Ed Martin’s career has been one of relentless controversy. He resigned as Missouri Governor Matt Blunt’s chief of staff after an email scandal, which resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement paid by the state of Missouri. He ran unsuccessfully for US Congress and Missouri Attorney General. He was elected chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, where he inherited a bank account of nearly $400,000 and proceeded to leave his position less than two years later with a debt of roughly $150,000. At the Eagle Forum, Martin was named president in 2015 and proceeded to drive a wedge in the organization, causing his ouster by the board of directors with ongoing legal and public controversies which have followed.
Now, Martin has applied for a position on the Missouri Supreme Court, an idea St Louis Post-Dispatch metro columnist Tony Messenger finds laughable. Messenger dedicated his February 11th column to Martin’s history of controversial behavior and his latest attempt at a career move, noting that “Martin should hardly be worth a footnote in a list of judicial applicants with serious heft.”
Read excerpts below:
Messenger: In 2007, Ed Martin went ‘to war’ against a judge. Now she holds his fate in her hands.
St Louis Post Dispatch
February 11, 2017
It was late July 2007, and Ed Martin was ready to “go to war.” His target? Missouri Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Breckenridge. Martin, a St. Louis lawyer, was the chief of staff for Gov. Matt Blunt, and the Republican was preparing to choose his first appointment to the Missouri Supreme Court. Breckenridge was the leading candidate — and only Republican — on the three-person panel sent to the governor by the appellate judicial commission. In emails that would later become part of a protracted legal battle that cost Martin his job and embarrassed his boss, Martin called Breckenridge a “dud,” a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only) and “out of the mainstream.”
Ignoring the pleas of his rogue chief of staff, Blunt appointed Breckenridge to the state’s top court. Martin moved on. He would lose a race for attorney general and Congress, drive the Missouri Republican Party near bankruptcy, and split in two Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, where he is currently embroiled in yet another acrimonious legal battle.
Now, Martin is dancing with the Missouri Supreme Court again. Last week, his name was among 31 applicants for the opening on the court created by the death of Judge Richard Teitelman. Soon, a new appellate judicial commission will narrow that pack to three finalists from which Gov. Eric Greitens will choose the next member of the state’s high court. The chairwoman of that commission? None other than Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge. Karma comes clothed in the long, black robe of justice.
Fact is, Martin should hardly be worth a footnote in a list of judicial applicants with serious heft. There’s St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, a former state senator whose intellect and political savvy would serve the court well. There are two experienced appeals court judges in Lisa White Hardwick and Gary Lynch; respected trial attorneys such as Stephen O’Brien and Paul Venker; and outstate judges such as former Sen. Jack Goodman and Judge Doug Gaston.
Martin isn’t even the top candidate among former Blunt staff members. That nod would go to state Rep. Jay Barnes, a Republican from Jefferson City who distinguished himself in defending the Medicaid 23 protesters last year.