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bombsquadron6
03-27-2010, 03:30 PM
Having written about federal judges on this thread for nearly two years, I now just wait for the federal courts to issue decisions that are detrimental to the American public. I seldom have to wait very long.

The American public, and by this I mean law abiding citizens, are increasingly concerned about illegal immigration and its adverse impact on society. As a blue collar worker, I don’t know anyone who thinks that allowing unlimited numbers of illegals to enter and stay in the U.S. is good. Just the opposite. They want the federal government to enforce immigration laws. We all know that this is not being done, or only to the degree that the feds can claim that they are doing something. But increasingly, states and communities are taking steps to discourage illegals from living and working in their jurisdictions. (The Oklahoma case, described previously, is a good example.) The city of Farmers Branch, near Dallas, Texas is one of these. In 2007 the voters overwhelming passed an ordinance banning illegal aliens from renting in the city. (A similar ordinance was passed by the Farmers Branch city council in 2006.) Since then, the city has spent nearly $3.2 million defending the ordinance in federal district court, a stunning amount for a city of 30,000 residents. But, of course, the city lost. Federal Judge Jane Boyle ruled that the ordinance was an attempt to enforce U.S. immigration laws – something the judge said only the federal government can do. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/032510dnmetfbord.1dce73fb1.html

The stated intent of the Ordinance is “to enact regulations that are harmonious with federal immigration law and which aid in its enforcement;” the Ordinance defers to federal immigration law and declares that it is “not the intent of the City of Farmers Branch to alter, supplant, disrupt, or interfere with federal immigration law.” http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/img/03-10/0324fbboyleorder.pdf

In Judge Boyle’s convoluted analysis, the court found that the Farmers Branch ordinance was preempted by federal law because it somehow interfered with the federal government’s regulation of immigration. The ordinance was aimed at illegal aliens and it defies logic to state that such an ordinance is preempted due to the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. The federal government’s ability to allow people to immigrate into this country is in no way impeded or obstructed by this ordinance. States should be allowed to legislate non-conflicting prohibitions under the 10th Amendment. Somehow, our federal judiciary finds no problem with cities such as San Francisco that pass ordinances creating sanctuary cities for illegal aliens but find an ordinance that discourages illegal immigration unconstitutional. Clearly, the judiciary has been packed with judges that ignore the law and the will of the people to control immigration and will actively prevent any local government from creating an effective deterrent to illegal immigration.

The city council of Farmers Branch is discussing whether to appeal the district court decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mayor Tim O'Hare, the driving force behind the ordinance, said he wants to appeal. I hope they do but am not optimistic that they will find a panel of federal judges who will protect the interests of the American people.

In the meantime, the Obama administration’s newly proposed 2011 budget would reduce the number of Border Patrol agents along the Southwest border by 180 and cut the funding for the “virtual fence.” House Judiciary Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is justifiably angry and stated that: The President’s budget proves once again that the Obama administration is not serious about enforcing our nation’s immigration laws....... http://www.infowars.com/obama-proposes-to-cut-180-border-patrol-agents/

This comes at a time when violence from Mexican drug gangs is spilling over the border into this country. http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_14758254?source=most_viewed (http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_14758254?source=most_viewed)

Federal judges are the foot soldiers in the war to force globalization on America. Don’t expect them to protect your rights as an American citizen.

bombsquadron6
03-28-2010, 05:10 PM
A bill empowering police to arrest illegal immigrants and charge them with trespassing for simply being in the state of Arizona, is likely just weeks away from becoming the toughest law of its kind anywhere in the country.

The country's toughest sheriff takes rehabilitation to new levels. Already passed by the state's Senate and currently being reconciled with a similar version in the House, the bill would essentially criminalize the presence of the 460,000 illegal immigrants living in the state.

The measure allows police to detain people on the suspicion that they are illegal immigrants, outlaws citizens from employing day laborers, and makes it illegal for anyone to transport an illegal immigrant, even a family member, anywhere in the state.

The bill's supporters say a local crackdown has become a necessity because the federal government has failed to adequately seal the borders or actively enforce its laws. They blame Arizona's spiraling crime and unemployment rates on its large population of illegal immigrants.

To read the entire article:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/arizona-state-law-promises-toughest-illegal-immigration/story?id=10212698&page=1

The fact that Arizona found it necessary to pass this law is another indication that the American public is fed up with the lack of immigration enforcement by the feds. I suspect that the public is also becoming fed up with a federal judiciary that continues to defy the law and the will of the people by striking down these statutes.

This new Arizona law will undoubtedly be challenged in federal court very soon. It will possibly meet the same fate as the Oklahoma law and the Farmers Branch ordinance discussed previously. Through a subscription service called PACER (public access to court electronic records) I can track cases in the federal courts and I will definitely be watching to see what happens here. Stay tuned!

bombsquadron6
04-04-2010, 03:12 AM
I have been writing about recent decisions by federal courts that I consider to be contrary to the best interests of the American public. There have been so many of them recently that I am having a hard time keeping up. There are only twenty-four hours in the day. But the decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Westboro Baptist Church case is so bad that I, along with almost all of America it seems, am stunned.


SNYDER v. PHELPS

The members of the Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kansas, believe that U.S. military deaths are God's punishment for tolerance of homosexuality. They are notorious for traveling around the country protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in war. They are, of course, hated by most of America.

Fred W. Phelps, Sr., founded Westboro Baptist Church in 1955. For fifty-two years, he has been the only pastor of the church, which has approximately sixty or seventy members, fifty of whom are his children, grandchildren, or in-laws. Among these family members are Defendants Shirley L. Phelps-Roper and Rebekah A. Phelps-Davis. There are approximately ten to twenty members of the church who are not related to Phelps by blood or marriage. The members of this church practice a "fire and brimstone" fundamentalist religious faith. Among their religious beliefs is that God hates homosexuality and hates and punishes America for its tolerance of homosexuality, particularly in the United States’ military. Members of the church have increasingly picketed funerals to assert these beliefs. They have also established a website identified as www.godhatesfags.com in order to publicize their religious viewpoint. Members of the Phelps family prepare signs at an on-site sign shop at their Kansas church to take with them in their travels. They also utilize an on-site production facility to produce videos displayed on the church’s website.

On March 10, 2006, Phelps, his daughters Phelps-Roper and Phelps-Davis, and four of his grandchildren arrived in Westminster, Maryland, to picket Matthew Snyder’s funeral. None of the Defendants ever met any members of the Snyder family. They carried signs which expressed general messages such as "God Hates the USA," "America is doomed," "Pope in hell," and "Fag troops." The signs also carried more specific messages, to wit: "You’re going to hell," "God hates you," "Semper fi fags," and "Thank God for dead soldiers. Phelps testified that it was Defendants’ "duty" to deliver the message "whether they want to hear it or not."
http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/081026.P.pdf (http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/081026.P.pdf)(Text taken from Fourth Circuit order although I have condensed it somewhat.)

The lawsuit in federal district court in Maryland followed. The father of slain Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, Albert Snyder, sued the Westboro Baptist Church and the Phelps for acts of intentional infliction of mental and emotional distress, invasion of privacy by intrusion upon seclusion, and conspiracy to commit these acts. The Phelps contended that their actions and expressions were absolutely protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The jury disagreed and on October 31, 2007, the jury awarded $10.9 million in compensatory and punitive damages to Mr. Snyder. The trial was presided over by federal Judge Richard Bennett who reduced the total damages to $5 million. The Supreme Court of the United States has specifically held that First Amendment protection of particular types of speech must be balanced against a state’s interest in protecting its residents from wrongful injury. Maryland particularly recognizes a cause of action protecting its residents from intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from outrageous conduct. Maryland also recognizes a cause of action for invasion of privacy by intrusion upon seclusion when there is an unwarranted invasion of a person’s privacy which would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
http://www.mdd.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Opinions/Snyder0204.pdf (http://www.mdd.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Opinions/Snyder0204.pdf)(The details of the case are within this court order and are worth reading.)

The Phelps appealed the decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals which includes the states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The panel of three judges assigned to the case were Fourth Circuit Judges Robert King (appointed by President Clinton), Dennis Shedd (appointed by President G. W. Bush) and Allyson Duncan (appointed by President G. W. Bush.) The American Civil Liberties Union filed an Amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of the Phelps.

The Fourth Circuit panel reversed the decision by the jury in the district court. Of the numerous reasons they gave, the panel found that the district court judge had erred when he decided that it was for the jury —not the court — to assess the preliminary issue of the nature of the speech involved, and to then decide whether such speech was protected by the Free Speech Clause. Apparently the Fourth Circuit panel believed that the Free Speech Clause allows the disruption of a funeral and that private citizens have no recourse when a father has to not only bury his son but tolerate a group that viciously attacks his dead son for protecting rights such as the First Amendment. Common sense dictates that this was not the purpose for which the Founding Fathers created the First Amendment. Political discourse need not and should not disrupt private funerals. The jury demonstrated that it understood the Constitution better than the Fourth Circuit judges even if its role was to decide facts and not law. The Fourth Circuit judges have totally divorced the law from any sense of justice and we American citizens suffer the result.

What has outraged most Americans, even more that the reversal itself, is that this panel of judges awarded court costs to be paid to the Phelps by Mr. Snyder. These costs amount to $16,510. It is beyond outrageous. Courts have discretion in awarding costs or attorney fees. They were not required to make Mr. Snyder pay these costs and could have ruled that the two parties would each pay for their own costs. While the prevailing party usually is awarded costs it is not mandatory. http://cases.justia.com/us-court-of-appeals/F2/786/728/409533

The Phelps argued that they were entitled to be paid costs by Mr. Snyder, who is unable to afford them and filed an objection to the bill of costs. The Phelps responded by stating that, "Further, the Court can take judicial notice of the fact that Plaintiff/Appellee was eligible for death benefits from his son’s death. His other children are grown and he is divorced so he has only himself to care for." Mr. Snyder should, according to the Phelps, pay them from his dead Marine son’s death benefits. Apparently the Fourth Circuit panel agreed with the Phelps since they ordered Mr. Snyder to pay the costs.

In a related note: The American Civil Liberties Union, the great defenders of the First Amendment, take immense pride in defending the most reviled members of society. In 2008 the ACLU of New Mexico filed suit in federal court there to bar Albuquerque from enforcing an ordinance that banned sex offenders from using public libraries, saying the law, as written, violated First Amendment rights. The federal district court judge agreed with the ACLU and lifted the ban.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-us-sex-offenders-libraries,0,1772191.story

I spent two years in federal court in Salt Lake City in a labor law case. We had First Amendment issues in our lawsuit. The transit company and their puppet union, which we were trying to reject so we could replace it with an honest union, had decreed that we could not post any material in the lunch room giving information about our union organizing efforts. Further, the transit company, a subdivision of the state and thus subject to the First Amendment, decreed that no one could even speak of the matter on company property. The union goons acted as enforcers and reported anyone who spoke of forming a new union. We were denied all First Amendment rights to free speech despite case law holding that we do have First Amendment rights at work. We contacted the ACLU here in Salt Lake City and implored them to help us protect those rights. The ACLU wanted nothing to do with us. The district court judge and later the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals panel of judges ruled in favor of the transit company and the union. Thanks to these federal judges we have virtually no First Amendment rights where I work but the Phelps have absolute First Amendment rights. As for the ACLU, they will protect the free speech rights of the Westboro Baptist Church and the Phelps as well as various and assorted sex offenders, illegal aliens and terrorists. But responsible, law abiding citizens will get no help from the ACLU. I loathe and despise the ACLU.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a First Amendment case involving the Westboro Baptist Church. It will be closely watched by Americans, no doubt.

bombsquadron6
04-18-2010, 06:42 PM
President Obama has nominated 39-year-old Berkeley law school professor Goodwin Liu, to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit, which hears appeals from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Montana is considered by many to be a very liberal circuit, although it may have moderated somewhat in the past few years.
http://townhall.com/columnists/KenBlackwell/2010/03/21/liberal_ninth_circuit_praises_limited_government?c omments=true#comments (http://townhall.com/columnists/KenBlackwell/2010/03/21/liberal_ninth_circuit_praises_limited_government?c omments=true#comments)( I digress here, but read the paragraph about Judge Reinhardt, one of the Ninth Circuit’s most liberal judges. To give some illumination to his bizarre behavior it should be pointed out that he is married to Ramona Ripston, recently retired as Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California.)

