Gary Marx, president of Atlanta’s Madison Strategies, was born in Moscow, Pennsylvania and today is the senior advisor to America’s Judicial Crisis Network. My hope is here, for Candidates.vote, I can catch the tenor of this jovial, cordial, funny, and very committed personality.
Born in Moscow with the surname “Marx”, he’s a cheeseburger-loving, pickle-hating, self-described nerd about America’s judicial system–and a conservative Republican who, in a voice sounding a bit jokingly, explains he’s doing “penance” for great-grandfather Karl’s mistakes. Easily one of the most enjoyable visits I’ve had in three decades of visiting with everyone from presidents, members of Congress, governors, and the local dog catcher.
Clark H. Caras of Candidates.vote –Are you a hamburger or cheeseburger kind of person?
Marx –Oh, cheeseburger. Although, there was a time in my life when I was living ultra-healthy for maybe two years – I went without cheese. These days I’m in “Paradise with cheese”.
Candidates.vote –Can you repeat what you said at the end there?
Marx –I’m in paradise with cheese. It was my nerdy attempt at a Jimmy Buffet song.
Cadidates.vote –Are you pickles or no pickles?
Marx –(Very definite in his answer.) No pickles!
Candidates.vote –To be a Southerner don’t you have to have pickles on your chicken sandwich?
Marx –The no pickles causes a problem with my favorite at Chick-fil-A because they are all about pickles. It can be quite the controversy; but no pickles.
I’m an adopted Southerner, so I guess that’s where the “no pickle” thing comes from. I was born in Pennsylvania above the Mason-Dixon Line. I’ve spent 20 years here now in the South, eight years in the Atlanta area (the capital of the “New South”) and the rest in Virginia.
Candidates.vote –So with Madison Strategies you are with the Judicial Crisis Network. What exactly does that mean?
Marx –I live by the Senate Calendar in D.C. when “battles” are scheduled on the judicial front.
Marx –We are in a historic time with 87 judges confirmed in two-years – two in the Supreme Court! It’s more than in a lifetime. We are living thru the reformation of the American judiciary; a pivot point in history.
You look at all of the energy the Obama administration spent trying to defeat the replacement of Justice Antonin Scalia. With the replacing of Scalia with Justice Gorsuch; it was like the other side had scored a touchdown that had to be taken off the scoreboard. No, when she lost is was more like a fumble for the other side.
(Laughing a bit to himself this was the first point Marx apologized for being a bit “nerdy” about his description of things he does.)
Candidates.vote –Eighty-seven. That’s quite the number. There are some who might call that a “victory” and call it quits?
Marx –Not at all. We have 168 vacancies to go and a lot of work in reforming the amount of time a confirmation takes in the Senate. Especially, with Senator Schumer trying to push things to take longer there.
Candidates.vote –You speak of the reformation of the American judiciary. With the 87 vacancies filled in the past two years are we beginning to feel any of that reformation?
Marx –Jurisprudence is like a glacier melting. So, no. America is not feeling it yet. But the Democrats and the Left would have you believe the sky is falling. Besides the Supreme Court we have circuit courts, district courts and other types of Constitutionalist types of courts.
It’s been a privilege for me. I’ve been here for the fight. The Supreme Court is eight deep right now and maybe nine in the next couple of years. (With no apology at all for being a “Constitutionalist”; Marx went on to say…) I do so much “nerding” about the Constitution, I’m not exactly Number One on some peoples list for lunch.
Candidates.vote –How long exactly is it then you have been doing this?
Marx –I’ve been doing this for 15-years. It takes years though for cases to make progress. The Roe vs. Wade’s are few-and-far-between. It’s a generational project we are involved in. I am very proud to defend this Constitution as our Founders wanted it so we can bring freedom to the world.
Candidates.vote –As a nerd then about the Constitution and such; I’m going to be interested in your answer to a question I’ve put to every interviewee lately. Many people right now are thinking and saying “politics” is a dirty word. What would you say to any who might be in that category?
Marx –There’s a famous saying about our “system”; not being best, but is better than all the others in the world. (With real conviction in his voice – watch out Senator Schumer…) My faith tells me we have family, church and government. And God says government cannot be at war with the family.
That faith tells me government is necessary and there are enough people of good-will out there to make “politics” work.
Candidates.vote –You talk about “generational” and having already been doing this for 15 years. In that when do you see all the vacancies being filled?
Marx –Well, I’m 43 years now. And if 30 years is a whole generation then I guess 58 when it’s done. My hope would be a good Constitutionalist like Senator Mike Lee will be called “Justice Lee”.
Candidates.vote –How will we see it completed if ever?
Marx –Things need to speed up with confirmation. There are Senate Cloture rules needing reform right now. The Senate needs to be able to talk about some other things like foreign policy. And how? Don’t bow to the obstructionists.
Candidates.vote –Before we end here I do have to ask you about the name. As a Republican you have to have taken some ribbing over the years about the name?
(With a mix of pride and hilarity…) Marx —As a conservative I tell them I’m doing penance for the mistakes of a great-grandfather and developing a new form of Marxism. Funny thing is I was born in Moscow. Moscow, Pennsylvania just on the outskirts of Scranton.
In 1996 I did go to Russia as an international election observer. It was the first free election in history for them and when the Russian officials would see my name in Cyrillic spelling I got the best treatment. That was my early political experience and I’ve been back to Russia several times.
You can reach Marx at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (202) 888-1764.