on the Supreme Court and at the same time insisting that he would never in a million years allow his personal views supplant a strict application of the law.
That, folks, in hockey parlance is known as the hat trick.
For that matter, how does his high school basketball prowess qualify him for anything but a college scouting report?
And what makes the fact that he wrote the opinion on the First Circuit Court of Appeal denying the appeal of convicted serial killer Derrick Todd Lee significant? Given the evidence in that case, a first-year law student could have written it and in all likelihood, it wasn’t Hughes at all, but a law clerk who did the actual writing that Hughes signed.
In this, the last week leading up to Saturday’s runoff between Hughes and Judge John Michael Guidry, we received two mail-outs from Hughes. One, a slick, 9 by 6-inch card contained the headline: “Bummed About Obama?” and text that proclaimed that “19 states how have legalized marijuana and 9 states and the District of Columbia now allow gay marriage.”
Beneath that shocking news bulletin was the message, “Protect your rights here in Louisiana—vote Judge Jeff Hughes.”
Now, whether you like or despise Obama, whether you endorse the legalization of marijuana or gay marriage should never be an issue in an election for the Louisiana Supreme Court. Minnesota notwithstanding, a candidate for a judgeship has absolutely no business espousing his political viewpoint on political issues, hot-button or otherwise. That is simply improper and inappropriate.
And yet, Jeff Hughes maintains in that pseudo-newspaper, “I am a strict constructionist. It is the duty of the legislature, not judges, to make the law. I consider the Constitution to be an inspired document.”
During his unsuccessful 2008 campaign for Congress against Donald Cazayoux, Jenkins published several issues of what appeared to be a tabloid newspaper which, as it turned out, was nothing more than an oversized campaign brochure that praised Woody Jenkins.
Now Jeff Hughes has cloned that idea, mailing out the Louisiana Judicial Report.
At first glance, it looks like a real, bona fide, sure-fire tabloid newspaper, complete with the official Seal of Louisiana in the upper left hand corner, next to the masthead. “Supreme Court at Stake,” the headline screamed at the reader just before the paper disappeared into the recycle bin. Not an individual Supreme Court seat at stake, mind you, but the entire cotton-pickin’ court apparently is at risk in this one election.
The “newspaper” contains an assortment of hot “news stories” about liberal Democrats, conservative Republicans, student-athlete Jeff Hughes, the lack of experience of John Michael Guidry, the boyhood of Jeff Hughes, ads saying Hughes is a “pro-life champion,” his two-time All-District basketball career at Denham Springs High School and Livingston Parish MVP, the obligatory family photo, a list of “key” endorsements and a half-page ad denying that he is aligned with the plaintiff bar in the so-called “legacy lawsuits,” litigation by landowners against oil companies for not cleaning up their property once exploration was completed.
The ad says that after the legislature passed legislation prohibiting the legacy lawsuits, the oil companies (he refers to them as “billionaires”) are supporting Guidry and the landowners (“millionaires”) support Hughes, all of which somehow makes no sense whatsoever.
“As a judge, my job is not to favor or reward any group but to apply the Constitutions and laws to the facts of each case,” Hughes said in the ad. “That’s what I will always try to do in every controversy.
“Here’s some advice: ignore the big money being spent on TV (ironically, that would be Hughes money to a large extent) and think about the issues that actually affect you and your family.
“If you’re pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-traditional marriage, then vote Jeff Hughes.”