Professor Goodwin Liu is the typical liberal Berkeley attorney/law professor. His academic credentials are impressive, I guess, but I do not see where he has any real connection to the average citizen who views the law in a less scholarly light. The following link is to an excellent Wall Street Journal article about Professor Liu’s nomination: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303491304575188013562799740.html?m od=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

Of course, the Republicans in the Senate are indignant as hell about this nomination and plan to fight it. The upcoming debates will be interesting to follow.

Previously undisclosed fun factoid: My family home was in Berkeley, California for over thirty years. Long story, but in 1975 the family moved from San Diego to Berkeley, just a few blocks from the University of California, Berkeley. (I was twenty-two and had already left home.) My family had much earlier lived on both NAS Oakland and NAS Alameda, not far from Berkeley, when my dad was still in the Navy. He died in 1984 and is buried at the Presidio National Cemetery in San Francisco, overlooking the bay and the Golden Gate bridge. I could write a dissertation on my love/hate relationship with the city of Berkeley but suffice it to say that the perception of Berkeley as elitist, liberal and out-of-touch-with-the-rest-of-the-country is pretty accurate.

bombsquadron6
05-15-2010, 11:21 PM
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

First Amendment of the Bill of Rights; United States Constitution.

“Separation of Church and State”

Reflecting a concept often credited in its original form to the English political philosopher John Locke, the phrase separation of church and state is generally traced to the letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as creating a "wall of separation" between church and state. The phrase was quoted by the United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1947. This led to increased popular and political discussion of the concept.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state

The doctrine of Separation of Church and State does not appear in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While it has been discussed and debated since the beginning of this nation it has evolved by judicial rulings. The original intent, no doubt, was to prevent a national church, such as the Church of England, but we have taken this doctrine to ridiculous extremes, where the mere sight of a memorial cross on public land sends atheists into a rabid lather. I am speaking, of course, about the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the cross on public land in the Mojave desert. The cross was erected in 1934 by the VFW to commemorate soldiers killed in World War I. The Supreme Court ruled that the cross could stay but the decision will have little impact on other cases since the Supreme Court ruling was so narrow as to be of no guidance in future similar cases. The Justices turned it into a technical debate involving the transfer, by Congressional statute, of public land to private ownership to accommodate the cross. The cross was stolen shortly after the decision by the Supreme Court. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/11/thieves-steal-mojave-desert-memorial-cross-nighttime-heist/

The case was originally filed in U.S. district court in California in 2001 by Frank Buono, a former National Park Service employee. Claiming to be offended by a religious symbol’s presence on federal land, Buono filed suit against the U.S. Dept. of Interior alleging a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and sought an injunction requiring the federal government to remove the cross. Buono won in district court and the federal government appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. While the Government’s appeal was pending, Congress passed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2004, which directed the Secretary of the Interior to transfer the cross and the land on which it stands to the VFW in exchange for privately owned land elsewhere in the Preserve.

The following quote is from the Supreme Court opinion, which was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. (Note that the reference to “[A] cross by the side of a public highway” has to do with a Utah case currently in federal court at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which I describe later in this essay.)


The goal of avoiding governmental endorsement does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm. A cross by the side of a public highway marking, for instance, the place where a state trooper perished need not be taken as a statement of governmental support for sectarian beliefs. The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society. See Lee v. Weisman, 505 U. S. 577, 598 (1992) ("A relentless and all-pervasive attempt to exclude religion from every aspect of public life could itself become inconsistent with the Constitution").See also Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. Amos, 483 U. S. 327, 334 (1987) ("This Court has long recognized that the government may (and sometimes must) accommodate religious practices and that it may do so without violating the Establishment Clause" (internal quotation marks omitted)). Rather, it leaves room to accommodate divergent values within a constitutionally permissible framework.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his concurrence:


As a result, at least until this litigation, it is likely that the cross was seen by more rattlesnakes than humans.

Justice Alito also wrote:


Congress chose an alternative approach that was designed to eliminate any perception of religious sponsorship stemming from the location of the cross on federally owned land, while at the same time avoiding the disturbing symbolism associated with the destruction of the historic monument. The mechanism that Congress selected is one that is quite common in the West, a “land exchange.” Congress enacted a law under which ownership of the parcel of land on which Sunrise Rock is located would be transferred to the VFW in exchange for another nearby parcel of equal value. Congress required that the Sunrise Rock parcel be used for a war memorial, but Congress did not prevent the VFW from supplementing the existing monument or replacing it with a war memorial of a different design. Although Justice Stevens characterizes this land exchange as one that endorses “a particular religious view,” it is noteworthy that Congress, in which our country’s religious diversity is well represented, passed this law by overwhelming majorities: 95–0 in the Senate and 407–15 in the House. In my view, there is no legal ground for blocking the implementation of this law.

The case boiled down to not whether a cross on public land is acceptable but whether Congress has the authority to do a land transfer. Striking down as unconstitutional a Congressional statute that allows a land transfer is unconscionable.

Here in Utah we have a similar case that is currently on appeal at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. It has to do with fourteen crosses placed throughout the state by the Utah Highway Patrol, each signifying and commemorating the death of a Highway Patrolman on that spot. They are large, white, stark crosses and they continue to shock me every time I see them because I am forced to think of the officers that died while protecting me and every other citizen of this state. Many times I have passed two of these crosses, standing side by side next to the road at a remote junction, Highways 20 and 89, in southern Utah. It is on a route I take on road trips to Flagstaff, Arizona. When I pass them I reflect on how lonely and sad it must have been for these officers to be gunned down there and how tragic for their families and communities. The intent is to memorialize these men who sacrificed their lives for the rest of us, not to inflame atheists into filing lawsuits. It does not seem, at least to me, a violation of anyone’s rights to place these crosses at the sites where these men died. If the families of each officer had any objections, I am sure the Utah Highway Patrol would not have placed one for that particular officer. But as a nation we are so super-sensitive that we can’t handle the sight of something we don’t agree with. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700031336/Supreme-Court-decision-may-have-little-effect-on-Utahs-UHP-crosses-case.html

This Utah First Amendment lawsuit was filed in 2005 by the American Atheists, Inc., a group of people who apparently are so damaged by the sight of a cross that they must have the courts protect them. O.K., yes, I think they are weenies. This group hired the intrepid Utah attorney, Brian Barnard, to represent them in court. Mr. Barnard has made a name and probably a fortune filing civil liberties lawsuits. I won’t hammer on him too much, though. He has been involved in many cases and sometimes I agree with his clients, sometimes not. But this case was designed to be very high profile with lots of grandstanding. It was filed in federal court here in Salt Lake City in 2005. After U.S. District Judge David Sam ruled in 2007 that the memorials convey a secular, nonreligious meaning and do not violate the U.S. Constitution, American Atheists Inc. filed an appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Oral arguments were held before that court in March 2009, and more than a year later, a ruling has yet to be made. (Quoted from article linked above, bold text added.) According to Barnard, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals may have been waiting for a decision and guidance from the Supreme Court. If that is the case, they got none. As a footnote, I will remind the reader that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is the same circuit that heard my appeal in the federal labor law case described extensively earlier in this blog. Interestingly, in that case the Tenth Circuit ruled very quickly to deny public transit workers their First Amendment rights to free speech. But more than a year later the Tenth Circuit panel hearing the American Atheists, Inc. case is still deliberating. From my experience there is no “equal justice” at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On April 15, 2010, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, of Wisconsin, ruled that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. The National Day of Prayer was authorized by Congress in 1952 although its origins date back to 1775.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20100416/ts_csm/294988;_ylt=Au3cDmAcQqrSmjZ1bKSt7UVg.3QA;_ylu=X3oD MTJzNGcxYWl0BGFzc2V0A2NzbS8yMDEwMDQxNi8yOTQ5ODgEY2 NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwM2BHBvcwM2BHNlYwN5bl90 b3Bfc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDanVkZ2VuYXRpb25h

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Day_of_Prayer

Obviously, Judge Crabb saw no need to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in the First Amendment cross case to make her ruling. They provided no guidance, anyway, having avoided making the tough call by ruling on the technical issues rather than the substantive issues. They then remanded it back to the district court. Not exactly a courageous nine, the Supreme Court.

Once again, I will point out the federal courts are quick to deny law abiding, responsible citizens their rights but go out of their way to protect the rights of the most obnoxious members of our society.

The following link is to the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the Mojave cross case, SALAZAR, SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, ET AL. v. BUONO. It is worth reading:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-472.pdf

bombsquadron6
05-28-2010, 06:07 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision on May 17, 2010 in the case of Graham v. Florida. It has to do with the question of life sentences without possibility of parole given to juvenile criminals who have not committed murder but are considered by state courts to be career criminals. Thirty seven states allow for the possibility of such sentences to young offenders. This case was heard in conjunction with the case of Joe Sullivan.

The court ruled in the case of Terrance Graham who committed armed robberies when he was 16 and 17 years old. (Graham is now 22 years old and in prison in Florida.) Graham’s own father reported to police that he thought Terrance was committing burglaries with other youths. Graham was arrested, served a year in jail and was released on probation. Of course, six months later he committed another armed robbery. The judge, finding that Graham had violated parole by running from the police, this time sentenced him to the maximum permissible sentence for the original crime, life in prison without parole. http://www.wbur.org/npr/126894305

Joe Sullivan is now 33 years old and in prison in Florida.

Sullivan of Pensacola, Fla., was 13 years old in 1989, when he and two other youths broke into an elderly woman’s home to burglarize it. The woman was not home at the time; the youths took jewelry and some coins, and left. Later that day, Sullivan and one of the others returned, and one of them sexually assaulted her, vaginally and orally; she also was beaten. She suffered bruising and a vaginal injury that required surgery......At sentencing, prosecutors listed 17 prior crimes in the prior two years, and noted that the youth had spent time in juvenile detention facilities. The judge concluded that, given the record and the sexual battery conviction, Joe should be treated legally as an adult under Florida law; he was sentenced to life in prison for that crime. http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Graham_v._Florida

There are two very important issues in these cases that the reader should consider. The first is the question of whether the U.S. Supreme Court should be overruling citizen voters that have given their state court judges the right to sentence minors to life without parole. This was addressed extensively in the Supreme Court ruling and in the case of Joe Sullivan it was doubtful that the case should even have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has usurped the right of citizens to delegate authority. They are not ruling, they are legislating from the bench.

The second issue, which I find very disturbing, is that the U.S. Supreme Court looked at international law to make their decision. Indeed, Amnesty International submitted an amicus brief in support of Graham.


Additional support for the Court’s conclusion lies in the fact that the sentencing practice at issue has been rejected the world over: The United States is the only Nation that imposes this type of sentence. While the judgments of other nations and the international community are not dispositive as to the meaning of the Eighth Amendment, the Court has looked abroad to support its independent conclusion that a particular punishment is cruel and unusual. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-7412.pdf

The U.S. Supreme Court should use the U.S. Constitution to make decisions in cases, not international law. Moreover, it should be looking at what the framers of the Constitution meant by “cruel and usual,” not by what the present justices consider cruel and unusual. Constitutionally there is no prohibition against severe punishment. This once again demonstrates that the U.S. courts are promoting "globalization" by making our laws more uniform with the rest of the world.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion which I found to be very insightful. Here is the opening statement of his dissent, which can be found on PDF page 54 of the Supreme Court opinion:


The Court holds today that it is “grossly disproportionate” and hence unconstitutional for any judge or jury to impose a sentence of life without parole on an offender less than 18 years old, unless he has committed a homicide. Although the text of the Constitution is silent regarding the permissibility of this sentencing practice, and although it would not have offended the standards that prevailed at the founding, the Court insists that the standards of American society have evolved such that the Constitution now requires its prohibition.

