…he’s running to open the door for criminals to attain public office.
That’s clear from watching the proceedings in courts in New Orleans and Baton Rouge over the last week. Shepard doesn’t appear to be doing any actual campaigning; he’s spending his time in court trying to get on the ballot.
In case you’re not familiar with Shepherd, he’s a former state senator who was sent up the river in 2010 for money laundering, spending 37 months in federal prison. He sold $140,000 of fake bonds and pocketed the cash, apparently some of which he used to pay off campaign debt.
Interestingly enough, the incumbent in the District 87 seat Shepherd is trying to run for, Ebony Woodruff, succeeded another jailbird legislator. Girod Jackson was sent up the river in 2014 for tax fraud.
Nobody is actually going to vote for Shepherd. Woodruff will win that race easily. That’s not what he’s trying to do.
What Shepherd is trying to do is kill the 1997 constitutional amendment which imposes a 15-year ban on convicted felons holding elective office in Louisiana. If he can win in court to lift that ban, he’ll have won.
And so will the Democrat Party, which is tired of having some of its more talented politicians taken off the table – in the New Orleans area in particular.
Shepherd might actually win. He won in district court in Baton Rouge yesterday, as the reliable Democrat stooge Wilson Fields agreed with Shepherd’s lawyers that the 1997 amendment instituting the 15 year ban on felons running for office is unconstitutional. Apparently, a clerical error between language passed by the House and that passed by the Senate resulted in some language the House had passed as part of the amendment not being part of what was put on the ballot and passed by the voters.
That language? It says a person who has been convicted of a felony but receives probation instead of prison time can qualify to run for elective office after successfully completing that probation. Which wouldn’t have affected Shepherd, because he did serve prison time. So it’s not material to his case.
Shepherd’s position is that since there was a discrepancy between what passed the House and what passed at the ballot box the whole amendment needs to go. One would imagine that will be a tough lift at the state Supreme Court, since to do so would be to openly flout the will of the people who voted to ban felons like Shepherd from running for office until 15 years after they get out of jail. The equal protection argument he’s making is a bit difficult to understand since had the House language made it into the bill it wouldn’t have affected him.
But if the Supreme Court agrees, the door will be open for felons to run for office as soon as they get out of jail, or even while on probation. And that will make a lot more people available for the Democrats to run.
And should the Republican majority in the legislature next year attempt to reinstate the 15-year ban, the Democrats will fight it on the basis that it’s a racist move and an attempt to disenfranchise people who are already the victims of an unjust justice system.
It’s not hard to see what’s coming here.
One would have hoped the shame of how his last stint as a public official would dissuade Shepherd from making waves, but shame is in short supply among politicians and Democrats. You can’t stop a leftist who wants something with anything short of a stake through his heart.