5th Court of Appeals, Pl. 11 Judicial Candidates Highlight Their Merits in Attempt to Earn Votes
The contest for various judicial positions on the March 6, Republican Primary ballot, and specifically, places on the 5th Court of Appeals, are “critical” elections, according to Kaufman County Republican Party Chairman Jimmy Weaver, who emceed the Kaufman County GOP Judicial Candidate Forum last night, January 11, 2018 at the Kaufman High School Fine Arts Building.
For most cases, the 5th Court of Appeals is the last appeal they will ever make, as reaching the Texas Supreme Court has a very low probability. Last night’s event hosted contested Republican Primary judicial candidates from the 5th Court of Appeals, all the way down to the Kaufman County Judge and Kaufman County Court at Law No. 1 races.
The 5th Court of Appeals covers Grayson, Collin, Hunt, Rockwall, Dallas, and Kaufman Counties. Place 11 Republican candidates are: Dan Wyde, John Browning, and Tom Nowak. Each were present to answer questions prepared by local GOP members. The first question was: Why are you running?
Browning answered, “I believe in the rule of law, I believe in the Constitution, and protecting and defending the Constitution. I believe in public service…”
Browning explained that the 5th Court of Appeals is the largest and busiest appellate court in the State. It receives nearly 2,000 new appeals every year… “It can serve as a firewall against activist liberal judges,” he said. He also touted his experience in arguing appeals in 11 of the 14 intermediate Appellate Courts in Texas. He’s an author, and has had four cases go before the Texas Supreme Court, and was appointed by the same to write opinions governing Texas lawyers.
Nowak, who grew up mostly in Mesquite, Texas, answered, “I was born in Communist Poland, where rule of law didn’t exist…I was fortunate enough to make it to America as a refugee from Communism, so when you’re talking about somebody who’s going to uphold the values, and things that we hold dear, then that’s me, because I know what results occur when you let… Dallas County judges start thinking that socialism and communism are better ways of handling our disputes and our problems…” Nowak came to America as a young boy in 1985.
He is board certified in criminal law, and with his experience as both a prosecutor and defense lawyer, he believes he is well qualified for the position, as the 5th Court of Appeals handles far more criminal cases, than civil cases.
Nowak is also a member of the United States Air Force Reserves and is Captain for the JAG, the legal arm of the Air Force.
Second Question: Have you ever been sanctioned by the court? Both Browning and Novak answered, “No.” Wyde explained that he had not been sanctioned in 28 years of criminal law practice, but was sanctioned by the court recently, in a civil case, in regard to collection of attorneys’ fees, awarded by the court; and that sanctioning is being appealed.
Last Question: Which current U.S. Supreme Court Justice best reflects your judicial philosophy?
Browning said that Justice Clarence Thomas would have to be his answer, although, “…the late Justice Antonin Scalia has a special place in my heart,” he said. “Because of his incredible service as guarding our Constitutional liberties, and as a strict contructionist.” Browning appreciated how Scalia read the Constitution, and applied it as is.
Nowak agreed that Justice Clarence Thomas identifies most with his judicial philosophy. He appreciated the wisdom he displays in quiet and contemplative mannerism; and Thomas’ beautifully written opinions. “Nobody else on that Court has had to put up with as much as that man has…to be called the names that he’s called, and the things that are said about him…” yet he continues to do the right thing, to protect and defend America. “He’s a shining example of what to be,” Nowak concluded.
Wyde arrived late, due to traffic issues, and was able to briefly answer questions, to make up for his earlier absence.
He pointed to the fourth Chief Justice, John Marshall as one to admire because he established the separation of powers between the three branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.
Wyde then expressed appreciation for Chief Justice Earl Warren, who was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and applied the Bill of Rights. “The first eight Bill of Rights apply to people,” explained Wyde. “The ninth and the tenth amendments apply to the states… Warren said that ‘The states have to recognize the United States Bill of Rights.’”
He then, mentioned Scalia, and how he looked at the founding fathers’ intent when they wrote the Constitution. Noting the Second Amendment in his example, Wyde said, “When it says, ‘the right to bear arms,’ it means the arms that you could bear at the time, in 1787. It doesn’t mean you can put a cannon in your front yard, but it does mean that any other arms that you could keep on you, on your person, and by your side, you were allowed to have.” He interpreted the “well-regulated militia” as the part meant for the states. Wyde further stated that the real question is how “arms” is defined. In 1787, it was those arms that you can keep on or about your person.
Of course, the hole in this theory, is in how much “arms” have changed throughout the years. Could not the intent have been to make sure that We the People would be able at any given time, to once again, defend ourselves against a tyrannical government, as we did in 1776? After all, it was tyranny and despotism that led us to revolt in the first place. Oh and, thank God for the colonial Minute Men; but I digress.
With a laugh, Browning said in his closing remarks, “I wouldn’t mind having a cannon in my front yard.”
Nowak said in his closing comments, “Elect people who will fight for your values. I will fight for the people who will need it most.”
Wyde accused his opponents of having almost no experience and ended with, “You rise by your merits and you fall by your merits… I’ve been involved in Republican politics since 1994… It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice…” and last, but not least, “Leadership is doing. I do. Talk is cheap.”
And, so it is.