The news of this evolution will, I think, come as a surprise to the American people. Congress, the District of Columbia, and 37 States allow judges and juries to consider this sentencing practice in juvenile nonhomicide cases, and those judges and juries have decided to use it in the very worst cases they have encountered.

The Court does not conclude that life without parole itself is a cruel and unusual punishment. It instead rejects the judgments of those legislatures, judges, and juries regarding what the Court describes as the “moral” question of whether this sentence can ever be “proportionate” when applied to the category of offenders at issue here.

I am unwilling to assume that we, as members of this Court, are any more capable of making such moral judgments than our fellow citizens. Nothing in our training as judges qualifies us for that task, and nothing in Article III gives us that authority.

I respectfully dissent.

After reading Justice Thomas’ dissent I realize that he may presently be the only U.S. Supreme Court Justice who recognizes that we citizens are quite capable of deciding what is in our own best interest. My admiration for him is enormous. Thank you, Justice Thomas!

bombsquadron6
08-21-2010, 08:49 PM
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that roadside crosses erected to memorialize fallen Utah Highway Patrol officers violate the First Amendment’s prohibition of government endorsement of religion. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2010/0818/Roadside-crosses-for-fallen-Utah-police-unconstitutional-court-rules I wrote about the crosses in post #255 of this blog. They were placed at sites where UHP officers died in the line of duty. The decision by the Tenth Circuit states that since the crosses also bear the insignia of the UHP, they may lead the reasonable observer to fear that Christians are likely to receive preferential treatment from the UHP – both in their hiring practices and, more generally, in the treatment that people may expect to receive on Utah’s highways. http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/08/08-4061.pdf

Wow! The cops get accused of racial profiling all the time. Now I guess we can accuse them of religious profiling if we get pulled over for speeding. Thanks to Judges Deanell Tacha, David Ebel and Harris Hartz of the Tenth Circuit for providing us with yet another way to make life hell for the police.

In the Legislating from the Bench news we have the following:

The wonderful example of federal judicial excellence; Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco. Judge Vaughn, who is gay, handed down a decision that gays can marry in California. This decision overrules California voters who passed Proposition 8 which bars gay marriage. So much has been written about this decision that there is not much point in belaboring it here.

Out here in the west, illegal immigration is the hot-button issue that everyone is talking about. Federal Judge Susan Bolton, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, has granted the federal government a "preliminary injunction," preventing Arizona from enforcing portions of SB 1070 until the court undertakes full review of the case and issues a final decision on the merits. http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/federal-courts-arizona-decision (http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/federal-courts-arizona-decision)SB1070 was passed by the Arizona legislature to address the nightmare problem of illegal aliens who flood across the border from Mexico. The cost to deal with the crime, social problems and health care is unbelievable and Arizona has had enough of it. The federal government, more specifically the Obama administration, wants to grant amnesty to illegals and has been very reluctant to do anything about the problem. Arizona is not the first to do this. As I discussed in post #251, the city of Farmers Branch, Texas tried to ban illegal aliens from renting in the city. It was struck down by federal Judge Jane Boyle. So far, it does not appear that Farmers Branch has appealed the district court decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The state of Oklahoma tried to enforce a ban on the hiring of illegal aliens only to have the legislation overruled by the federal courts. I wrote about this in detail in post #248. The State of Oklahoma petitioned the Tenth Circuit for a rehearing en banc (asking that the entire Tenth Circuit review the case) but it was denied on April 19, 2010. Oklahoma has not filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court and I suspect they won't bother. It isn't likely they would find any justice there, either.

As an aside, here in Utah the legislature is considering a bill similar to Arizona's. I support the effort and will watch its progress. If it passes, which is likely, there will be immediate challenges in federal court. I anticipate more decisions like those discussed above.

In Salt Lake City, we have a chief of police, Chris Burbank, who is adamantly opposed to enforcing immigration laws and spends an extraordinary amount of time defending the illegals. http://www.cis.org/mortensen/salt-lake-police-chief (http://www.cis.org/mortensen/salt-lake-police-chief)Chief Burbank maintains that statistics show that illegals, principally those from Mexico, do not commit crimes in higher percentages than the general legal population. He may be able to skewer the stats by using information from the Salt Lake County metro jail. http://www.slsheriff.org/metrojail/index.html (http://www.slsheriff.org/metrojail/index.html) On the "Prisoner Search" tab you can retrieve info about specific prisoners. The jail is full of illegal aliens from Mexico who have committed crimes in this area but the jail lists the race of each one as "White" rather than "Hispanic." Check it out yourself. Type in a first name like Jesus (pronounced Hay-soos) or Pedro or Julio or a surname like Gomez and see what it brings up. Many of them will have their citizenship listed as "Mexico" and they are clearly Latino or Hispanic from the accompanying photos and yet they are listed as white. (Yes, I know that anthropologists classify many Hispanics as "white" but that is for scientific purposes.) Why the county jail does this is a mystery to me but it gives Chief Burbank cover.

Follow-up to the case of the antiquities grave robbers in Blanding, Utah. (post #209)
A Utah man who once bragged about taking American Indian artifacts from federal lands avoided jail time Thursday after a federal judge said he decided to show leniency after reading letters from the man's two daughters. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson gave probation to Aubrey Patterson rather than the recommended jail time. Patterson became the eighth defendant to receive leniency and avoid prison time after a sting operation rounded up 26 defendants last summer in Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. http://acn.liveauctioneers.com/index.php/features/crime-and-litigation/2938-another-sentenced-in-4-corners-indian-artifacts-case
Judge Benson then went on to make the absurd claim that this case has been a strong deterrent to other ancient artifacts thieves. Let's see...You can make a fortune stealing ancient Indian relics from Indian land or BLM land and if you get caught you will just get probation. Yeah... that really sends a message. No one else will dare try this again. Thanks, Judge Benson.

In other news, The American Bar Association is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a suit brought by eight current and former federal judges seeking cost-of-living salary raises, saying low judicial salaries are keeping the best legal minds from joining the bench. http://blogs.forbes.com/docket/2010/06/18/aba-asks-high-court-to-take-judges-pay-raise-suit/?boxes=financechannelforbes (http://blogs.forbes.com/docket/2010/06/18/aba-asks-high-court-to-take-judges-pay-raise-suit/?boxes=financechannelforbes)Since this has to do with cost-of-living raises rather than large merit raises which I have vigorously argued against I won't spend time debating it. But does anyone else think there is a huge conflict of interest in asking the Supreme Court to decide if federal judges should get a raise? After all, Chief Justice Roberts has spent much time and effort trying to convince Congress and the public that they should. The case is Peter H. Beer et al. v. United States, case number 09-1395, in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has not yet decided if they will take the case.

bombsquadron6
08-30-2010, 03:09 PM
A Taiwanese businessman, Yi-Lan "Kevin" Chen, was sentneced to 31/2 years in a U.S. prison for violating the Iran trade embargo. He faced up to 20 years on each of three charges, but U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan cited Chen's remorse, lack of prior criminal record and immediate admission of guilt as reasons for a lighter sentence. http://www.startribune.com/nation/101645738.html

But e-mails intercepted by U.S. investigators show Chen fully understood the U.S. embargo against Iran and went to great lengths to evade it.

Apparently, the federal courts do not view selling military parts which can be used against us as a very serious crime. One merely needs to say "So sorry" to get a much lighter sentence.

CORNELIUSSEON
09-01-2010, 01:37 AM
Well, it only makes sense if you think making up for a small portion of the salaries lost in years past (by giving pay increases less than than the amount of inflation or, in some years, no raises at all) "paying off."

While the two of you make light of the current round of pay raises, let's not forget that we Retirees were just informed that - so far - our COLA for 2011 will be 0.1%.

garhkal
09-01-2010, 03:06 AM
Apparently, the federal courts do not view selling military parts which can be used against us as a very serious crime. One merely needs to say "So sorry" to get a much lighter sentence.

It seems that way with lots of crimes these days.. "say i am sorry" and get off with a lighter sentence

bombsquadron6
09-10-2010, 07:19 PM
Once again our federal courts have thwarted the efforts of citizens to crack down on illegal immigration. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, ruled on Thursday, Sept. 9, that the city of Hazelton, PA may not enforce its crackdown on illegal aliens. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100909/ap_on_re_us/us_illegal_immigrants_crackdown_3 (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100909/ap_on_re_us/us_illegal_immigrants_crackdown_3)

The three judge panel said that Hazleton's Illegal Immigration Relief Act usurped the federal government's exclusive power to regulate immigration.

Apparently their logic is that since the feds refuse to enforce immigration laws already on the books then no one else is allowed to.

I have spent more than two years here arguing against a raise for federal judges based on their many failures to act in our best interest and their lack of accoutability. They have given me no reason to change my position.

garhkal
09-11-2010, 03:56 AM
At this rate i wonder how long it will be before i hear all these states wondering if it will be more benefitial to just say frak it and ceeded from the US.. If they do that, the fed govt has no sway over them..

CORNELIUSSEON
09-11-2010, 04:17 AM
At this rate i wonder how long it will be before i hear all these states wondering if it will be more benefitial to just say frak it and ceeded from the US.. If they do that, the fed govt has no sway over them..

Sorry, but that issue was settled for all time by the Civil War. If they were to secede today, they would be guilty of Rebellion and Sedition, and could be Re-Occupied. These days its "In for a Penny; In for a Pound"!

bombsquadron6
09-11-2010, 04:49 PM
Speculation about how long America can hold it together when the federal government consistently acts against our best interests is fair. We are all in this together but I am genuinely concerned for the future of this nation. We are becoming as fragmented as some of those Baltic countries and importing millions of people from third world countries doesn't help us, to say the least. I have no animosity against people trying to flee their horrible countries but we can't absorb them all. We are coming apart already under the strain. The federal courts are making the situation worse instead of better and I for one feel like they have damaged this country with many of their rulings. They are taking all the power away from citizens.

CORNELIUSSEON
09-11-2010, 05:27 PM
Speculation about how long America can hold it together when the federal government consistently acts against our best interests is fair. We are all in this together but I am genuinely concerned for the future of this nation. We are becoming as fragmented as some of those Baltic countries and importing millions of people from third world countries doesn't help us, to say the least. I have no animosity against people trying to flee their horrible countries but we can't absorb them all. We are coming apart already under the strain. The federal courts are making the situation worse instead of better and I for one feel like they have damaged this country with many of their rulings. They are taking all the power away from citizens.

Unfortunately, many of the American States would cease to exist if they left the Union simply because they don't have an economy of sufficient quality and quantity to survive. The American Economy is actually the Mean of the 50 State Economies, and they have never been equal to each other at any time.

As for the Power issue, we gave up the vast majority of that back in the 1790s when George Washington lead the Army to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, and did so again as a result of the Civil War. No one is taking seriously any calls for Secession simply because none of the States have the ability to do more than talk about it. If you want to see what Secession would mean, take a serious look at the EU, and the condition of the European States before the EU was established.

bombsquadron6
10-04-2010, 03:56 PM
On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Albert Snyder v. Fred W. Phelps, Sr., et al. Probably everyone here is familiar with this case and it is not necessary to explain the circumstances around it, however, a recent story in USA Today sums it up very well and is worth reviewing.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/2010-08-30-1Afuneralprotests_CV_N.htm

The current docket for the case, which lists all the activity to date at the Supreme Court can be found at:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/09-751.htm

Three basic questions will be argued by the respective parties and which the Supreme Court will base their ruling on. The questions which the Supreme Court will consider are as follows:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/09-00751qp.pdf

The overwhelming majority of Americans, at least in the working class world that I live in, believe that it is wrong to disrupt military funerals in the name of the First Amendment. The Phelps, the ACLU and several other organizations believe otherwise, or that, at least, it must be permitted. Their argument is that if the Court rules against the Phelps it will have a "chilling effect" on free speech. This argument, that if the Phelps are prevented from disrupting military funerals we will all suffer a loss of our civil liberties, is nonsense and every reasonable person knows this. While the ACLU will go to court to protect the free speech rights of pornographers and terrorists, as well as the Phelps, they rarely go to court to protect the rights of blue collar workers and average citizens like me. I found this out the hard way when I was in federal court in Salt Lake City and later the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. I have documented all of this many times on this blog so won't bore you with the details again but the courts have given enormous consideration to the most reprehensible members of society and I am not optimistic that they will do the right thing in this case. Just as you are not allowed to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre you should not be able to disrupt and potentially cause harm by yelling vicious insults at a somber gathering. But we have taken the whole "free speech" concept to an insane place.

bombsquadron6
10-08-2010, 07:23 AM
Here is my nomination for the federal judiciary's Do as I Say and Not as I Do award. The competition is stiff but this federal judge is way ahead of the pack! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39530875/ns/us_news/?GT1=43001

Sensible
10-10-2010, 04:40 PM
Ms. Burke,

Haven't looked at this string for awhile. Seems that we are getting a little far afield from the original issue, that is, do federal judges deserve a raise despite having gone for 17 years (from the early 90's through 2008) with annual pay adjustments less than the inflation rate. Last year and this year they received nominal raises, but of course this is during a time where we have low inflation, at least in terms of the cost of consumer goods and services.

