Bless your heart, Alabama. Bless your heart.
Never-elected but twice-shot Pelham attorney Harry Lyon is likely to find out Friday afternoon if Alabama Democratic Party officials will allow him to remain on the ballot as the party’s nominee for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, a position he won in an unopposed primary in the spring. If you take Lyon’s word for it, he’s being railroaded off the ticket by the Democratic party leadership — he described tomorrow’s hearing with party officials as “a political firing squad” Wednesday on Matt Murphy’s radio show — and he is probably right. But there may be good reason to want him off the ticket.
A story earlier this week in the Gadsden Times described Lyon as “colorful,” but that’s like saying Michael Phelps is merely athletic—it does not adequately describe the situation at hand. As mentioned before, he’s been shot twice, once by a neighbor he says was dealing drugs. He’s run for office multiple times, as both a Republican and a Democrat, and never been elected, but he’s picked up some great nicknames like Harry “Maverick” Lyon and Harry “Low Carb” Lyon. He’s faced discipline by the Alabama State Bar three times, including two temporary suspensions. And he once advocated — perhaps jokingly — that Alabama could discourage illegal immigration to the state by executing “five or 10″ illegal immigrants. But it’s Lyon’s recent comments, like that he does not want the votes of gay Alabamians, that have the higher-ups at the Alabama Democratic Party (ADP) concerned.
Here’s a sampling of homophobic posts on Lyon’s personal Facebook profile (these screen captures were taken over several days in the last week):
Good thing he identified “lesbianism” separately from homosexuality. Harry Lyon is far from the first Alabama Democrat to oppose same-sex marriage — Alabama House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) has recently declared that “… Alabama Democrats do not support the government sanction of same unions” — but the vitriolic manner in which he attacks gays and lesbians is uncharacteristic of Alabama Democrats.
I don’t think you had to worry about the rainbow vote, Harry.
At some points, Lyon even attacked his own party, referring to ADP Chairman Mark Kennedy with the nickname [George] “Wallace,” and calling party leadership “demonic.”
(It’s worth noting that Lyon’s Republican opponent, Roy “Ten Commandments Judge” Moore, does not have any great record on gay marriage, or, indeed, on the bench. He once sort of, kind of advocated using the “the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution” to prevent homosexual couples from having custody over children. Famously, Moore was removed from his post as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 for failing to follow a federal judge’s order to remove a massive stone monument to the Ten Commandments. And, of course, he rode a horse to his polling place during the March primary, which is only notable because it was one of those times that happen occasionally in Alabama when you have to ask a friend what millenium it is.)
Lyon’s nomination was challenged on grounds that the Democratic party represents “justice under the law,” the people’s right to “honest and ethical government,” and other grounds—concerns that could be paramount for a potential Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
As to whether or not Lyon will actually be removed from the ballot, the Alabama AFL-CIO thinks it’s a possibility. The labor union endorsed Lyon’s Republican opponent Roy Moore last week — an anomaly for the AFL-CIO, which traditionally supports Democratic candidates — but then rescinded that endorsement later in the week after hearing Lyon might be dropped from the Democratic ticket.
Lyon’s hearing is at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Harbert Center in Birmingham. It will go on whether or not Lyon shows up, but he’s said he plans to be there for his “political crucifiction” [sic].