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Doug Wardlow -GOP 38B - Let's Talk Ethics

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 09/28/10 02:13

by Dave Mindeman

We get a lot of lofty words from conservatives. First principles. Restoring liberty. Moral values.

Well, how about ethics?

Doug Wardlow is the GOP District 38B candidate for the State House. He has an impressive resume. Here is part of his LinkedIn profile:

Law Clerk
Minnesota Supreme Court

(Judiciary Industry)
August 2004-July 2005 (1 year)
Law clerk to the Hon. Justice G. Barry Anderson

It's only part of an impressive history. Graduated Cum Laude from Georgetown Univ Law Center. CALI award for best examination in Constitutional Law and Jursprudence. Currently works for Parker Rosen.

But let's get back to ethics....and a blog called The Rostra. (The Rostra blog can still be accessed but some posts are missing as well as the Bush/Cheney '04 ad at the end).

The Rostra blog was dedicated to conservative commentary and political philosophy. Its main blogger used the pseudonym of Marius, who's background is stated in the About Me section:

Marius holds a degree in government and political theory from Georgetown University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. He resides in Minnesota.

I have copies of blog posts from The Rostra which have dates of February 14, 2005 to March 3rd, 2005. Some of these posts are philosophical but some are very political.

As you can see, those dates coincide with the time that Doug Wardlow was a judicial law clerk with the Minnesota Supreme Court, and I have people who tell me that Marius IS Doug Wardlow.

There is a particular post (deleted from the online blog) which is particularly politically opinionated:

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


(excerpts from this post).....

..I believe Condoleeza Rice is the only chance the Republican party has to beat Mrs. Clinton in 2008. Rice will be able to counter Hillary's appeal to female voters, and can also make inroads into the black vote.....

Another candidate who could stand a chance against Clinton is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. An outstanding orator and saavy politician, Pawlenty is young and likeable. But most importantly, he is a popular values-centric conservative in a traditionally left-leaning state....

A Rice-Pawlenty ticket, combining strength among women, African-Americans, conservatives, evangelicals, and perhaps winning over key states such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, would be very difficult for Hillary to defeat.

And another purely partisan political post:

F R I D A Y , F E B R U A R Y 1 1 , 2 0 0 5


They're talking about the ridiculous political suicide of Mark Dayton all over the country, even in Louisiana's Bayou.
Although due to Dayton's horribleness as a candidate, his move to not seek reelection would at first seem like a blow to Republicans counting on an easy victory, this may not be the case. Now that Al Franken has bowed out, and Alan Page looks very unlikely to run, the only real candidates remaining are State Attorney General Mike Hatch, Hennepin County (Minneapolis) Attorney Amy Klobuchar, and plaintiff's attorney Mike Ciresi. Three lawyers, none of them well
known or well liked, and none of them particularly impressive politicians. While Mike Ciresi may be the most polished and well-funded of the bunch, he would fare poorly among outstate Minnesotans. So, it looks like the election may not be that difficult for Republicans after all, and Democrats' hopes to retake the Senate were not boosted one bit by Dayton's withdrawal.

I find one post from March 1, 2005 -- not even deleted from the blog now -- a little unusual to say the least. It refers to a Supreme Court decision which declared that executing individuals for murders committed while they were under the age of 18 constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment.

The author's comments:

Once again 5 liberal justices -- and the liberals cheering this decision -- have succeeded in supplanting the will of the people with their own, supposedly more enlightned ideas. Once again they put their own policy agenda above the higher law of our land and the principles of democratic rule. If we have much more of this, drastic change, perhaps via impeachment, or systemic change, via constitutional amendment, may be necessary given the malfunctioning of a judiciary meant to judge but bent instead on exercising its will.

This comes from a serving Minnesota Supreme Court judicial employee. Judicial employees are to refrain from partisan political activity....should not make speeches for or publicly endorse or oppose a partisan political organization or candidate.

These blog posts were written during Wardlow's time as a law clerk. It has been suggested that he has even written these posts from work.

He clearly makes partisan statements and comments on judicial activity....even discusses impeachment of US Supreme court justices.

There is an ethics problem here. Ethics is also a lofty word not to be taken lightly.

Maybe Doug Wardlow has an explanation for all of this....if so, I'd like to hear it.
comments (4) permalink
09/28/10 15:37
I think this goes further than ethics and apparently this violation is clear. I thought Supreme Court clerks were explicitly forbidden from any partisan political activity and that the remedy is removal from the position. Is this kind of activity why Wardlow can't seem to keep a job long?

09/28/10 13:52
Having political thoughts is different from broadcasting them. Broadcasting these specific opinions on matters of law and politics while at the same time directly working on cases that are to be decided impartially, undermines the court's impartiality. To say that simply hiding one's identity (at the time, and not really anyway) totally excuses the behavior seems quite sociopathic to me.

that blog did contain "send feedback to dwardlow@mac.com" and the banner was hosted at lynnwardlow dot com slash rostrabanner dot jpg. Everything on the site is available from the Internet archive. Whoops. There goes that anonymity, to anyone who can type in archive dot org.
09/28/10 10:29
If more of this can get verified, there is a good chance we will see that Wardlow used state time and resources to maintain his blog and there is a potential connection between this and his father's (Lynn Wardlow) campaign. Doug Wardlow did not "officially" manage his father's campaign during this period, but there are indications that he was involved anyway.
09/28/10 10:22
I am as liberal as they come, but if Doug didn't publicly identify himself I don't see the problem. Just becuase you are a judicial clerk doesn't mean you can't have political thoughts. As long as he is not identifying himself, what's the problem?

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