Not many readers may have heard about Marion County (Ore.) Judge Vance Day and his chapter on America's current religious liberty wars -- but you may soon.
Reading a piece about him in Williamette Week, a venerable alternate newspaper based in Portland, the first thing I noticed was a piece of art showing the judge hiding behind a statue of Jesus.
I thought: A religion story for sure.
Instead, the piece complained about how the judge was using all sorts of out-of-state funds for his legal war chest. For instance:
Day has achieved a lot of firsts. He's the first judge that Oregon's judicial fitness commission has recommended for removal from the bench in more than 35 years. He is the first judge ever to use Oregon's decade-old law allowing embattled public officials to establish legal trust funds. And Day has raised far more with his fund -- at least a half-million dollars -- than other elected officials who have established such funds.
Although Day's ethical and legal troubles have been well-documented over the past two years, the details of how he's used his defense fund to harness a political movement have not previously been reported.
Day has turned his proposed expulsion from the bench into a cash cow -- using his fund to hire big-name lawyers, rake in money from an enigmatic conservative foundation, and cozy up to permanently outraged right-wing culture warriors.
Hmmm. Reading further, I learned that it’s legal to have such a trust fund. Meanwhile, one thing Day has refused to do is same-sex marriages. In blue-state Oregon, that’s blasphemy.