Sauls and the Free Republic

The Florida judge takes a beating in his home state for accepting an award from the conservative online group.

By Anthony York
Published April 23, 2001 5:17PM (EDT)


Drudge Report: "Gas Prices Jump" "So, the CIA Is Involved in the Peru Plane Incident" "Shallow Thinking From Child Labor's Opponents"
Andrew Sullivan: "Abortion and Sexism"
WorldNet Daily: "Gore Pal Sues WND for $165 Million"

Big buzz

The Palm Beach Post has joined the ranks of Florida newspapers ripping Florida Judge Sanders Sauls for accepting an award from the Free Republic.

In a Saturday editorial, the paper writes, "Out on the far-right fringe of the Internet is a Web site called Free It is preoccupied with pummeling Bill Clinton for real and imaged offenses. Something called the South Carolina Chapter/Southeastern Conference, which is not a branch of Free Republic but uses the name to identify its persuasion, has named Judge Sauls its Jurist of the Year. A Free Republic spokesman believes it is the first year for the honor.

The paper took a shot at Katherine Harris, who will receive F.R.'s Public Servant Eagle Award, saying the Florida secretary of state "will hit the rubber-chicken circuit for any group that glorifies her." And "more irritating, but perhaps ultimately revealing, is Judge Sauls' reported plans to accept his award. He pleased the Clinton-obsessed when he denied Al Gore's contest of the Florida vote without so much as a peek at the under-vote ballots presented as evidence. Like Ms. Harris, the judge would claim he simply followed the law. If so, it is as wrong for him to accept this silly award as it would be for another judge to accept one from People for the American Way based on rulings concerning school prayer.

"If Judge Sauls does go, he should book an airline seat next to Ms. Harris, the defendant in the case. The two can keep fooling each other that they saved democracy."

Last week, the St. Petersburg Times ran an editorial about Sauls titled "Judge's Bad Judgment."

The editorial points out that Sauls "says he accepted only on the group's assurance that it isn't partisan." In the next paragraph, the editorial points out that the Free Republic, "which concedes it is too political for its donors to take tax exemptions, organized a 1998 rally calling for President Bill Clinton's impeachment. It created the 'SoreLoserman' T-shirts."

But in a very nonpartisan sort of way, of course.

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Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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