I look at the situation here in Houston. Do you know the background of a typical district judge before taking their current job? They're primarily former mid-level to upper-level partners in large law firms, which means that their annual pay was north of $350k per year. Many have children that are still school age. Many had homes that are in expensive areas that are very expensive to maintain. Many want to be able to fund their kids' college education. My point? Sure they make a lot more now than the average American, but no one can turn their lifestyle like a spigot. We shouldn't expect them to be forced to downsize because they took a prestigious government job! Shouldn't expect them to force their kids to fund their college education with loans when the judges have the backgrounds to earn the money to pay for it. Frankly, they should make more than average Americans. After all, the average American does not have 20+ years experience in a high paying occupation, and they do not have advanced degrees from universities respected around the globe.

Let me illustrate to you how bad this situation is from the judges' point of view. In Houston I know a paralegal who works for the Social Security Administration. This person has only a high school degree, plus she obtained a paralegal certification by going to school part time at night for 9 months. With overtime this person can make about $105k a year! District judges do not have the right to collect overtime. Their pay is capped at $172k a year. So that means that a person with a high school degree and paralegal certification from a night school makes about 60%of what is earned by a person with 20+ years experience practicing law who has an advanced degree from a top 25 law school. Compare this to the percentage of what a paralegal makes in a law firm compared to a senior partner. I believe you would find that that pay is about only 15% of what the lawyer makes! Why the huge difference? None of this is based on merit -- it's because the paralegal belongs to this enormous union, AFGE, that contributes heavily to political campaigns.

Honestly Lisa, despite the ill treatment the judges received in terms of pay in years past, I do not know if in this economy anything more than a nominal increase would be appropriate. But here is the deal. Clearly these men and women could be making a dramatic amount more in the private sector and thus the financial sacrifice they and their families have made by taking these jobs is extraordinary. Very few Americans, including members of the military, have the education, background and experience to make anything near the amount of money these judges are capable of earning.

So my proposal is simple. Did you know the judges are precluded by law from performing other legal work for pay? I propose that we keep their pay where it is, but change that law so that they can practice law part time. With the judges I know, I believe that even consulting part time (say 10 hours a week) they could easily supplement their pay by $100K per year or more. Fair is fair. If we are to so dramatically cap their government pay, they should be allowed to earn money on the side. Do you object to such a proposal?

Sensible

bombsquadron6
10-11-2010, 03:31 PM
It is an unbelievably bad idea and I am stunned that you would suggest that federal judges be allowed to do consulting work outside of their regular judicial duties.

A federal judge who acts as a consultant is improper just on its face. One of the ethical rules for federal judges is to avoid impropriety, and even the appearance of impropriety. So when these federal judges are doing consulting work for the pricey downtown law firms, are they going to recuse themselves every time the law firm has a case in front of them because of the conflict of interest? And we should believe that there will be no bias by the judges in favor of the law firms they work part time for? And don't try to tell me that these federal judges will consult for groups who have little money to pay. Your arguments so far have been mercenary and now you suggest federal judges could and should be able to pick up an extra hundred grand by consulting. Sensible, please review the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, and particularly Canons 2 and 4.
http://www.uscourts.gov/Viewer.aspx?doc=/uscourts/RulesAndPolicies/conduct/Vol02A-Ch02-OGC-Post2-Code-of-Conduct-for-Judges.pdf

Federal judges are allowed to earn additional income by teaching and writing and many of them are adjunct professors at universities. That additional income has legislated limits, though, but apparently it is not enough for Sensible. Sensible never addresses the matter of ethics violations and harmful decisions by federal judges but continues to demand more money for them. No Sensible, federal judges are not the victims, the public is.

I have made my case against a large judicial pay raise on this blog for two and a half years. Everything that Sensible brings up now (again) has been debated multiple times here. Readers of this thread, whom I have the utmost respect for, have pointed out correctly that it is repetitive and tedious to read the same arguments over and over. I defer to them.

Sensible
10-11-2010, 04:04 PM
Lisa, the real money in law is in practicing, not teaching or the like. You know that. A federal judge would be lucky to supplement his salary 10K a year working his rear off teaching. Of course, by being very careful who they represent, federal judges could indeed avoid conflicts of interest. The world is full of millions of clients after all.

How about overtime? The vast majority of other federal employees get overtime. Are you against that as well?

Sensible

bombsquadron6
10-11-2010, 06:08 PM
I don't get it. Why do you continue to argue and debate me? It seems as though you blame me and this blog for federal judges not getting a pay raise during the previous Congressional session. I would be delighted to take credit but it is unlikely that that is the case. The original premise of this thread was that federal judges, who have no oversight and brazenly commit ethical violations knowing they will not be held accountable, should not be rewarded with a large salary increase of from 30 to 50%. I compared it to military personnel who, at the time, were looking at a possible 3% pay increase. I stand by everything I have written on this subject and would suggest that if you are looking for someone to blame, then address your anger toward the federal judges who handled my case in district and circuit court. It was a textbook example of everything that is wrong with the federal courts-they know it and you know it. They caused me to create this blog and keep it going. If you federal judges want a pay raise then clean up your act and reform the system first. Then ask us to give you more money.

Sensible
10-11-2010, 07:13 PM
Oh I get it. You do not answer question about overtime, yet I would bet any amount of money you receive OT. You think federal judges cannot practice law for pay on the side, even when there is no conflict of interest! Nonetheless, I bet you could hold down any side job you wanted in your profession during your free time. So, in Lisa's world federal judges should get no raises, no overtime and not be allowed to practice part time their chosen profession for pay outside the confines of their jobs, even though they paid a fortune securing the education needed to practice that profession.

bombsquadron6
10-12-2010, 08:11 AM
I lost the case in federal court. I wrote judicial misconduct complaints against the judges involved and made some very pointed allegations. The complaints were dismissed by the judicial council of the Tenth Circuit which was made up of colleagues of the judges I complained about. I sent copies to every member of the Senate Judiciary, most members of the House Judiciary and other members of Congress. The district court judge resigned two months later. The charges I made could probably have landed me in jail if they were not true. Not one single person ever disputed my allegations. They were all true and everyone knew it. (You do too, Sensible.) I wrote letters stating that if Congress was going to grant a large pay raise to federal judges then there should be debates and testimony from those who have been wronged by the federal courts. I demanded that the attorney who represented us in court be allowed to testify about what was done to us. But there would be many, many others who would also want to testify about corrupt federal courts, as you well know. Debates were not held and the bills to raise the salary of the judiciary expired without a vote. Blame me if you want. You want money. I want justice.

Accuse me of being a sore loser, Sensible, but even you know that it was a tainted decision by arrogant federal judges who thought there would be no price to pay. If it only affected me I would not have taken the course I did, but it affected tens of thousands of transit workers across the U.S. who now have no ability to remove a corrupt union and replace it with an honest one. The decision, which was contrary to virtually all established labor law, protects corrupt, entrenched, bureaucratic transit unions and strips the workers of their right to choose for themselves who will represent them. Everything that Americans hate about unions was protected by the federal judges in my case.

It would be a courtesy if you would cease posting on this thread.

Sensible
10-12-2010, 01:56 PM
I can tell by your emotional response that you felt devastated by losing that lawsuit. Thus, it is only natural Lisa that you would be upset at the judges who resulted in that happening.

I am going to ask you to do something you might not be accustomed to doing. Look at this matter with a cold unemotional eye. Then ask yourself, am I different than the many thousands of litigants who lose a case in court every year? Don’t you know that most litigants who lose cases are upset and feel shafted by the judge?

Now ask yourself with the same cold, unemotional eye about the real life comparison between judges and members of the military in terms of pay and the capacity to earn money. Sure members of the military sacrifice incredibly for our nation. We would not even be a sovereign country if not for our men and women in uniform. However, on the issue of pay and the capacity to earn money, it is an unfair comparison that you have made here because very few if any members of the military could earn $100k plus a year just doing part time (10 hours a week) consulting work. I can assure you, if that avenue were available to district judges in Houston and Dallas every one of them would be supplementing their government pay by that amount. Also ask yourself, why are you also against their receiving even overtime pay, when you and other members of your union surely receive OT?

Then ask yourself, do you enjoy putting people in boxes? If your views were accepted by all that is what you are doing to federal judges. They end up with 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts, and they cannot even work for pay in their God chosen profession outside the confines of the job, even in instances where there are no conflicts of interest. Nor can they secure overtime pay.

In terms of staying away from you Lisa, you have no need to worry about that. I do not go near extremists and from what I can see you are exactly that. Why are you an extremist? Because you believe that in this land of opportunity we should have highly skilled people undergo almost 2 decades of de facto pay cuts, preclude those same people from earning money on the side to make up for these pay cuts, and even prevent them from obtaining overtime pay.

As long as you propose extremist views in this thread, then no I will not go away silently into the night. Like you, I have my right to share my views.

bombsquadron6
10-12-2010, 05:20 PM
I am an extremist for demanding the the federal judiciary perform their duties with integrity? It has been three and a half years since the U.S. Supreme Court denied my petition to review the case and three years since I began petitioning my government to address the many glaring deficiencies in the federal judiciary. Denying a pay raise until there are reforms and accountability is an effective way to force federal judges to adhere to the high standards that the American public expects of them. So far, there has been absolutely no effort by the federal courts, from the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on down to every district court judge and magistate, to reform anything. Nada, zip, nothing. They refuse to even acknowledge that there might be a problem. That is how resistant they are to reform.

As far as federal judges working part time jobs doing consulting work, it is a violation of virtually every bar association and the Canons of the federal judiciary. I should not have to explain to you what "conflict of interest" and "avoiding the appearance of impropriety" mean. But you can petition the American Bar Association and your government, just as I have done, if you seek change. Don't expect me to address it. As an aside, I am a blue collar worker. Yes, we can work overtime. Managers and administrators, professionals and those in the more elite jobs like attorneys, rarely get overtime. That is the way it as and I didn't make those rules so once again, don't look at me to change it.

Feel free to post whatever you want here, since you just can't leave it alone, but I am weary of debating you. It's like Groundhog Day.

Sensible
10-12-2010, 06:30 PM
Obviously Ms. Burke, they did not respond because they felt your complaints lacked an basis. I would not be suprised if they did not view it as harrassment.

To the reader: one thing everyone agrees on. Generally speaking, in order to secure the best candidates to fill jobs in any profession - whether transit worker, surgeons, lawyers or judges or clerks - of course one of the things that must exist is that there should be fair pay practices extended to the persons who work at that job.

Sensible
11-29-2010, 06:12 PM
President Obama just announced a two year freeze on all federal civilian pay. Of course, this type of action is not new at all to federal judges. Four years out of the past 19 they have seen no raises at all. Fourteen out of the other fifteen years their raises were just symbolic, that is, they were less than the real inflation rate. So in a sense this is good news. It means that the other federal workers get to taste the pain the judges have for almost two decades.

garhkal
11-30-2010, 04:25 AM
Pity those 'federal employee' freezes never seem to stop senators, mayors, etc giving themselves pay raises.

