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Activist judge betrays million voters, stabs property owners

By Investigative Reporter John Taft, November 29, 2005, NewsWithViews.com

GRANTS PASS, Oregon -- Constitutional property rights are threatened by an Oregon activist judge. Oregon judges past and present have no intention of allowing voter approved measures to constrain illegal land use laws. The courts, sympathetic to the radical environmental movement, are euthanizing both the state and federal Constitution to accomplish their political agenda of land control without payment.

Brief History of Land Use Laws

Oregon’s Senate Bill 10 enacted in 1969 was one of the early land use laws leading up to SB 100. Next came Senate Bill 100 which was run through a conscience- numbed legislature on May 29, 1973, without a vote of the people. This further placed the state’s iron fist around private property rights and property owners’ throats. Here was a powerful environmental agenda that bent and distorted the Oregon and US Constitutions. Three times initiative petitions tried to overturn SB 100, and the third attempt, after being approved by voters, was disqualified by the Oregon Supreme Court.

Twenty-one years later, using the initiative petition process begun by Oregonians in Action (OIA), Oregonians passed Measure 37, a property rights measure, on November 4th, 2004. This measure would compensate property owners who owned property prior to the land use laws being enacted to develop their property or be paid by the state for the loss of use of their land. This was immediately attacked by 1,000 Friends and their allies in Oregon’s venal court system. SB 100 has leaked into all 36 Oregon counties and Josephine County is presently under siege with riparian land setbacks along rivers and streams to be appropriated by the state without compensation. An exposé appears on the US Observer’s website called Josephine County Planning Department Ignores Constitution.

SB 100 Iceberg Exposed

Past Governor Tom McCall and Henry Richmond created 1,000 Friends of Oregon in 1975 to monitor implementation of SB 100. Admittedly, SB 100 does have some advantages in protecting the land and scenic beauty of the state, but there are other legal and constitutional ways to handle this issue. SB 100 is like using a knife to commit rape. SB 100 takes private property by force, using the knife of illegal state law. The price is too high for obtaining SB100 results in terms of Constitutional violations and pilfering.

The US Constitution and the Oregon Constitution both plainly state for anyone’s reading that there shall be no taking of private property without compensation. It does not say government can’t take private property for public use, but it can’t do so without providing compensation. The fact is, SB 100 does condone and has done so in the taking of private property without compensation. Judges can and do rule that this is in the public’s best interest, but to do so is not in compliance with the Constitution. SB100 has altered the landscape of Oregon by thieving and is built with its pillars sunk in quicksand legislation. SB 100 parallels the theft of land from white farmers in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe the theft of farms by government is faster, while SB 100 practices gradualism in the taking of property rights.

In an interview with Brainstorm NW, Executive Director of Oregonians In Action Dave Hunnicutt said, “There is a fair amount of talk about getting rid of SB 100. It is time for planning decisions to be made by people in their own communities. Portland can plan for Portland and can make their own wacky decisions just for Portland. And John Day can plan for John Day. What kind of planning system is it where decisions are made by a seven-member commission of political appointees (LCDC)?” And it does appear to be time to strike back at 1,000 Friends and dismantle Senate Bill 100. 1,000 Friends opened the door, and 1,000,000 voters may very well boot them off their lofty throne of lordliness.

Judge Mary James: All Power is Inherent in the Judges

The voters approved Measure 37 by a positive majority of 61 percent that represents 1,054,000 people. Rooty, toot, toot, along comes a Circuit Court Judge Mary Mertens James and overturns the vote of over a million people on the recommendations of 1,000 Friends of Oregon. This decision is being appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court. In making her decision James ignored Article One of the Oregon Bill of Rights which reads, “… that all power is inherent in the people and all free governments are founded on their authority …” It can quickly be resolved as to who has the authority, the people or the judges, by simply substituting the word judges for people in Article One. The Constitution doesn’t say all power is inherent in the judges and, “all free governments are founded on their authority.” Nor does it say that all power is inherent in the legislators, governor, and police. Since that power is inherent in the people, the people wield that power with their vote. In this case the people voted 61 percent (1,054,000 votes) in favor of measure 37.

