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SCJC contests Keller’s appeal

When last we met, Sharon Keller had appealed the curious “warning” she received from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Commission had acted “lawlessly” by issuing that particular sanction. The Commission has now fired back, saying essentially that it’s Keller who has violated protocol:

[I]nstead of appealing the commission’s decision through the usual route — requesting a new trial in front of a special tribunal appointed by the Supreme Court to reconsider its findings — Keller asked the high court to step in and evaluate the constitutionality of the sanction against her in an advisory opinion. She did that through a separate legal vehicle, called a writ of mandamus, which could allow the court to unilaterally reverse the commission’s decision. For Keller, there are two possible advantages in this approach: One, it saves her the time of going through the regular appeals process, and two, it puts her case in front of an all-Republican court that she might view as friendly.

The commission filed its response to Keller’s charges [Friday] morning. It says that even if it did act outside of the constitution — the commission maintains it did not — that Keller erred in asking the Supreme Court to intervene. That’s because Keller can only ask for a mandamus from the high court if she has already exhausted all other remedies under law. According to the commission, that hasn’t happened, because she hasn’t yet asked for a new trial from the specially appointed court to review her case. Keller has until the 30th day after the commission issued its decision — July 16, for those of you keeping track — to challenge it the old-fashioned way.

The SCJC’s response documents are here and here (both PDFs). I don’t think I can pinpoint exactly when this saga transitioned from melodrama to farce, but there’s no question we’re there now. Just sit back and enjoy the show, y’all.

UPDATE: Grits is taking my advice.

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