CORNELIUSSEON
11-30-2010, 12:46 PM
Pity those 'federal employee' freezes never seem to stop senators, mayors, etc giving themselves pay raises.

CONGRESSIONAL PAY LIMITATION

TWENTY-SEVENTH AMENDMENT

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.


Annotation

REGULATING CONGRESSIONAL PAY

Referred to the state legislatures at the same time as those proposals that eventually became the Bill of Rights, the congressional pay amendment had long been assumed to be dead.1 This provision had its genesis, as did several others of the first amendments, in the petitions of the States ratifying the constitution.2 It, however, was ratified by only six States (out of the eleven needed), and it was rejected by five States. Aside from the idiosyncratic action of the Ohio legislature in 1873, which ratified the proposal in protest of a controversial pay increase adopted by Congress, the pay limitation provision lay dormant until the 1980s. Then, an aide to a Texas legislator discovered the proposal and began a crusade that culminated some ten years later in its proclaimed ratification.3


Now that the provision is apparently a part of the Constitution,4 it will likely play a minor role. What it commands was already statutorily prescribed, and, at most, it may have implications for automatic cost-of-living increases in pay for Members of Congress.5

Footnotes

1 Indeed, in Dillon v. Gloss, 256 U.S. 368 (http://supreme.justia.com/us/256/368/index.html), 375 (http://supreme.justia.com/us/256/368/case.html#375) (1921), the Court, albeit in dictum, observed that, unless the inference was drawn that ratification must occur within some reasonable time of proposal, "four amendments proposed long ago—two in 1789, one in 1810 and one in 1861—are still pending and in a situation where their ratification in some of the States many years since by representatives of generations now largely forgotten may be effectively supplemented in enough more States to make three-fourths by representatives of the present or some future generation. To that view few would be able to subscribe, and in our opinion it is quite untenable." (Emphasis supplied).


2 A comprehensive, scholarly treatment of the background, development, failure, and subsequent success of this mendment is Bernstein, The Sleeper Wakes: The History and Legacy of the Twenty-Seventh Amendment, 61 FORD. L. REV. 497 (1992). A briefer account is The Congressional Pay Amendment, 16 Ops. of the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Dept. of Justice 102, App. at 127-136 (1992) (prelim. pr.).


3 The ratification issues are considered supra in the discussion of Article V (http://supreme.justia.com/constitution/article-5/02-proposing-a-constitutional-amendment.html#03).


4 In the only case to date brought under the Amendment, the parties did not raise the question of the validity of its ratification; the court refused to consider the issue raised by an amicus. Boehner v. Anderson, 809 F.Supp. 138, 139 (D.D.C. 1992). It is not at all clear the issue is justiciable.



5 See discussion of "Congressional Pay (http://supreme.justia.com/constitution/article-1/13-compensation-and-immunities.html)," supra.



As for Mayors, they are NOT Federal Employees, but Municipal Employees. It is the Municipal Council that raises their pay.

imported_WILDJOKER5
11-30-2010, 12:51 PM
CONGRESSIONAL PAY LIMITATION

TWENTY-SEVENTH AMENDMENT

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.


Annotation

REGULATING CONGRESSIONAL PAY

Referred to the state legislatures at the same time as those proposals that eventually became the Bill of Rights, the congressional pay amendment had long been assumed to be dead.1 This provision had its genesis, as did several others of the first amendments, in the petitions of the States ratifying the constitution.2 It, however, was ratified by only six States (out of the eleven needed), and it was rejected by five States. Aside from the idiosyncratic action of the Ohio legislature in 1873, which ratified the proposal in protest of a controversial pay increase adopted by Congress, the pay limitation provision lay dormant until the 1980s. Then, an aide to a Texas legislator discovered the proposal and began a crusade that culminated some ten years later in its proclaimed ratification.3


Now that the provision is apparently a part of the Constitution,4 it will likely play a minor role. What it commands was already statutorily prescribed, and, at most, it may have implications for automatic cost-of-living increases in pay for Members of Congress.5

Footnotes

1 Indeed, in Dillon v. Gloss, 256 U.S. 368 (http://supreme.justia.com/us/256/368/index.html), 375 (http://supreme.justia.com/us/256/368/case.html#375) (1921), the Court, albeit in dictum, observed that, unless the inference was drawn that ratification must occur within some reasonable time of proposal, "four amendments proposed long ago—two in 1789, one in 1810 and one in 1861—are still pending and in a situation where their ratification in some of the States many years since by representatives of generations now largely forgotten may be effectively supplemented in enough more States to make three-fourths by representatives of the present or some future generation. To that view few would be able to subscribe, and in our opinion it is quite untenable." (Emphasis supplied).


2 A comprehensive, scholarly treatment of the background, development, failure, and subsequent success of this mendment is Bernstein, The Sleeper Wakes: The History and Legacy of the Twenty-Seventh Amendment, 61 FORD. L. REV. 497 (1992). A briefer account is The Congressional Pay Amendment, 16 Ops. of the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Dept. of Justice 102, App. at 127-136 (1992) (prelim. pr.).


3 The ratification issues are considered supra in the discussion of Article V (http://supreme.justia.com/constitution/article-5/02-proposing-a-constitutional-amendment.html#03).


4 In the only case to date brought under the Amendment, the parties did not raise the question of the validity of its ratification; the court refused to consider the issue raised by an amicus. Boehner v. Anderson, 809 F.Supp. 138, 139 (D.D.C. 1992). It is not at all clear the issue is justiciable.



5 See discussion of "Congressional Pay (http://supreme.justia.com/constitution/article-1/13-compensation-and-immunities.html)," supra.



As for Mayors, they are NOT Federal Employees, but Municipal Employees. It is the Municipal Council that raises their pay.

Another reason why the socialism that Obama and the Democrats want to employ is a bad thing. The only ones that get any pay(raises) will be those incharge of the pay to begin with, ie the government. If you want equal pay, go to North Korea. They love to treat everyone the same(that isn't in the military/government).

ChiefB
11-30-2010, 03:23 PM
CONGRESSIONAL PAY LIMITATION

TWENTY-SEVENTH AMENDMENT

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.


Annotation

REGULATING CONGRESSIONAL PAY

Referred to the state legislatures at the same time as those proposals that eventually became the Bill of Rights, the congressional pay amendment had long been assumed to be dead.1 This provision had its genesis, as did several others of the first amendments, in the petitions of the States ratifying the constitution.2 It, however, was ratified by only six States (out of the eleven needed), and it was rejected by five States. Aside from the idiosyncratic action of the Ohio legislature in 1873, which ratified the proposal in protest of a controversial pay increase adopted by Congress, the pay limitation provision lay dormant until the 1980s. Then, an aide to a Texas legislator discovered the proposal and began a crusade that culminated some ten years later in its proclaimed ratification.3


Now that the provision is apparently a part of the Constitution,4 it will likely play a minor role. What it commands was already statutorily prescribed, and, at most, it may have implications for automatic cost-of-living increases in pay for Members of Congress.5

Footnotes

1 Indeed, in Dillon v. Gloss, 256 U.S. 368 (http://supreme.justia.com/us/256/368/index.html), 375 (http://supreme.justia.com/us/256/368/case.html#375) (1921), the Court, albeit in dictum, observed that, unless the inference was drawn that ratification must occur within some reasonable time of proposal, "four amendments proposed long ago—two in 1789, one in 1810 and one in 1861—are still pending and in a situation where their ratification in some of the States many years since by representatives of generations now largely forgotten may be effectively supplemented in enough more States to make three-fourths by representatives of the present or some future generation. To that view few would be able to subscribe, and in our opinion it is quite untenable." (Emphasis supplied).


2 A comprehensive, scholarly treatment of the background, development, failure, and subsequent success of this mendment is Bernstein, The Sleeper Wakes: The History and Legacy of the Twenty-Seventh Amendment, 61 FORD. L. REV. 497 (1992). A briefer account is The Congressional Pay Amendment, 16 Ops. of the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Dept. of Justice 102, App. at 127-136 (1992) (prelim. pr.).


3 The ratification issues are considered supra in the discussion of Article V (http://supreme.justia.com/constitution/article-5/02-proposing-a-constitutional-amendment.html#03).


4 In the only case to date brought under the Amendment, the parties did not raise the question of the validity of its ratification; the court refused to consider the issue raised by an amicus. Boehner v. Anderson, 809 F.Supp. 138, 139 (D.D.C. 1992). It is not at all clear the issue is justiciable.



5 See discussion of "Congressional Pay (http://supreme.justia.com/constitution/article-1/13-compensation-and-immunities.html)," supra.



As for Mayors, they are NOT Federal Employees, but Municipal Employees. It is the Municipal Council that raises their pay.

Wrong...garhkal is correct... there has been an amendment to the 27th...."In 1989, Congress passed an amendment allowing for the automatic raises, unless lawmakers specifically voted to reject it. Which Congress did, until 2000."
The fiscal year 2004 Transportation and Treasury Department Appropriations bill included Congress' 2.2 percent pay raise, along with a 4.1 percent raise for federal workers and military personnel."

See:http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/agencies/a/raise4congress.htm
"Members of Congress have the only job in the country whose occupants can set their own salary without regard to performance, profit, or economic climate," said Tom Schatz, president of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste in a press release. "

imported_WILDJOKER5
11-30-2010, 03:39 PM
Wrong...there has been an amendment to the 27th...."In 1989, Congress passed an amendment allowing for the automatic raises, unless lawmakers specifically voted to reject it. Which Congress did, until 2000."
The fiscal year 2004 Transportation and Treasury Department Appropriations bill included Congress' 2.2 percent pay raise, along with a 4.1 percent raise for federal workers and military personnel."

See:http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/agencies/a/raise4congress.htm
"Members of Congress have the only job in the country whose occupants can set their own salary without regard to performance, profit, or economic climate," said Tom Schatz, president of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste in a press release. "

Foreseeable response.

"Ugh, you have to go off on this tirade. I am done talking with you. You are screaming the sky is red when it is actually purple. You are a bully that was bullied back when you were in school."

[Insert: Google quote]

ChiefB
11-30-2010, 03:59 PM
Foreseeable response.

"Ugh, you have to go off on this tirade. I am done talking with you. You are screaming the sky is red when it is actually purple. You are a bully that was bullied back when you were in school."

[Insert: Google quote]

Man, until I read your post a couple of times... I was preparing a torrid retort.... but now that I realize what it really was, I will just say...Never mind!!:madgrin:tape

imported_WILDJOKER5
11-30-2010, 04:10 PM
Man, until I read your post a couple of times... I was preparing a torrid retort.... but now that I realize what it really was, I will just say...Never mind!!:madgrin:tape

That just seems to be the responses I have been getting for all my facts that I try to use. Most of the time I get back :lalala

Sensible
12-01-2010, 12:27 AM
That automatic pay raise for Congress is virtually nothing. It is usually less than the inflation rate. It is because they tie the pay raises of so many federal scientists, lawyers and physicians to their raise is the reason federal pay for these persons is so low relative to their private sector counterparts.

Congress handles their raises this way because they want to be able to tell their constituents, "hey I am a good guy. I am not raising my pay very much." Take note that this is not where Congress' real money is derived from. Its just pocket change. Their real money is from all the perks they get and privileges that come their way. Its not unusual for a senator's spouse to sit on a board of a major corporation for instance. They also get to keep unspent campaign donations when they retire.

ChiefB
12-01-2010, 02:19 AM
That automatic pay raise for Congress is virtually nothing. It is usually less than the inflation rate. It is because they tie the pay raises of so many federal scientists, lawyers and physicians to their raise is the reason federal pay for these persons is so low relative to their private sector counterparts.

Congress handles their raises this way because they want to be able to tell their constituents, "hey I am a good guy. I am not raising my pay very much." Take note that this is not where Congress' real money is derived from. Its just pocket change. Their real money is from all the perks they get and privileges that come their way. Its not unusual for a senator's spouse to sit on a board of a major corporation for instance. They also get to keep unspent campaign donations when they retire.