The people have spoken through their Constitution and vote. Even an 11-year old child can understand this constitutional concept, why can’t Mary James and a 1,000 Friends? Chief recall petitioner Tom Steffen tells this story on NewsWithViews.com, “When I got to the section [on page 11] where Judge James said Measure 37 was unconstitutional because it limited the power of the government, my 11-year-old said, ‘Dad, I thought the whole purpose of the Constitution was to limit the power of the government.’”

Why did Judge Mary James rule that we the people can’t exercise our constitutional rights? It would seem that Mary James took something that didn’t belong to her, and that’s called stealing. Will Mary James be prosecuted in Oregon for criminal misconduct? Of course not, Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers would never allow such a thing to happen. Judges are rarely held accountable for their ignorance and misconduct. Measure 37 should never have gone to her courtroom or any other court, it’s beyond their reach. It should have been implemented with no interference from the courts. What we see is absolute arrogance and contempt for Constitutional law. If the judges and those in government wish to ignore the Constitution, then the only other means available to reclaim the "power inherent in the people" is for the people who have the legal right to rise up against a corrupt silent government that believes it’s beyond the reach of the Constitution. Is this what the judges and public officials want?

The Oregon Constitution reads, "And they (people) have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper." The Constitution clearly indicates that the people are in charge, not the judges, and the people, not the judges, have Constitutional authority to take action when government fails to follow the Constitution. The government and its courts regard the people as the wild Okefenokee Swamp hogs in the story of the trapper who was able to fence the stupid hogs with the bait of free corn. Big government and corrupt courts are not your friends, never have been, and never will be. Judge James and her ilk are not only stealing the people’s votes, but also they are stealing the people’s inalienable rights.

Tom McCall, a Man Without a Conscience

Governor Tom McCall (1967-1975), a two term governor, was more a pirate on the sea of life plundering the property of others rather than a supporter of constitutional rule. I say this because McCall violated his oath of office to uphold the Oregon Constitution (Section 18, OR Bill of Rights) and US Constitution (Fourth Amendment) after he became governor, for he went on to violate both Constitutions in the taking of private property without compensation. An educated man, Tom McCall was in a trusted position of power, and he violated that trust when he willingly and knowingly became an opportunist seeking to fulfill a personal agenda for land use.

The individuals in the state legislature and its agencies remain mute and neither acknowledges nor offers a solution to the wrong that has been perpetrated upon property rights for the past 32 years in Oregon. They appear to be as unethical as former Gov. Tom McCall and his friends in their failure to uphold the rule of law. An illegal act that violates the Constitutions is a law without moral authority, but it is still enforced by a willing state government with statutes, police with guns, courts, fines, and prisons, to carry out their political agenda. The same illegal acts used to control private property can be used on any issue to control the people and carry out a liberal socialist agenda in America. There appears to be no one to stop them, as there has been no one to stop the land grab agenda. However, with James' ruling on Measure 37, new ingredients have been added to the cooking pot for 1,000 Friends to stew on.

Recall Fitting for Bad Judge

Tom Steffen, a Marion County resident who knows his constitutional law, wasn’t putting up with Mary James’ ruling on Measure 37 and became the chief petitioner for her recall.

The seating of an elected or appointed Judge always opens the door to venal political opportunism. Man has an inherent weakness in his nature to ignore Constitutional law when it doesn’t agree with his political goals. Mary James seems to be no exception to this. In one of five reasons that she wrote, declaring Measure 37 unconstitutional was: “The question raised by Measure 37 is whether… the people acting through the initiative process may impose limits on the legislative body… There is no provision in the Oregon Constitution that would permit such a limitation… [Measure 37] is an unconstitutional curtailment of legislative power.”

