Jeremiah Wright-wannabe likened Trump to Hitler.

A radical Arkansas judge in the mold of Jeremiah Wright struck down four new common-sense election integrity laws approved by the Republican-controlled state legislature, declaring the statutes unconstitutional last month. The state is appealing the ruling.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen is, like Wright, also a critical race theory-friendly, black nationalist, African dashiki-wearing preacher. He is also a diversity consultant, profiting from race-mongering and dividing people. He founded his firm Griffen Strategic Consulting PLLC, in Little Rock in 2008.

Griffen is controversial in his home state, known for his strident left-wing activism. He delights in sticking his thumb in the eyes of Republican state lawmakers — they have tried to impeach and remove him as a judge.

Griffen was barred from hearing cases on a death penalty track after he went to a protest outside the governor’s mansion in 2017 strapped down to a gurney, as if he were a condemned man about to be executed by lethal injection. The protest took place the same day as Griffen issued an order blocking the state’s execution schedule.

Griffen bitterly denounced then-President-elect Donald Trump days after his election in November 2016, spewing paranoid leftist conspiracy theories and racist, white-hating nonsense.

“White nationalism and white male supremacy never left this country,” Griffen said, according to Arkansas Money and Politics. It is a “fallacy … that somehow the nation had moved on beyond the hatefulness, the fearfulness, the misogyny.”

At his personal blog, “Justice is a verb!” Griffen lamented the election of Trump, which he wrote “means the end of the brief dawn of progress in civil liberty witnessed during the Obama presidency the same way the election of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 marked the end of Reconstruction.”

“Remember what happened when Rutherford Hayes was elected President by the House of Representatives in 1876,” Griffen wrote November 9, 2016.

“Reconstruction ended. Hayes promised to withdraw federal troops from the South despite knowing those troops protected former slaves from violence and reprisals from white southerners. After the federal troops were withdrawn from the former Confederate states, the Ku Klux Klan was born. Jim Crow segregation began twenty years later (1896) when the Supreme Court decided that racial segregation on a Louisiana railroad car was acceptable in the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling that ushered in the term ‘separate but equal.’” 

He added that Trump was the new Hitler, or something.

“We should not only remember what happened in the United States after the election of 1876 if we want to know what could happen in coming years during the presidency of Mr. Trump. Patriots and prophets should recall what happened in Germany, later in Europe, and ultimately to the world after Adolf Hitler seized power in Germany in 1933 on the promise that he would make Germany great again.”

Returning to the court case, in League of Women Voters of Arkansas v. Thurston, court file 60CV-21-3138, Griffen permanently enjoined the election laws –Acts 249, 728, 736, and 973— on March 18 after a four-day trial. The league, Arkansas United, and five voters, had claimed the statutes disproportionately harmed voters of color.

Act 249 regulated the counting of provisional ballots. Act 728, enacted after complaints about groups providing food and water to voters, prohibited individuals from standing within 100 feet of a polling station.

Act 736, aimed at ballot-harvesting, declared the possession by an individual of more than four absentee ballots “creates a rebuttable presumption of intent to defraud.” Act 973 cut the timeframe for voters to request absentee ballots.

After the laws were passed in 2021, the ACLU predictably denounced them.

“What we’re seeing in Arkansas is the most dangerous assault on the right to vote since the Jim Crow era,” hyperbolized Holly Dickson, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas.

“Legislators are moving at breakneck speed to erect new barriers to the ballot that will disproportionately impact voters of color, as well as elderly and low-income Arkansans. These bills don’t just make it harder to vote, they also make it easier for partisan politicians to interfere with local election administrators – something that could have disastrous consequences for democracy. These bills will make it harder for all voters – of all political stripes – to make their voices heard.”

In court, Griffen reportedly said from the bench that the defendants, among them Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston, a Republican, had not shown there was a need for the laws and that the state’s worries about election integrity were “based entirely on conjecture and speculation,” which “cannot be permitted to supply the place of proof.”

Griffen issued a formal, 86-page order (pdf) on March 24, that at times reads like a platitude-laden, over-the-top essay by a high school student trying a bit too hard to impress a communist history teacher. The injunction (pdf) issued by Griffen indicates that election integrity law-killer Marc Elias’s D.C. law firm, Elias Law Group, represented Arkansas United in the lawsuit.

The election laws Griffen struck down were a step down the road to fascist dictatorship, the judge suggested near the end of the order as he inexplicably pulled an irrelevant Martin Luther King Jr. quotation out of thin air:

“We do not need to look far to detect the dangers of softmindedness. Dictators, capitalizing on softmindedness, have led men to acts of barbarity and terror that are unthinkable in civilized society. Adolf Hitler realized that softmindedness was so prevalent among his followers that he said, ‘I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.’ In Mein Kampf he asserted: ‘By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell – and hell, heaven…The greater the lie, the more readily will it be believed.’”

“King did not need to be a lawyer, judge, legislator, or governor,” Griffen wrote, “to recognize that softminded embrace of what he termed ‘legions of half-truths, prejudices, and false facts’ is a recipe for fascism.”

You get the picture.

This kind of lunacy, had it come from a university professor, would not be surprising nowadays, but coming from a judge sworn to uphold the Constitution and mete out justice impartially, it is disturbing.

Hallucinating fascism is a dangerous habit for someone who has power.

Mercifully, this lawless, belligerent leftist judge announced his retirement February 1, effective when his term of office expires at year’s end. “I look forward in retirement to devoting more time and energy [to] writing, lecturing, and discoursing about social justice and public theology,” the judge said.

But how many more Wendell Griffens are out there waging war against America from the bench?

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