Congressional pay rose from $98,400 in 1990 to $174,000 in 2009. Not bad for "Virtually nothing". That's a cumlative 76.8% pay increase in 19 years or an average of 4.0% per year. Since 1960 their pay has risen 480% from $30,000. That's an avg. 9.60% pay raise each and every year for 50 years.

But, I do agree Federal Judges are way underpaid at $174,000 when Federal law clerks, moving to the private sector as attorneys, make an average of $165,000 to start. Some charts reflect that Judicial pay since 1992 has risen only 39% versus inflation of 36% in the same time period. Since 1960, military pay, however, has gone up 1000% to 1200% or more. O-6 in '60 made $860.00...in 2009 rate was $8796.00, monthly... for example.

Federal Judicial pay needs to be disconnected from Congressional pay...for sure.

garhkal
12-01-2010, 05:21 AM
Wow.... 11.84% a year for 50 years... i need to get in that racket.

imported_WILDJOKER5
12-01-2010, 11:57 AM
Congressional pay rose from $98,400 in 1990 to $174,000 in 2009. Not bad for "Virtually nothing". That's a cumlative 56.6% pay increase in 19 years or an average of 2.9% per year. Since 1960 their pay has risen 580% from $30,000. That's an avg. 11.84% pay raise each and every year for 50 years.

But, I do agree Federal Judges are way underpaid at $174,000 when Federal law clerks, moving to the private sector as attorneys, make an average of $165,000 to start. Some charts reflect that Judicial pay since 1992 has risen only 39% versus inflation of 36% in the same time period. Since 1960, military pay, however, has gone up 1000% to 1200% or more. O-6 in '60 made $860.00...in 2009 rate was $8796.00, monthly... for example.

Federal Judicial pay needs to be disconnected from Congressional pay...for sure.

Chief, the pay raise for 1990-2009 is 76.8%. The overall raise is 480% since 1960.

bombsquadron6
12-01-2010, 04:48 PM
An Oklahoma City federal judge Monday ruled against a voter-approved restriction on Islamic law.
http://www.newsok.com/federal-judge-keeps-sharia-law-restriction-out-of-oklahoma-constitution/article/3519080?custom_click=masthead_topten

In a 15-page order, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled that the amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution, which was supported by 70% of Oklahoma voters, was unconstitutional. Her ruling was a victory for an American-born Muslim, Muneer Awad, 27, who had complained his constitutional religious rights were in jeopardy. His Constitutional rights? Our Constitution, which does not recognize Sharia law? This is outrageous. The Oklahoma Constitutional Amendment forbade state courts from considering or using international law or Sharia law. It describes Sharia law as Islamic law based on the Quran and the teaching of Mohammed.

Why the hell are our federal courts even getting involved in this case? There has been no injury to anyone and even the plaintiff can't genuinely claim he's been harmed. The referendum only prohibited the use of foreign law which included Sharia law. The use of Sharia law is obviously unconstitutional since it would violate the separation of church and state. So why would a federal court judge even hear this case and strike down the will of 70% of the people of Oklahoma? What happened to judicial restraint? Federal courts are supposed to hear real disputes where someone is harmed by being denied a right.

As a reminder, Muslims in the past have tried to use Sharia law in our courts here in the U.S., usually without success, but one of them did prevail in New Jersey this past summer. A Muslim woman living in that state was raped by her ex-husband and then was denied a restraining order by New Jersey Judge Joseph Charles who ruled that the husband's actions were consistent with Sharia law, which was practiced in the defendant's native country. The decision was quickly reversed by the New Jersey Appellate court.

The woman’s lawyer, Jennifer Donnelly of New Jersey Legal Services, told FoxNews.com that Charles’ ruling should add to the case for a proposed Oklahoma law, which will be on the ballot in November, which would ban judges from considering “international law or Shariah Law” in their rulings. http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/new-jersey-judge-rules-islamic-sharia-law-trumps-u-s-law/

There have been other attempts and any web search will find them easily. Here is just one. http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/17-civil-legal-cases-in-11-states-involving-shariah-law/

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange has burned the citizens of Oklahoma. This is the same state that tried to limit illegal immigration by making it illegal to employ them only to have the federal courts rule against that legislation. I wrote about it in post #248.

My position has always been that until the federal courts act in the best interest of the American public we should not grant them a raise. Since there has been no effort on the part of federal judges to reform themselves I can't imaging why any American would want to give them more money.

CORNELIUSSEON
12-01-2010, 06:35 PM
An Oklahoma City federal judge Monday ruled against a voter-approved restriction on Islamic law.
http://www.newsok.com/federal-judge-keeps-sharia-law-restriction-out-of-oklahoma-constitution/article/3519080?custom_click=masthead_topten

In a 15-page order, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled that the amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution, which was supported by 70% of Oklahoma voters, was unconstitutional. Her ruling was a victory for an American-born Muslim, Muneer Awad, 27, who had complained his constitutional religious rights were in jeopardy. His Constitutional rights? Our Constitution, which does not recognize Sharia law? This is outrageous. The Oklahoma Constitutional Amendment forbade state courts from considering or using international law or Sharia law. It describes Sharia law as Islamic law based on the Quran and the teaching of Mohammed.

Why the hell are our federal courts even getting involved in this case? There has been no injury to anyone and even the plaintiff can't genuinely claim he's been harmed. The referendum only prohibited the use of foreign law which included Sharia law. The use of Sharia law is obviously unconstitutional since it would violate the separation of church and state. So why would a federal court judge even hear this case and strike down the will of 70% of the people of Oklahoma? What happened to judicial restraint? Federal courts are supposed to hear real disputes where someone is harmed by being denied a right.

As a reminder, Muslims in the past have tried to use Sharia law in our courts here in the U.S., usually without success, but one of them did prevail in New Jersey this past summer. A Muslim woman living in that state was raped by her ex-husband and then was denied a restraining order by New Jersey Judge Joseph Charles who ruled that the husband's actions were consistent with Sharia law, which was practiced in the defendant's native country. The decision was quickly reversed by the New Jersey Appellate court.

The woman’s lawyer, Jennifer Donnelly of New Jersey Legal Services, told FoxNews.com that Charles’ ruling should add to the case for a proposed Oklahoma law, which will be on the ballot in November, which would ban judges from considering “international law or Shariah Law” in their rulings. http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/new-jersey-judge-rules-islamic-sharia-law-trumps-u-s-law/

There have been other attempts and any web search will find them easily. Here is just one. http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/17-civil-legal-cases-in-11-states-involving-shariah-law/

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange has burned the citizens of Oklahoma. This is the same state that tried to limit illegal immigration by making it illegal to employ them only to have the federal courts rule against that legislation. I wrote about it in post #248.

My position has always been that until the federal courts act in the best interest of the American public we should not grant them a raise. Since there has been no effort on the part of federal judges to reform themselves I can't imaging why any American would want to give them more money.


Actually, there is a precedent.

Orthodox Jews don’t accept all of American law, especially the laws that have to do with Marriage, Divorce, Arbitration, Structuring of Loans, Estate planning, and determination of Jewish legal status. For the handling of these issues, they have their own court by the name of “Beth Din”. There is a Beth Din in each nation where they live , and the one in the USA is the Beth Din of America.

The Beth Din of America is a rabbinical court serving affiliated and unaffiliated Jews, including the entire spectrum of the Orthodox Jewish community, and under Jewish law, no matter what an American court says on the above subjects, they still have to present their case to the Beth Din in order for the result to be considered legal and just.

The Beth Din of America was founded in 1960 by the Rabbinical Council of America (http://www.rabbis.org/). In 1994, the Beth Din became an autonomous organization, headed by an independent board of directors.



The Beth Din is overseen by its rabbinic leadership, headed by an Av Beth Din (http://www.bethdin.org/staff-bio.asp#rabbi1) and Segan Av Beth Din (http://www.bethdin.org/staff-bio.asp#rabbi2), and a board of directors composed by lay and rabbinic leaders.

Since its inception nearly fifty years ago, the Beth Din of America has been recognized as one of the nation’s pre-eminent rabbinic courts. It serves the Jewish community of North America as a forum for obtaining Jewish divorces, confirming personal status and adjudicating commercial disputes stemming from divorce, business and community issues.

Firmly anchored in the principles of halacha (Jewish law), the Beth Din has earned a reputation for conducting its affairs with confidentiality, competence, fairness, and integrity. It provides a modern forum that interfaces effectively with contemporary society in a professional, efficient, and user-friendly manner. The Beth Din has thereby earned the confidence of Jews across the ideological spectrum.

The Beth Din is funded by a combination of fees for services, private donations, and support by communal endowments and institutions. Whenever the Beth Din acts as a neutral in a dispute among parties, the Beth Din discloses to the parties all known potential conflicts of interest.

http://www.bethdin.org/index.asp

Battleshort
12-01-2010, 06:58 PM
Seon,

What did that diatribe/rant/rambling/sprawling/staggering/huge/irrelevant post have to do with bombsquad's issue of OUR courts using OTHER laws?

What does Orthodox Jews not "accepting" our laws have to do with anything on this topic? Thay may not accept them, but I'm fairly sure that they have to follow them.

CORNELIUSSEON
12-01-2010, 08:18 PM
Seon,

What did that diatribe/rant/rambling/sprawling/staggering/huge/irrelevant post have to do with bombsquad's issue of OUR courts using OTHER laws?

What does Orthodox Jews not "accepting" our laws have to do with anything on this topic? Thay may not accept them, but I'm fairly sure that they have to follow them.

They both use ancient law from other religions, and - NO - they don't recognize the American Court outcomes of cases that they feel belong in their court unless that outcome agrees with their laws, and even then they have to get a ruling from that court.

But then, I said as much in the original posting, which shows that you either didn't read the original posting, or else you deliberately ignored it and asked the question a second time. From now on, when you ask me a question I know I answered in an original postint, I will only send you back to the original posting for you to read it all again.

Have a good day.

imported_WILDJOKER5
12-02-2010, 10:55 AM
Actually, there is a precedent.

Orthodox Jews don’t accept all of American law, especially the laws that have to do with Marriage, Divorce, Arbitration, Structuring of Loans, Estate planning, and determination of Jewish legal status. For the handling of these issues, they have their own court by the name of “Beth Din”. There is a Beth Din in each nation where they live , and the one in the USA is the Beth Din of America.

The Beth Din of America is a rabbinical court serving affiliated and unaffiliated Jews, including the entire spectrum of the Orthodox Jewish community, and under Jewish law, no matter what an American court says on the above subjects, they still have to present their case to the Beth Din in order for the result to be considered legal and just.

The Beth Din of America was founded in 1960 by the Rabbinical Council of America (http://www.rabbis.org/). In 1994, the Beth Din became an autonomous organization, headed by an independent board of directors.



The Beth Din is overseen by its rabbinic leadership, headed by an Av Beth Din (http://www.bethdin.org/staff-bio.asp#rabbi1) and Segan Av Beth Din (http://www.bethdin.org/staff-bio.asp#rabbi2), and a board of directors composed by lay and rabbinic leaders.

Since its inception nearly fifty years ago, the Beth Din of America has been recognized as one of the nation’s pre-eminent rabbinic courts. It serves the Jewish community of North America as a forum for obtaining Jewish divorces, confirming personal status and adjudicating commercial disputes stemming from divorce, business and community issues.

Firmly anchored in the principles of halacha (Jewish law), the Beth Din has earned a reputation for conducting its affairs with confidentiality, competence, fairness, and integrity. It provides a modern forum that interfaces effectively with contemporary society in a professional, efficient, and user-friendly manner. The Beth Din has thereby earned the confidence of Jews across the ideological spectrum.

The Beth Din is funded by a combination of fees for services, private donations, and support by communal endowments and institutions. Whenever the Beth Din acts as a neutral in a dispute among parties, the Beth Din discloses to the parties all known potential conflicts of interest.

http://www.bethdin.org/index.asp
You seem to be the subject matter expert on this so here is an honest question directed to you.