James wants no limits on state government and ignores that the Oregon Constitution reads, “Power is inherent in the people,” meaning the legislature derives its power from the people. Her ruling would, if allowed to stand, mean power is inherent in the legislature, and the people are then subservient to the legislature. The initiative process would be quite dead as a means of the people making law if the legislature didn’t like the vote of the people.

Steffen is to be commended for taking the initiative to recall Judge Mary James and show other judges what could happen to them when they burn votes and trash the Constitution.


The French Revolution 1789-1799 has an interesting parallel to Judge Mary James’ decision on Measure 37. Prior to the French revolution the social structure had several classes of people: the nobility, clergy, bourgeoisie, (middle class) and the proletariat. (manual laborers). The nobles claimed all the power, and the other classes were subservient to them. There was no constitution such as we have. The people rebelled, resulting in the nobles losing their heads to the guillotine. Judge James, in an ill advised decision has made herself a noble usurping the people’s rights outlined in the Oregon and US Constitutions. She won’t meet the guillotine, but a successful recall will serve the purpose and perhaps be a warning to other activist judges.

The American Revolution began 23 years before the French Revolution ended. These two revolutions began because of oppression. The Declaration of Independence describes in detail the complaints the colonists had against British rule. On August 2, 1776, patriots began signing this historical document. They placed their lives, families, homes, and possessions in jeopardy with their signatures. What these men endured afterwards for freedom is thought provoking. Would the American people do this today?

Thanks to Mark Dixon for the following two excerpts from a list of several on his web site. His researched comments are in green. To view the other entries of the 56 visit his site Declaration of Independence.

Nine of the 56 [I count at least ten: Heyward (wounded), Rutledge, Walton (wounded), Middleton, Whipple (lost leg), Wolcott, Nelson, Ross, M'Kean, and Rodney, were all military leaders in the war] fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. [They all suffered great hardships, but I can't find any who died in action. The earliest to die, Ross, died from complications of gout. M'Kean lived until 1817.]

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. [Ill at the time of the attack (winter of 1776-77), she died while he was in hiding.] Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. [True] For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. [True] A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. [He died in 1779, from ill health he contracted during his exile].

These 56 patriots laid the foundation for the Revolutionary War and a Constitution to come when they signed the Declaration of Independence. Some of the wording of the Constitution was taken directly from the Declaration of Independence. For example, Thomas Jefferson writes: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

One or the Other: Callousness or Ignorance

Judge Mary Mertens James, Tom McCall, and all of Oregon’s governors since 1973, members of the Oregon legislature for the past 32-years, 1,000 Friends, those in charge of the LCDC, DEQ, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and many other public employees appear to have no knowledge of the Constitution and what the founding fathers gave this Republic. The Declaration of Independence reads, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...” The US Constitution and Oregon Constitution contain similar words as discussed earlier in this article.

The people and agencies mentioned either show a callousness towards constitutional law or wanton ignorance of a great depth. When the reader understands where the power of the government, including judges, originates, then it is easy to see why government and the courts are absolutely corrupt when they heedlessly or ignorantly refuse to follow the Constitution and ignore the vote of the people. One can only wonder where in America they obtained their education?

Spirits Awakened

We don’t need a revolution; we need judges and public servants who follow and believe in the US Constitution and Oregon Constitution to the letter. Had those patriots existed now, there would have been no need for a Measure 37. Our founding fathers paid for the Revolution of 1776 in blood, misery, and often their lives. They gave posterity the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Judge Mary James and 1,000 Friends have disturbed the sleeping spirits of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence and awakened the spirit of freedom in some of the living.

© 2005 John Taft - All Rights Reserved


John Taft former president of Josephine County, OR. Taxpayers Association is presently an investigative reporter for the US-Observer and NewsWithViews.com. He has had many years of broadcasting, news writing and reporting experience. He also has written a popular conservative newsletter for a taxpayers organization to inform the public on taxing issues.

E-Mail: joconewsline@hotmail.com





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