Don’t confuse Judge Gray with Judge Judy.
Soon, the retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James P. Gray might be, like Judge Judy, the star of his own television show: Weed Court.
Gray, the vice presidential candidate on Gov. Gary Johnson’s 2012 Libertarian Party presidential ticket, has already taped a pilot episode, by Judge Judy’s producer, for a reality-television show on marijuana-related legal disputes.
Gray, who speaks and write extensively about the burdens that drug criminalization imposes upon our legal system, says that he’s living out his golden years devoted to the causes that give him greatest satisfaction: Liberty and community.
Having served as trial court judge in Southern California for 25 years, Gray’s “retirement” in 2009 has, if anything, accelerated his pace of activity. He felt honored to have been asked to serve as Johnson’s running mate, he said, during Johnson’s first bid for the presidency in 2012.
“People felt a need for change,” Gray said in an interview. “I was their spokesperson; I took it seriously, and I think I did pretty well.”
The Johnson/Gray ticket garnered 1,275,971 votes in 2012, or 0.99 percent of the electorate. That is second only to party’s result from the 2016 contest last year, where Johnson and Gov. William Weld took 4,488,919 votes, or 3.28 percent.
On a percentage basis, the Johnson-Gray result was third highest for the Libertarian Party: In 1980, Ed Clark and David Koch received 921,128 votes, or 1.07 percent.
Gray also finds opportunities to spread classical liberal views in other ways. He’s a featured writer for The Jack News. And he’s written the dialogue for a new musical, “Convention,” about the 1787 constitutional convention.
The musical has already been recorded. Now Gray and his collaborators are trying to get it previewed in – you guessed it – Philadelphia.
Not that it’s his first dramatic work. Gray is also the author of “Americans All,” a musical for high school kids that celebrates the virtues of civic responsibility. It runs regularly in schools and community theaters.
Gray also volunteers with Santa Ana mentoring programs for kids, and a counseling services for new immigrants. He helps new arrivals navigate their way through America’s byzantine court system.
In all of this, the libertarian Gray stands out for his emphasis not only of liberty, but of responsibility.
“In this country, we need to stop calling each other names, and start focusing on alternatives,” he said. “The sooner we do that, the better off we will be.”
(Photo of Jim Gray speaking at a rally at Hillsdale College in April 2013 by John Cruz used with permission.)