In the Jewish Beth Din courts, do all parties agree with using the findings of that specific court? In the divorce procedure, can anyone be put to death? Can the husband be allowed to rape his soon to be ex one last time before the marrige is disolved? Does the ex wife have to ask permission from the former husband to get married to someone else if they find someone? Do the women in this law system have any rights to leave the religion if they so choose to, or any rights what so ever like to learn how to read? Do they try to force their laws to work on people outside their religion?

Everything I asked you about is what happens with Shiria(sp) law and try to use their law/religious doctrine in American civilian courts. Hence why Oklahoma tried to keep out by voting on it.

CORNELIUSSEON
12-02-2010, 05:02 PM
You seem to be the subject matter expert on this so here is an honest question directed to you.

In the Jewish Beth Din courts, do all parties agree with using the findings of that specific court? In the divorce procedure, can anyone be put to death? Can the husband be allowed to rape his soon to be ex one last time before the marrige is disolved? Does the ex wife have to ask permission from the former husband to get married to someone else if they find someone? Do the women in this law system have any rights to leave the religion if they so choose to, or any rights what so ever like to learn how to read? Do they try to force their laws to work on people outside their religion?

Everything I asked you about is what happens with Shiria(sp) law and try to use their law/religious doctrine in American civilian courts. Hence why Oklahoma tried to keep out by voting on it.

To answer your first question, here is the standard Prunuptual Agreement that Orthodox Jews who conform to Jewish Law sign before they get married. http://theprenup.org/index.html

The use of the Prenup is an American legalism they adopted to tie Jewish Law with American Law. There are other methodologies that they likewise use to join Jewish Law with American Law.

As to your other questions, you can find the answers for them in the first five books of the Old Testament. These books form the “Pentateuch”, which is a 15th Century Christian word for the Jewish “Torah”. It was the invention of this word that made it politically possible for Christianity to use those five books as the source of its Religious and Secular law, and yet discriminate against the Jews who wrote those books in the first place. Actually, both Christianity and Judaism followed those books strictly until they both became more politically enlightened, and started to separate the laws that marked both religions as Barbarous from those that worked no matter how enlightened they became. Orthodox Jews learned early that if they were to survive in the larger world they would have to follow the Dictum made famous when quoted by Jesus: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. Following this Dictum, they have survived in such countries as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and China.

Something else that highlights Orthodox Jews is the fact that some of their most strict groups maintain communities where they can maintain Jewish law within the limits imposed by American law, but out of sight and away from interference from the surrounding Christian community. There are several of these around the US, the most famous of which is the Village of Kiryas Joel, New York 10950. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiryas_Joel,_New_York

You can find population and economic data for Kiryas Joel here: http://www.city-data.com/city/Kiryas-Joel-New-York.html


Actually, if you were to do any reading about Islam itself, you would find that many of those abhorrent behaviors you cite are leftovers from the Cultural Norms of the communities that practiced them before they converted to Islam, which is just as true for Christianity and Judaism. There is such a thing as Moderate Islam and Liberal Islam, just as there is Devout Islam. Likewise, within Islam, you find such Denominations as:

*Sunnah: http://www.sunnah.org/
*Shia: http://www.shia.org/

*For the differences between the two, look here:

*Sufi: http://www.sufiorder.org/ (]http://www.islamfortoday.com/shia.htm[/url)
*Kharijism: http://www.princeton.edu/~batke/itl/denise/kharijis.htm (l)

*More can be found on the groups and differences here: [url=]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_schools_and_branches

imported_WILDJOKER5
12-02-2010, 05:22 PM
To answer your first question, here is the standard Prunuptual Agreement that Orthodox Jews who conform to Jewish Law sign before they get married. http://theprenup.org/index.html

The use of the Prenup is an American legalism they adopted to tie Jewish Law with American Law. There are other methodologies that they likewise use to join Jewish Law with American Law.

As to your other questions, you can find the answers for them in the first five books of the Old Testament. These books form the “Pentateuch”, which is a 15th Century Christian word for the Jewish “Torah”. It was the invention of this word that made it politically possible for Christianity to use those five books as the source of its Religious and Secular law, and yet discriminate against the Jews who wrote those books in the first place. Actually, both Christianity and Judaism followed those books strictly until they both became more politically enlightened, and started to separate the laws that marked both religions as Barbarous from those that worked no matter how enlightened they became. Orthodox Jews learned early that if they were to survive in the larger world they would have to follow the Dictum made famous when quoted by Jesus: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. Following this Dictum, they have survived in such countries as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and China.

Something else that highlights Orthodox Jews is the fact that some of their most strict groups maintain communities where they can maintain Jewish law within the limits imposed by American law, but out of sight and away from interference from the surrounding Christian community. There are several of these around the US, the most famous of which is the Village of Kiryas Joel, New York 10950. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiryas_Joel,_New_York

You can find population and economic data for Kiryas Joel here: http://www.city-data.com/city/Kiryas-Joel-New-York.html


Actually, if you were to do any reading about Islam itself, you would find that many of those abhorrent behaviors you cite are leftovers from the Cultural Norms of the communities that practiced them before they converted to Islam, which is just as true for Christianity and Judaism. There is such a thing as Moderate Islam and Liberal Islam, just as there is Devout Islam. Likewise, within Islam, you find such Denominations as:

*Sunnah: http://www.sunnah.org/
*Shia: http://www.shia.org/

*For the differences between the two, look here:

*Sufi: http://www.sufiorder.org/ (]http://www.islamfortoday.com/shia.htm[/url)
*Kharijism: http://www.princeton.edu/~batke/itl/denise/kharijis.htm (l)

*More can be found on the groups and differences here: [url=]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_schools_and_branches

So, the short answer is? NO?

ChiefB
12-03-2010, 01:30 PM
Chief, the pay raise for 1990-2009 is 76.8%. The overall raise is 480% since 1960.

Right you are...I've made the changes. Thanks for the heads-up.:embarrassed

bombsquadron6
12-05-2010, 05:19 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next Wednesday over Arizona’s employer sanctions law. http://oneoldvet.com/?p=24812

This law allows Arizona's county prosecutors to suspend or revoke the licenses of businesses that knowingly hire illegals. Both this law and Arizona's SB1070, their illegal immigration law, are being challenged in federal court but SB1070 has not yet made it to the Supreme Court. However, I expect it will. The argument by those opposed to both these laws is that immigration control is a federal matter. So if the feds aren't doing their jobs we should just turn a blind eye to the illegals pouring into this country, often through Arizona.

I don't know how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on this case but based on their deplorable track record of protecting our borders I'm guessing they will find it unconstitutional.

bombsquadron6
12-21-2010, 04:30 PM
A federal appeals court on Monday shot down a request to hear a case from the Utah Highway Patrol Association, which wants to reverse a ruling that banned the organization from putting its logo on crosses to honor troopers killed in the line of duty.http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50912044-76/crosses-court-case-judges.html.csp

I wrote about the 10th Circuit's decision, ruling against the Utah Highway Patrol, in post #257 of this blog. The UHP asked for a reconsideration or an en banc rehearing but were denied. Another grand victory for the American Atheists, Inc! Keeping us safe from memorial crosses since 2005. And thanks again to Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Deanell Tacha, Carlos Lucero, Michael Murphy, Harris Hartz and Jerome Holmes for making yet another inane ruling which strengthens my argument that federal judges do not deserve a pay raise. Way to go, Tenth Circuit!

http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/08/08-4061.pdf

garhkal
12-22-2010, 04:31 AM
Personally i feel all federal judges should be like mayors.. they should have to RUN for the office and be voted in BY the public they serve!

bombsquadron6
12-23-2010, 06:20 AM
There definitely needs to be oversight of them. They are out of control and drunk on their own power.

Sensible
01-03-2011, 03:35 PM
There is oversight. Its called the Separation of Powers -- which includes the ability to impeach by the Legislative Branch. By the Executive Branch it is the ability to deny promotions within the federal judiciary and the ability to seek criminal indictments. There is also the ability to overturn rulings on appeal. Has worked for over 200 years.

bombsquadron6
01-03-2011, 04:49 PM
It did work well for 200 years. For the past 20 plus years the federal courts have begun catering to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and applying international law rather than relying on the Constitution. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, by the way, should change it's name since it represents multi-national corporations and not the interests of mainstream American businesses. The U.S. C. of C. shares the goal of applying international law. Federal judges have become politicized and no longer rely on the Constitution as much as their own political ideologies. They increasingly whore themselves to corporate interests and we Americans are the victims.

Sensible
01-16-2011, 04:00 PM
I know another thing that should be done....Virtually every of week I hear reports of problems with transit workers. Many of them text while they drive. Not too long ago one was texting in the D.C. area and that resulted in a crash that killed three people. A similar incident happened in San Antonio recently. I ride the bus here in Houston and I am astounded by the negligence I see. Two people from my office building have been killed by negligence of City of Houston bus drivers. Something must be done! I know the solution ... let give all transit workers in America annual pay adjustments less than the inflation rate for the next 15 years. For three of those years lets freeze their pay altogether. Let's put the screws to them until they reform themselves!!!

To the reader ... of course I am being tongue-in-cheek when I made the above proposal. However, that is prescisely what Ms. Burke advocates with the federal judges. I am just pointing out her logic in the context of a work setting that hits closer to her home.

bombsquadron6
01-16-2011, 05:22 PM
Yeah. Let's just make the same arguments over and over and over ad nauseam. For the record, there is a zero tolerance policy in place at every transit system I know of regarding cell phone use while driving. These new reg came about as a result of the horrific commuter train crash in L.A. that was caused by an engineer who was texting. I will get fired immediately if I am caught using a cell phone while driving my light rail train. The FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) enforces these regs strictly. While the FRA does not have jurisdiction over bus transit and only limited oversight of most light rail operations such as the one I work for, I am in favor of expanded oversight of transit operations. Without it the transit companies are sometimes tempted to cut corners on safety.

So until federal judges can be fired for incompetence or dishonesty, and when they agree to have some oversight, your argument is irrelevant.

bombsquadron6
01-16-2011, 07:09 PM
Oh, and BTW, you can be assured that the vast majority of us transit workers are getting no pay raises these days. Transit companies are all struggling because of the current national economic woes and pay raises stopped some time ago.

Sensible
01-16-2011, 10:53 PM
Ms. Burke, your argument about regs and "strict enforcement" against transit workers is a distinction without a difference. Why? Because so many innocent people are killed every year by these unethical drivers who don't follow the rules, I don't think it is good enough just to have these policies in place. Clearly the transit workers ignore the rules quite often. I think transit workers deserve a backdoor paycut, until they reform themselves and change their ways. Three years without a raise for transit workers isn't nearly good enough, just as their paying lip service to a reg isn't good enough. Think of all the people who have lost their lives because of their improper conduct. They deserve 16 years in a row of de facto pay cuts!

To the reader -- again I am being tonge in cheek. However, doesn't my argument for the treatment of transit workers sound familiar? Just read Ms. Burke's arguments about how she agrees with the pay policies that have been enforced against the federal judges since the early 90's.

bombsquadron6
01-17-2011, 04:04 PM
Just for the record, when we sued the transit company and the sham, company-controlled union in federal court six years ago, we made a big issue of safety and documented how the union and the company were ignoring glaring safety deficiencies. We wanted a union that would stand up to the company to protect the workers and the public. The federal judge ignored all of our evidence regarding safety and prevented us from examining this and other issues so that he could rule against us. So don't even joke about transit workers being unsafe, Sensible. Were that true, the federal courts share the blame.

bombsquadron6
02-18-2011, 07:13 PM
Judicial Transparency and Ethics Enhancement Act of 2011

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, both Republicans, have introduced legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, to create an Inspector General for the Judicial Branch.

“Federal judges should live by the highest of standards. When misconduct, waste, fraud and abuse occur, the public’s confidence in the federal judiciary is eroded,” Grassley said. “A good inspector general can detect, expose and deter problems and restore accountability with the American people.” http://grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=31075

Congressman Sensenbrenner said, “Creating an independent Inspector General for the Judicial Branch will help provide the American public with some peace of mind that there is oversight over those entrusted with the grave responsibility of interpreting the laws of the land." http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=225193

Apparently the need for oversight of the Federal Judiciary has come to the attention of Congress, or at least some sensible members of it.

