Tag Archives: Larry Hogan

Our Michael Peroutka coverage over the years

Michael Peroutka, who’s leading in a recent poll in the race for the July 19 Republican nomination for Maryland Attorney General, has been a frequent subject of coverage on this page for his “crank constitutionalism and bizarre views on ‘Biblical law’.” What follows below is a quick guide to what I’ve published here together with links to a couple of pieces by others.

To start with the latter, those new to this subject might want to start with Brian Griffiths’ overview in The Duckpin of Peroutka’s strange views and public career, including his popularization (through his Pasadena-based Institute on the Constitution) of the work of the late R.J. Rushdoony, Jr., an advocate of theocratic rule. In an interview with Bill Moyers, recounted by Griffiths, mentor Rushdoony defended one of his best-known ideas, that Biblical law requires the execution of adulterers and practicing homosexuals, among numerous other groups such as blasphemers. “The absolute last thing Republicans in Maryland need is to have a radical extremist like Peroutka on the statewide ballot,” Griffiths writes. (I was writing about Rushdoony and his Christian Reconstructionist followers as long ago as 1998.)

Peroutka has also come in for much criticism over his long involvement with the separatist, and eventually secessionist, League of the South. Journalist Van Smith covered Peroutka extensively in the old Baltimore City Paper, and at least some of his coverage can be found behind the Baltimore Sun paywall, though you can dig for it elsewhere.

While Peroutka’s public-facing career goes back decades, my coverage here at this blog begins with his 2014 primary win in a race for Anne Arundel county council. To quote that post:

Just last month Peroutka was suggesting that the laws of the state of Maryland are owed no allegiance, having diverged from the Divine will on numerous points. (He explains that “an enactment must not violate God’s law,” describes Maryland’s as a “lawless legislature” and writes of such a legislature that “no validity should be given to any of its enactments.”) That should make the whole “oath of office” thing fun if he gets in as a county commissioner.

A few weeks earlier I had noted his links to politics in Carroll County, which have included generous campaign contributions. I wrote that his Institute on the Constitution

promotes a deeply erroneous view of the U.S. Constitution as an essentially religious document, a view not unconnected with the theocratic crankery of [the late John] Lofton and others associated with his group. [links omitted]

Peroutka’s Republican loyalties, it should be noted, are at best changeable. Although it has been a decade since he ran on the Constitution Party ticket, he delivered himself of the following sentiments just last October: “Anyone, including those who identify with the ‘Tea Party’, who loves America and desires real reform, would do well to disengage themselves from the Republican Party and their brand of worthless, Godless, unprincipled conservatism.”

In a Aug. 28, 2014 roundup I linked to coverage by Len Lazarick and Barry Rascovar that mentioned the website StopPeroutka dot com, posted by opponents. That site is now defunct, but you can see a screenshot of it here. An Aug. 9, 2014 roundup has a couple of additional links.

In 2015, after his election to the county council, I noted his attendance at a rally for lawbreaking Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and rounded up a couple of other stories. In 2017 Peroutka was onstage with Alabama’s Roy Moore at Moore’s primary win. In 2018 he lost his primary race for re-election to the county council.

Last month I noted that he was going to be on the July 19 primary ballot against a far better choice, Jim Shalleck of Montgomery County, whose temperate, responsible record stands in contrast to Peroutka’s. That followed up on a February post that noted Peroutka’s filing for Maryland AG and linked Griffiths’ article. I also noted Len Lazarick’s report that at an Annapolis rally, Peroutka had taken the view that Gov. Larry Hogan “had violated the constitution and effectively removed himself as governor.”

Gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox has endorsed Peroutka. It figures.

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Cox’s Hogan suit bombs out at Fourth Circuit

I’ve written a new piece at Maryland Reporter on last month’s ruling by a federal appeals court confirming the demise of Del. Dan Cox’s suit against Larry Hogan claiming that the governor’s emergency COVID-19 orders had violated the law and the constitution. A few excerpts:

“Then there were the signs of hasty lawsuit drafting… One subhead in the original filing cited ‘Irreparable Injury To Plaintiffs From Governor Northam’s Gathering Orders,’ comically echoing a suit filed earlier in a different state – Virginia — against Gov. Ralph Northam.”…

“The suit was decked out with rhetorical flights and what you might call ambitious theories of constitutional law, such as that [Gov. Hogan’s pandemic] orders had had the effect of depriving Marylanders of a republican form of government. As the appeals court noted last month, Cox’s subsequent briefing did not go on to argue the merits of many of these theories, leaving Judge Blake free to dismiss them without discussion….

