Tag Archives: Michael Peroutka

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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Jim Shalleck deserves nod in GOP AG primary

Amid other interesting primary battles it’s easy to lose sight of the one for the Republican nomination for Maryland Attorney General. But it’s important. Everyone in favor of a sane and relevant GOP should back Jim Shalleck of Montgomery County, an experienced prosecutor who’s campaigning primarily on the crime issue. Shalleck’s primary opponent is the appalling Michael Anthony Peroutka, the “wackypants theocracy buff” (as I’ve called him) whose crank constitutionalism and bizarre views on “Biblical law” I’ve written about for years.

Jim Shalleck is a credible figure who’d be an asset to a statewide Republican ticket. Michael Peroutka is working the Dan Cox circuit while somehow managing to be even more extreme than Cox himself. It shouldn’t even be a contest, but in today’s political atmosphere, you never know.

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He’s back: Peroutka files for AG nomination

Wackypants theocracy buff Michael Peroutka, who served one term on the Anne Arundel County council, has filed to run for the GOP nomination for Maryland Attorney General to succeed two-term Democrat Brian Frosh. Brian Griffiths at The Duckpin is first with the report, which takes note of Peroutka’s involvement with the separatist League of the South and his involvement in R. J. Rushdoony’s Christian Reconstructionism movement.

I’ve written about Peroutka’s crank constitutionalism and bizarre views on “Biblical law” a number of times, including here and here at this site. He’s made noises about running for Maryland AG in the past.

Speaking at an Annapolis rally against COVID measures in 2020, reported by Len Lazarick at Maryland Reporter at the time, “Peroutka maintained that Gov. Larry Hogan had violated the constitution and effectively removed himself as governor.”

Fortunately, Peroutka’s will not be the only name on the GOP primary ballot for Maryland AG. Jim Shalleck of Montgomery County, a former prosecutor and U.S. Department of Justice official, is qualified for the position and well known in Maryland GOP circles.

Shalleck has been running a mainstream conservative campaign; you can read a candidate interview with him here. It’s also possible other candidates will file before the Feb. 22 filing deadline.

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In miniature, July 4

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In miniature, November 19

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In miniature, September 6

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In miniature, July 1

  • Del. Haven Shoemaker (R-Carroll County) rips vetoed civil asset forfeiture bill as one that would have benefited “criminals”; how well does he understand the bill’s contents? [my Overlawyered roundup on forfeiture law]
  • The limits of independence: Frederick County Public Schools could force leadership of classical charter school to accept unwanted staff placements [Frederick News Post]
  • Olney, population 34,000, and its many speed cameras [Dr. Gridlock, Washington Post]
  • “How Martin O’Malley Helped Create the Baltimore Riots: LEAP’s Neill Franklin” [Todd Krainin/Joshua Swain video interview with Neill Franklin, Reason TV]
  • Odd. @AnneArundelGOP seems to think it’s unfair to judge a public figure, county councilmember Michael Peroutka (earlier) by his public statements [The Seventh State, @AnneArundelGOP responds; more on Peroutka’s recent doings here (using title in his institute promotional materials) and here (continued involvement with Constitution Party activities)]
  • “The FBI Didn’t Buy the Baltimore Cops’ Conspiracy Theory” [Jesse Walker, more from Sun’s Colin Campbell on Twitter]

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In miniature, August 9

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In miniature, August 3

  • Peroutka not about “reforming the existing regime” [Warren Throckmorton] As predicted, press has field day with nomination [Van Smith/City Paper, and thanks for quote] More: Mark Newgent at Red Maryland, whose August poll, open until Aug. 6, has many questions on the Anne Arundel nominee;
  • Health secretary Sharfstein departing O’Malley administration to join faculty of Johns Hopkins’ hyper-interventionist School of Public Health, and we may hope he’s just as successful in promoting Bloombergian nanny state initiatives as he was in setting up the state’s ObamaCare exchange;
  • Unlike most states, Maryland has benefited from law providing SWAT transparency, but now legislature is allowing it to sunset [Radley Balko, earlier]
  • Don’t just blame neglect for stagnation in White Oak, other parts of eastern MoCo; county planners imposed a 20-year development moratorium [Dan Reed, Greater Greater Washington]
  • “Small firms give Maryland C- for business friendliness” [Maryland Reporter, Free State Foundation]
  • The experiment begins: Annapolis tells schools to stop suspending students for cursing out or disobeying teachers; most drastic levels of discipline still okay if firearm inadvertently left in locked trunk by teen headed to after-school shooting event [Washington Post]

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Larry Hogan’s strong start

If early signs are any indication, GOP gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan is going to be skillful at neutralizing the Republicans’ disadvantage on social issues in Maryland. Here’s the Baltimore Sun’s new editorial on the Michael Peroutka embarrassment:

Mr. Hogan is probably looking the best of anyone associated with this Anne Arundel oddity. Plenty of Democrats have disavowed Mr. Peroutka, too, but that’s a pretty easy call from that side of the political spectrum. Mr. Hogan, who has tried to keep a laser-like focus on matters of taxes and spending in his campaign, obviously saw no reason to be associated with secessionists.

A pattern is beginning to emerge here, no? Shortly after the primary, Hogan noted that the voters of the state had spoken on same-sex marriage — not a comment you would have heard from many other high-profile Maryland Republicans these days. Not long after, Hogan neatly sidestepped the Democrats’ Hobby Lobby agitation by noting that the ruling “doesn’t really have anything to do with being Maryland governor.” (As one who believes the Supreme Court correctly interpreted existing federal law in Hobby Lobby, I think this response was exactly the right one to give.)

The pattern, if I’m reading it correctly, is that Hogan intends to jettison the baggage of unpopular, irrelevant, or simply wrong MD-GOP positions on distracting social issues, the better to focus a campaign on the kind of Republican appeal that can make inroads even in a relatively liberal, increasingly Northeastern state like Maryland. That appeal emphasizes competence, independence from special interests as embodied in the ruling Democratic machine, and above all the failure of the high-overhead, regulation-intensive, small-business-unfriendly, tax-and-spend economics associated with Martin O’Malley and Anthony Brown.

I believe that’s a message that can resonate not only in areas where Republicans have traditionally done well, but also in parts of the state like Montgomery and Howard counties where it’s been harder for the GOP to get a fair hearing.

More of this, please.

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