If I supplied to you quotes from a judge that were full of scripture verses and recognitions that God was the righteous and “Supreme Judge of the World,” and that spoke of the importance of a “relationship with Jesus Christ,” what century would you guess those words were written or uttered? What long-gone era would such overtly Christian sentiments have been offered by a member of the judiciary? I imagine your guess would be no later than the 1800s or the 1900s at the latest.
Now what if I said such remarks were two weeks old?
(http://parkerforjustice NULL.com/?page_id=2)When Justice Tom Parker (http://judicial NULL.alabama NULL.gov/Bios/parker NULL.cfm) (left) was sworn into his second term as an associate justice of the Alabama Supreme Court he held nothing back in his investiture remarks delivered January 7, 2011. Justice Parker’s remarks are so direct and Biblically based—and, quite frankly, are so nearly extinct in every American judicial body—that they deserve full publication here, rather than a series of mere excerpts.
Below are Justice Parker’s prepared remarks from his recent investiture. Rarely is the divine source and essence of justice explained so plainly.
Remarks of Justice Tom Parker
Alabama Supreme Court Courtroom
to all the judges of the three appellate courts and guests assembled:
One hundred and fifty years ago this year, Alabama adopted the Preamble to our Constitution that we still use to this day. It says:
“We, the people of the State of Alabama, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of government for the State of Alabama.”
Notice that the establishment of justice is the first in the list of purposes for government; it is the first priority.
Justice has the same priority with God. For Him justice is foundational. Psalm 97:2, says that, “Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of His throne.” In Psalm 89:14, the psalmist says to God that, “Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of Your throne.”
Psalm 7:11 says, “God is a righteous judge.” Psalm 9:4 – “He sits on the throne judging righteously.” According to Psalm 36:6, His “Righteousness is like the highest mountains, His Justice is as deep as the great ocean.”
This is the One whom the Declaration of Independence calls “the Supreme Judge of the world.”
But the Supreme Judge of the world has also established judges among men.
In 2 Chronicles 19, when Jehoshaphat reestablished the judges, the following instructions were given to the judges:
“Be careful what you do, for you judge not for man but for the Lord, and He will be with you when you render the verdict in each case. So let the fear and reverence of the Lord be upon you; take heed what you do, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”
In order to be able to perform this awesome responsibility, we judges pray the prayer for Solomon recorded in Psalm 72:1:
“Give us knowledge of Your way of judging, O God, and the spirit of Your Righteousness.”
In the words of Proverbs 8:20, we ask for Wisdom to “walk in the way of Righteousness, in the midst of the paths of Justice.”
As stated in the Preamble of our Constitution, we invoke the favor and guidance of Almighty God to do justice.
As judges, we are warned in Psalm 2:10-12 to be careful for our relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God:
“Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, or He will be angry,
and you be destroyed in the midst of all your activities,
For His anger flares up in an instant.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”
When judges seek the Son, Isaiah 28:6 tells us that, “He will be a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment.”
By serving in the fear of the Lord, we can do what Amos 5:15 instructs:
“Hate evil and love what is good;
Turn our courts into true halls of justice.”
Then, in the words from Amos 5:24, quoted by the Reverend Martin Luther King in his “I Have a Dream” speech:
“Justice will run down like a river, and Righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Be it so unto us, O Lord, equip us for this calling, in the name of Jesus we ask. Amen.