CONSERVATIVES IN SC MANEUVERING FOR REVENGE ON HEWITT
At least one socially conservative political action group in South Carolina is working to defeat Blake Hewitt for the SC Court of Appeals, and it is all because of his role as the lawyer for the Episcopal Church side in the South Carolina Supreme Court hearing of September 23, 2015.
The news was broken by the blog calling itself "Fitsnews, Unfair, Unbalanced" (thanks for the honesty). This is a highly conservative site that focuses on political and social actions in South Carolina. Fitsnews published a memo from the Palmetto Family Alliance (find it here ).
Blake Hewitt had not been one of the lawyers involved in the Church case circuit court action in 2013-15. However, he was chosen for his outstanding skills as an appeal lawyer to lead the presentation to the justices of the SC Supreme Court. By all accounts he did an excellent job. The justices slammed Goodstein's ruling and the independent diocese's main defense of the precedent of the 2009 All Saints SC Supreme Court decision (written by Chief Justice Jean Toal). Hewitt had once been a clerk to Toal. By the end of the hearing, the diocese's case was in shreds on the courtroom floor. Much of the credit for this went to Hewitt.
Now, conservatives are out for revenge. Some have targeted Hewitt's candidacy for the state Court of Appeals. They were especially outraged by Hewitt's remark that he was very proud of his work for the Episcopal Church. He said this to the Merit Selection Commission which was interviewing him on Nov. 16, 2016. Apparently, the Palmetto Family Alliance and its friends are out to destroy Hewitt's chances. The General Assembly (SC state legislature) will elect the new judges on February 1, 2017.
The Palmetto Family Alliance, based on Columbia SC, is a highly conservative political action committee devoted to social action particularly to prevent reforms of equality for women and homosexuals. PFA's website says it is allied with the well-known right wing national PACs Focus on the Family and Family Research Council. These have been in the forefront of the national fight against rights for women and gays.
PFA and its friends have defined the Episcopal Church/Diocese of South Carolina fight as one of religious freedom, for the diocese that is. What they are really concerned about, however, is the Episcopal Church's stand for full rights and inclusion, particularly for homosexuals, but also for women. They have unfairly linked Hewitt with the Episcopal Church.
What PFA and such groups are doing is fighting a campaign against equal rights for all people. They have targeted Blake Hewitt. Although I know of no hard evidence, they may be supporting the candidacy of Diane Goodstein for the SC Supreme Court for the same reasons, that is, to reward her for her sweeping judgment against the Episcopal Church (the one that was shredded by the SC supreme court). "Fitsnews" at least implied such.
Every great revolution in history has a smaller ensuing counter-revolution. This is what we are in now, on both the national and local levels. In South Carolina, what the independent diocese and its supporters are doing is to lash back at the democratic social reforms made from the 1950's to 2015. They know they lost the war. They cannot undo the reforms. What they can do is get spiteful revenge on whatever is handy.
In this case, Blake Hewitt is the innocent victim. PFA does not know, or care about, his personal views, philosophy, or opinions. They simply want revenge for his helping the Episcopal Church which they see as the enemy. If he goes down to defeat on February 1, we will know why.