Proud of three state and local judgeships won on Saturday, the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish held a luncheon Tuesday for Louisiana Supreme Court Justice-elect Jeff Hughes’ first post-election appearance.
The Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon at Cafe Americain also featured remarks about gun rights from a state senator and heard a call for retention of the Bible and Christian beliefs in the court system by retired Baton Rouge City Court Judge Darrell White.
“I feel redeemed,” local Republican Party Chairman Woody Jenkins said.
He said he endorsed Hughes for the Supreme Court four years ago, when Hughes attempted to unseat Democratic Justice Kitty Kimball, now retiring as the court’s chief justice.
Jenkins noted that Hughes won a runoff election Saturday against Democrat John Michael Guidry, who, like Hughes is a member of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.
And Jenkins mentioned that Republican Circuit Judge Mike McDonald, a Republican, and City Court Judge Suzan Ponder, a Republican, defeated Democratic Party runoff opponents Gideon Carter III and Tiffany Foxworth.
Noting that Republicans now hold their first-ever majority on the Supreme Court, Jenkins said Hughes “raised the money that you need to get the message across.”
Hughes replied: “I’m not worthy of this. I can only say that I will try my best to become worthy.”
Watching returns leading to Saturday night’s Republican wins, Hughes said he felt, “I was a grain of sand on the back of an elephant.”
Hughes said retired White referred him to helpful supporters throughout his campaign. He then introduced White, founder of the local American Judicial Alliance, which has placed more than 100 Bibles in courts across Louisiana, Florida, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.
White took the lectern and announced that his group’s next Bible will go to the Alabama Supreme Court.
The retired jurist said former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Harlan donated a Bible to the nation’s highest court in 1906 as a symbol of Christianity’s importance to the country’s court systems.
All Supreme Court justices have signed that Bible since then, White said. He quoted Harlan as saying, “The Bible is the inspired word of God.”
White criticized former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, whom he quoted as saying there must be “a high and impregnable wall separating church and state.”
And White criticized retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a Republican appointee, for casting the 1980 swing vote that found unconstitutional a Kentucky law that would have posted the Ten Commandments in public schools.
“I ask you to pray for this 92-year-old man (Stevens),” White told his audience.
White asked Republicans to vote against “the judges who have done so much mischief today.” He added: “These judges are going to be judged.”
State Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, said “Louisiana now has the strongest Second Amendment rights (gun rights) of any state in the nation.” Riser authored a law he said makes any future proposed restrictions on gun rights “subject to strict scrutiny.”
State Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, said people asked her after the presidential election Nov. 6 to explain what’s wrong with the Republican Party.
“There’s nothing wrong with the Republican Party,” Hodges said. “This is not the time to back off from our ideals.”