“Del. Cox will undoubtedly continue to work the campaign trail making strongly worded claims about the U.S. and Maryland constitutions as he understands them. Just remember that the actual federal courts keep making it clear that his ideas about the Constitution are not theirs.”

I covered the initial dismissal of Cox’s suit two years ago for the Frederick News-Post.

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Jim Swift on the GOP gubernatorial primary

At the Bulwark, Jim Swift sounds the alarm about the prospect that voters in the Maryland Republican gubernatorial primary might be seriously divided between a proponent of stolen-election craziness and one with a record of solid administration and sober conservative views. While much of the piece is good, I must disagree with Swift on several points. In particular, he’s far too credulous about a super-dodgy poll about Maryland GOP primary preferences put out by the *Democrats* (and not as far as I know as part of some wider poll release). It’s a blatant effort to mess with the other party’s deliberations by undercutting the candidate with a real chance to win a general election, Kelly Schulz, while boosting the candidate with no such chance, Dan Cox. Swift should have ignored this poll, and so should everyone else.

Schulz is not only ahead, but overwhelmingly so, in garnering endorsements from GOP electeds in the legislature and important county officeholders. The statewide business community knows her well from the 7 years she spent touring workplaces around the state as labor, regulation, and commerce secretary. She’s vastly outraised Cox financially.

Now, obviously, candidates who sweep the table on money and endorsements still lose sometimes to ideological fever chartists. (Swift has some chapter and verse on Cox’s erratic and conspiracy-prone thinking, and much more could be and has been said about that.) But personality counts too. Schulz was much liked and respected during her years in the legislature. She hasn’t become personally entitled or arrogant, despite her success in high-profile state jobs. Nor has she gone around picking needless fights.

Swift posits a rural/urban split that is overdone as far as the tensions in play here. Schulz has plenty of strength around rural areas, and, to be fair, Cox has fans among the GOP base in some more urban parts of the state. At any rate, the center of gravity of the Maryland GOP electorate remains in suburban counties. (The article is also way out of date in its implicit view of Frederick County, but that’s another story.)

In short, I know it can be tempting to warn Bulwark readers “See, practical/sane Republicanism is on the ropes even in Larry Hogan’s backyard — clearly its final doom is near.” But this piece allows itself to get way out ahead of the available evidence. We’ll see come July.

P.S. One final point. Cox’s calling card is his hard-line rejection of Gov. Larry Hogan — I don’t think I have yet met a vocal Cox supporter who wasn’t also a Hogan critic. Having earlier struck out in suing Hogan, Cox is perhaps best known for filing an attempt to impeach the governor that lasted all of six minutes and drew no colleague support. If Cox-ism were predominant among the state’s GOP voters, you’d expect the governor’s rating among them to have sagged. But the respected Goucher Poll, which does show its methods, last month found Hogan to be running 71 percent favorable and 23 percent unfavorable among Maryland Republicans. Cox and his Democratic Party well-wishers can’t take any comfort from those numbers.

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Delegate Dan Cox is wrong on Gov. Hogan’s coronavirus orders

Delegate Dan Cox (R-Emmitsburg), one of the three delegates representing my own District 4, wrote a letter on Thursday to Gov. Larry Hogan demanding that Hogan stand down from some of the measures he has ordered “allegedly because of an ongoing health catastrophe with coronavirus.” (The “allegedly” gave me pause — is Del. Cox suggesting that the ongoing health catastrophe might not be real, or that Gov. Hogan is somehow using a real catastrophe as a pretext?)

In his letter, Del. Cox suggests that Title 14 of the Maryland Public Safety Code does not confer an emergency power of isolation or control over “healthy persons,” although the wording of § 14-3A-03 contains two passages that would appear to do exactly that. One of them (§ 14-3A-03 (d)(2)) is: “If necessary and reasonable to save lives or prevent exposure to a deadly agent, the Governor may order individuals to remain indoors or refrain from congregating.” A second provision (§ 14-3A-03 (b)(3)(iv)) empowers the governor to require individuals to go into isolation until a designated official determines that they do not “pose a substantial risk of transmitting the disease or condition to the public,” a wording that does not apply only to persons themselves sick.

The letter also suggests that the governor’s emergency powers do not extend to businesses not involved in health care, although a section of the Title on emergency health measures addressed to the public (§14-3A-03 (d)(1)) provides that he “may order the evacuation, closing, or decontamination of any facility.”

Del. Cox further asserts that Gov. Hogan has “unilaterally suspend[ed] the Bill of Rights,” a remarkable and disputable claim.

