In Andalusia, Alabama, Covington County Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan has struggled to find ways to interject his faith into court proceedings. He had the Ten Commandments embroidered on his robe and,
as discussed earlier he asked the parties and staff in his courtroom to join in a prayer circle during a hearing earlier this year. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed ethics charges against him over the incident.
It is curious to see this issue litigated in the ethics process, as opposed to a formal appeal. However, it is judicial misconduct to engage in such prostelitizing from the bench.
McKathan’s bizarre behavior affected about 100 people who saw the judge fall to his knees and pray aloud in February. He allegedly told the 100 people in the courtroom that he was not afraid to call on the name of Jesus Christ and ordered all to join hands and pray.
Many of these judges who appeal to sectarian passions remain popular in their districts. Ethics charges may be the best way to educate citizens of how unprofessional and unethical it is for a judge to engage in such conduct. McKathan is clearly beyond reform himself. He appears wholly unwilling to conduct himself within the well-defined lines of judicial conduct. He would seem better suited to more spiritual and judicial pursuits.