Crushed by the Leftist Juggernaut: One Lawyer’s Story
I went from almost a judge to being fired within the space of forty-eight hours. Why? Because it came out that I was a conservative.
I had read stories about conservatives being blacklisted, fired, having their careers and reputations destroyed because of their political views. Never once did I dream it could happen to me, an insignificant lawyer in an insignificant part of the country. But just this past week the nightmare happened, and I learned firsthand the consequences of running against the leftist hive that dominates our world.
I live in Lake County, Indiana -- the Chicago suburbs at the very northwestern tip of the state. It epitomizes the Rust Belt, with the great steel cities of Gary and East Chicago, the oil refinery city of Whiting, and the surrounding blue-collar suburbs. I grew up here and I practice law here. It has been a stronghold of the Democrats since the New Deal, and its political corruption is notorious. It was one of the last great political machines until the Bush Justice Department broke it up in the early 2000s. Even so, its vestiges still remain.
I had built a career over ten years as a civil litigator and had developed a reputation as one of the top local appellate litigators. When a vacancy in one of the Superior Courts occurred, several colleagues whom I admired and respected encouraged me to apply.
While most counties elect their judges, Lake County does not. It once did, but its judges were so notoriously corrupt and incompetent that the legislature abolished elections and put the county on merit selection. (Except for one judgeship, which the state constitution required to remain elected, but this is a technicality that would take too long to describe.) Under this system, when a vacancy occurs, a local commission of both attorneys and non-attorneys takes applications, conducts interviews, and submits a list of three names to the governor, who then appoints the judge. The judge is then up for a yes-or-no retention vote for six-year terms after that.
The system vastly improved the quality of the judiciary in the county. And it was no small secret that it was the legislature’s way of getting Republican judges in a county that would otherwise never elect them.
As a Republican precinct committeeman with a Republican governor, my chances were good. Or so I thought. You see, I had a deep, dark secret: I was open about my conservative views. In college fifteen years ago I expressed them in a column for the campus newspaper. And until my son was born three years ago I expressed them on social media. I toned things down as I settled down, but my views became more conservative the more I experienced.
Then it happened. Someone had printed and saved my social media posts from three years ago and more. There were nine of them, most of them links to publications like the National Review, Breitbart, and the Blaze: two were pro-life, one criticized illegal immigration, others made fun of radical feminism and warned about radical Islam, and several were critical of overreach by federal judges. They were strident, but fairly innocuous for social media. By no stretch of the imagination were they racist, sexist, or bigoted.
Whoever printed these mailed them anonymously to three of the nine members of the Judicial Nominating Commission, but the commission would not consider anonymous materials, and my name was among the three submitted to the governor.
Identical anonymous mailings went to a local Democratic attorney and the governor’s staff, but still no controversy materialized. Finally, several mailings went out – to the Urban League of Gary, the Indiana Chapter of the NAACP, Mayor Freeman-Wilson of Gary, the local Hispanic Bar Association, and the local black Bar Association. The Urban League complained to the local paper, which took up the story. As a judicial candidate, I was limited as to what I could say, and I tried to play things safe. Let the process work out. How naïve I was.
Of course the story ran, and of course it ran with glaring inaccuracies and outright misrepresentations. The damage was done. I was branded a racist. The local Republican party, to its great credit, stood by me and conveyed its support to the governor. But the governor caved and appointed a Democrat – a Democrat whose boss, the mayor of Hammond, had just called him a felon on the air.
But even that was not the end. Two days later, the partners at my firm called me into a meeting. Some corporate clients, they said, complained about my political views and stated that they could no longer do business with the firm if I remained there. It was them or me, and the firm chose them. My bosses were gracious about it. They complimented my work and allowed me time to stay on and find new employment, but I was still fired.
I have some prospects, I have the support and commiseration of my friends and colleagues, and in many ways the end of my career marks a new beginning. I have grown tired of private practice, its constant battle, its grueling hours, and its thankless clients. If anything, losing my job has freed me from this drudgery. Better opportunities await, but they all require me to abandon my home. After this experience, I gladly do so.
This whole ordeal has taught me three lessons. The first I already knew but had not yet experienced. While Democrats always circle the wagons around their own, Republicans will fall over themselves to throw their own under the bus. I had seen it in national politics, and learned the hard way that it holds true on the local level as well.
I also learned that to the Left, its enemies are not human. The anonymity and persistence of the mailings put myself and my family in grave fear for our safety. I cannot describe the sleepless nights, the caution exercised every time we stepped out of the house. I made police reports, but without an actual threat, all they could do was document the mailings. None of that mattered. All that mattered was power politics and stopping me at all costs -- simply for my personal views.
If this anonymous mailer wanted to assert that I wrote what was in those mailings and that they should disqualify me from office, what shame was there in doing so openly and publicly? They certainly had nothing to fear from me, my family, or my friends. Keeping the process secret stifled open, civil discourse and left the process beholden to rumor and innuendo.
But what is even sadder is that this tactic worked. It set a dangerous precedent for future nominees to the bench. This has shaken my faith in the judicial nomination process, the legal profession itself, and humanity in general.
Nor was I human to the business world. Never mind the firm’s long and productive relationship with its corporate clients. Those clients were willing to kill that relationship over one employee’s nonconforming political views. And while my bosses were clearly sympathetic, the value of the clients’ business mattered more than the personal relationship I had developed with them.
But perhaps most importantly, it taught me never to hide or be ashamed of my views. I knew the local bar would despise my opinions, so I tried to play it safe. The mailings were anonymous, so I had plausible deniability. I pled ignorance, hoping the storm would blow over, but everything ended up no different than if I had come out and stated openly that I was a conservative and that my views aligned with the President of the United States and those who elected him.
Finally, it must be said that all of this did anything but moderate my views. Indeed, it has only confirmed my opinions. The Left is a mindless, heartless, bloodthirsty mob marching in lockstep, out to destroy anyone who doubts its uncompromising and ever-changing orthodoxy. It must be stopped at all costs. The Republican Party is an ineffective means of combatting that juggernaut because its leadership lacks a spine when it counts most. And finally, if being successful requires me to be a leftist, I choose failure every single time.
Adam J. Sedia, aside from practicing law, is a prize-winning poet and composes music as a hobby. He lives with his wife and children.