Del. Cox’s letter invokes the U.S. Constitution. I myself have written and spoken a fair bit about how the U.S. Constitution applies in outbreaks of contagious epidemic (the Framers were very familiar with such outbreaks and with the measures taken in response.) I strongly disagree with Del. Cox’s repeated suggestion that the measures are likely violations of the constitution.

Today, Del. Cox was on social media promoting the Annapolis demonstrations demanding relaxation of social distancing in the state, among whose targets is Gov. Larry Hogan.

I am a registered voter and constituent in District 4, and I can state that in doing all of this Del. Dan Cox does not represent my views.

Update: Steve Bohnel of the Frederick News-Post now covers the story in a front-page article and the paper also has published an editorial, both kind enough to quote me.

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ACLU blasts Hogan education plan

I wish we had a civil liberties group in Maryland that focused on civil liberties, rather than going to bat for the legislative agenda of the teachers’ union.

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In miniature, August 27

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Gov. Hogan on redistricting reform

While redistricting reform did not pass this year — or even get a committee or floor vote from the ruling Democrats — Gov. Larry Hogan will “probably come back and fight some more. It’s an issue I really care about.” [Len Lazarick interview, Maryland Reporter]

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Gov. Hogan’s “Dear Mr. President” letter on redistricting reform

Gov. Larry Hogan has written a letter to President Barack Obama and it’s great:

March 31, 2016
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington DC, 20500

Dear Mr. President,

It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet with you at the White House last month during the National Governor’s Association winter meeting in Washington DC. I am grateful for the commitment you made at the time to partner with the NGA to review burdensome federal regulations that may create unnecessary obstacles to economic development and job creation. That we can find common ground on this matter gives me hope that I may also be able to count on your support on another issue.

On April 11 the Maryland General Assembly’s 2016 legislative session will conclude, and with it Maryland’s best hope to reform what is widely regarded as the worst gerrymandering in the nation could also come to an end. As you said in your most recent State of the Union Address: “We have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around. Let a bipartisan group do it.”

On this issue, we are in complete agreement. Last year, my administration assembled a bipartisan task force to study redistricting. After months of work and public comment, the task force recommended that the state establish an independent commission to draw Congressional and legislative districts, eliminating the influence of elected officials and political parties. Unfortunately, this legislation has stalled in the Maryland General Assembly, and may not even come to the floor for a vote.

There are only days left in the legislative session, and next year, we may not have as strong an advocate in White House as you have been on this issue. With your intervention, I believe we could set things right in Maryland.

Of course, I will continue to fight for Marylanders regardless of what happens over the coming days or years. However, with the weight of the White House behind independent redistricting in Maryland, I know we can deliver real change and I am hopeful that you can take action to encourage Maryland’s lawmakers to bring this matter to the floor for a vote.

If there is anything I can do to help you or members of your administration make a case for fair redistricting in Maryland in the days ahead, my administration is at your disposal. I look forward to any steps you may be able to take and I offer my thanks for your attention to the matter.

Sincerely,
Larry Hogan
Governor of Maryland
State House, Annapolis, Maryland

I’ve taken the text of the letter from Washington Post reporter Josh Hicks’s Document Cloud posting, cleaning up errors arising from scanned character recognition when I spotted them; apologies for any errors I didn’t catch. Hicks’s coverage of the story is here. Excerpt:

Six states use nonpartisan redistricting committees to draw their voting maps, and the idea is broadly popular among Maryland residents. But leading Democrats, whose party holds large majorities in the House and the Senate, say they will not consider making Maryland’s system more balanced unless other states whose maps favor Republicans do the same.

More from Erin Cox at Baltimore Sun/Capital Gazette:

Leading Democrats have said they’re disinclined to approve a plan that changes Maryland’s congressional districts absent a national plan for all states to draw them differently.

The nonpartisan, voter-advocacy group Common Cause supports Hogan’s proposal, and executive director Jennifer Bevan-Dangel said Wednesday she was pleased the governor asked Obama to help.

And from Tamela Baker at the Hagerstown Herald-Mail:

But lawmakers also need to forward the administration’s redistricting-reform bill for “an up or down vote,” he said.

“There can be no possible excuse for keeping this bill hidden in a drawer and simply ignoring the will of nearly every person in Maryland,” he said.
Hogan’s bill, filed in both houses, would create an independent commission to redraw congressional and legislative district lines after each new census. But the measure has languished in committee in both chambers….

“This is a bipartisan issue supported by nearly all Marylanders. It’s time for the legislators to join with us and set an example for the entire nation,” Hogan said, challenging legislators to “set this bill free.”

More: video with the governor!

 

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