Congressional efforts to establish oversight of federal courts would not be necessary if the federal judiciary itself had made any effort at all to reform and police its members. As a group they have been obstinate and unwilling to demand accountability from their members. Leadership begins at the top and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has made no demands for accountability from federal judges although he is quick to remind us that they should be paid more.

The Senate and House bills were introduced on February 15, 2011 and at this writing have not yet been assigned numbers, however, as soon as they are I will post that info here so that you can track this legislation yourself. It's actually kind of fun to do. You can see if your own Senators and Rep are supporting these and any other bills you might have interest in. I have already called the offices of my Senators to request that they support this legislation and am about to call the office of my Representative.

Senator Grassley has also introduced legislation to allow cameras in federal courtrooms. It is designed to illuminate the proceedings and encourage government accountability. Had the courtroom proceedings in my particular case been filmed, the judges involved might have been less inclined to behave as they did. The district court judge brazenly displayed contempt for us and ignored established protocols and rules of civil procedure. (As a reminder, after I filed complaints and sent them to every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Senator Grassley, this ambitious federal judge resigned two months later.) The behavior of the panel of judges at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals was particularly egregious because in addition to not being filmed we had no ability to obtain the transcripts, thus they knew they could do anything they wanted and we would have no record of it. This included one woman judge yelling at our attorney because he had proven that the district court judge was biased against us. She showed no interest in the legal aspects of the case, but was apparently only interested in browbeating our attorney to protect a fellow federal judge. Another judge on the panel was ninety years old and appeared for all the world to be senile. It was a courtroom wonderland and we watched in shock. So film federal court proceedings and maybe other people won't have to endure what we did. I know it is tedious of me to keep bringing up my own experience in federal court but it was so fraught with misconduct and bias, and the judges showed such contempt and disdain for the law, rules and fundamental fairness that it is an excellent example of a federal judiciary run amok. It would be hard to find a more shameless, brazen example of judicial abuse and I will continue to use it to illustrate why the federal courts need oversight. Of course, at the time, these same federal judges were also lobbying the public for a hefty pay raise, which, as you know, outraged me and was the basis for this blog. http://www.youtube.com/user/SenChuckGrassley

If you are fortunate enough to live in Iowa or the Fifth Congressional district of Wisconsin, I hope you will contact Senator Grassley or Representative Sensenbrenner to thank them for their efforts to bring accountability to the federal courts. Both men are ethical, honorable members of Congress and deserve the admiration of all of us.

garhkal
02-19-2011, 07:26 AM
Now if they can actually do something, that might be worthy of note.

bombsquadron6
02-21-2011, 12:42 AM
If they start showing some concern for us citizens that would be noteworthy. Thanks for the support, Garhkal.

bombsquadron6
02-28-2011, 02:02 PM
The bills that I referred to above have been assigned niumbers. The House bill, sponsored by Representative Sensenbrenner is H.R.727. http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h727/show
The Senate version, sponsored by Senator Grassley, is S.348. http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s348/show

Of course, I advocate passage of these bills and think that the counrty would be better off with some oversight of the judiciary.

Sensible
02-28-2011, 08:52 PM
Here is a recent article showing pay trends for top lawyers in the private sector. Most federal judges would fall into this category in the private sector ... if not they should because their responsibilities far exceed that of any private sector attorney. BTW ... at only $170,000 a year federal judges make less than $100 an hour (assuming 2000 hours worked per annum).


Big Law's $1,000-Plus an Hour Club
by Vanessa O'Connell
Friday, February 25, 2011
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Leading attorneys in the U.S. are asking as much as $1,250 an hour, significantly more than in previous years, taking advantage of big clients' willingness to pay top dollar for certain types of services.


A few pioneers had raised their fees to more than $1,000 an hour about five years ago, at the peak of the economic boom. But after the recession hit, many of the rest of the industry's elite were hesitant, until recently, to charge more than $990 an hour.

While companies have cut legal budgets and continue to push for hourly discounts and capped-fee deals with their law firms, many of them have shown they won't skimp on some kinds of legal advice, especially in high-stakes situations or when they think a star attorney might resolve their problem faster and more efficiently than a lesser-known talent.

Harvey Miller, a bankruptcy partner at New York-based Weil, Gotshal & Manges, said his firm had an "artificial constraint" limiting top partners' hourly fee because "$1,000 an hour is a lot of money." It got rid of the cap after studying filings that showed other lawyers surpassing that barrier by about $50.

[More from WSJ.com: Chart: The Country's Most Expensive Attorneys]

Today Mr. Miller and some other lawyers at Weil Gotshal ask as much as $1,045 an hour. "The underlying principle is if you can get it, get it," he said.

"Not many attorneys can command four figures hourly, and I do have trouble swallowing that," said Thomas L. Sager, general counsel at chemical maker DuPont Co. Still, he added, DuPont pays more than $1,000 an hour to a "select few," particularly for mergers-and-acquisitions advice.

Janine Dascenzo, associate general counsel of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE - News), said that her company is willing to pay what it must when it needs a lawyer with "unique" expertise. "We'll keep paying them a lot of money, because they're worth that," she added.

Industrywide, attorneys in finance-related practices such as M&A, bankruptcy law and taxes, tend to command a premium to their peers in other specialties.

One of the priciest attorneys over the past year, according to court filings, has been Kirk A. Radke, whose specialty at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in New York is advising clients on leveraged buyouts and forming private-equity funds. As of early 2010, Mr. Radke, whose clients include private-equity firm Avista Capital Partners, had an hourly fee of $1,250.

Mr. Radke and Kirkland & Ellis declined to comment, as did Avista Capital.

[More from WSJ.com: On Billing Over $1,000 an Hour: 'If You Can Get It, Get It']

Such rates are contributing to inflation across the $100 billion-a-year global corporate-law industry as the slow economic recovery has left many law firms struggling to finance the hefty pay packages they award their stars. Since most law partners bill roughly 2,000 hours, those asking $1,100 hourly will bring in $2.2 million, a few million short of the $3 million or $4 million in annual compensation star attorneys get at many big firms.

To help fill the gap, the firms rely on the profit they often reap on the work of junior attorneys, or associates. Dozens of associates at a time can work on a single case, and some firms bill as much as $700 an hour for their time, according to Valeo Partners, a Washington consulting firm that maintains a database of hourly legal rates in fields such as litigation, corporate law and intellectual property.

That strategy can fuel tensions with clients. "We are much less willing to pay an army of associates at the ever-increasing rate," said GE's Ms. Dascenzo.

"Plenty of clients say to me, 'I don't have any problems with your rate,'" said William F. Nelson, a Washington-based tax partner at Bingham McCutchen, who commands $1,095 an hour, up from $1,065 last year. "But there is price pressure for associates, especially junior lawyers.

A small but growing number of top lawyers are using other arrangements in place of hourly billing. David Boies, chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner and a prominent trial lawyer, charges $960 an hour, a spokeswoman for the firm said. But just a third of his time is devoted to matters that are billed hourly. More often his deals with clients involve alternatives such as pegging fees to his success, she said.

More typically, big law firms' managing partners dictate hourly rates annually, often studying what their rivals charge, according to disclosures in their attorney-fee filings in corporate-bankruptcy cases, which provide a rare public peek at the industry. Such cases involve more than just bankruptcy lawyers; they frequently draw in a range of attorneys, including specialists in such areas as taxes, product liability and environmental and intellectual-property law.

[More from WSJ.com: Where Have the Good Men Gone?]

This year, top litigators at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, a Philadelphia-based firm, are asking as much as $1,200 an hour. A spokeswoman for the firm said "less than 1% of our partners are at rates of $1,000 or more."

Gregory B. Craig, a former counsel to the Obama White House who joined Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP a year ago as a Washington-based litigation partner, is asking $1,065 an hour, according to a court filing last month. Skadden Arps declined to comment. Mr. Craig didn't respond to a request for comment

M&A lawyer John M. Reiss, from White & Case in New York, started billing $1,100 an hour last year. "Some clients do focus on the hourly rate, but in the end what really matters is their total cost and whether they got a fair price," said Mr. Reiss.

In recent years, pressure from clients for discounts has made it increasingly difficult for law firms to increase their lawyers' fees across the board. Hourly rates for partners rose by an average 3% in 2009 and 2010, and 2.3% this year, compared with an 8% increase in 2008, according to Hildebrandt Baker Robbins. The average law-firm partner now asks $635 an hour and bills $575, the firm said. But a small group of attorneys in some specialties command significantly more.

Nearly 2.9% of partners at a group of 24 large U.S. and British law firms asked for $1,000 an hour or more in U.S. cases last year, up from 1.5% in 2009, according to Valeo.

London-based lawyers have tended to charge higher per-hour rates than their U.S.-based counterparts. However, London attorneys typically don't bill as many hours on a case as do U.S. attorneys, some lawyers say.

"A thousand dollars an hour was a choke point for some clients," said Peter Zeughauser, a consultant to law firms. "I don't think there will be another significant psychological barrier until rates reach $2,000 an hour, which they will do, probably in five to seven years."

garhkal
03-01-2011, 12:19 AM
Overpaid suits...

Sensible
03-01-2011, 01:02 AM
Garhkal - I agree ... I wouldn't want to pay that amount, but if you're doing something like preventing BP from going bankrupt in federal court, maybe its worth it.

My point is ... judges paid about 1/12th their peers. A more interesting point can be shown by the uscourts.gov website:


"The annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) mechanism for judges established under the Ethics Reform Act has not operated as intended. Since 1992, the pay of most federal workers has increased by 91 percent, while inflation has increased by 36 percent. However, judicial pay has fallen way behind, increasing by only 39 percent over this time.

The repeated denials of the COLAs in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007, and 2010 have created major and growing financial losses for judges: a district court judge on the bench since 1993 failed to receive a total of $283,100 in statutorily authorized but denied pay. Appellate court judges have lost even more."

bombsquadron6
03-01-2011, 07:57 AM
Is the American public really supposed to be impressed that some attorneys are making 1000 dollars an hour to defend the likes of BP or Exxon or any other large corporation? These corporations have no loyalty to us nor any sense of responsibility to do the right thing. It's just about money. Only a couple of years ago fishermen in Prince William Sound began to receive some of the settlement money from the Exxon Valdez disaster-twenty years after it happened. Who delayed the settlements? Oh, I guess that would be those wonderful 1000 dollar an hour attorneys that Sensible so reveres. And Exxon probably had a hundred of them working to make sure they didn't have to pay up for a couple of decades. (Exxon still owes tens of millions more.)

You've made this argument nonstop for three years, Sensible. Federal judges should be paid a lot more because they could make boatloads of dough as corporate attorneys, screwing Americans and destroying the environment and people's livelihoods. I've long suspected you are a federal judge and if so, perhaps it is time to lose the black robe and follow your heart. There must be lots of corporations that would hire you since you have all the necesary skills- a love of money over justice and lots of cool connections to other federal judges. Go for it!

Sensible
03-01-2011, 02:59 PM
Lolololololol. In all respect, Lisa, your most recent post contains several obvious misstatements. First, it implies that the $1k+ per hour lawyers who represent big business are the kings of the hill in terms of practitioner pay. Far far from it! The kings of the hill are the trial attorneys who represent the "little guy." Take for example the illustrious John Edwards. Grossed more than $15 million representing a little girl and her parents against the City of Greensboro, NC, about 15 yrs ago. Or take John O'Quinn from Houston. Made hundreds of millions representing women in breast implant cases against Dow Corning. When he died last year, it was revealed that he had the world's largest collection of antique cars. Then there's Richard Mitoff. Made $18 million representing the City of Houston in a mediation (about a month’s work – works out to be about $150,000 an hour!). Of course, plaintiff’s attorney Joe Jamail made the list of Forbes billionaires. He spent an entire career representing "the little guy." Then there’s Frank Branson, Paul Gold, Howard Nations, Wayne Fisher and Walter Humphreys to name a few. I could go on and on and on about plaintiff lawyers representing the little guy who make many times more than the defense lawyer representing big companies for $1k+ an hour!

The second area where you are wrong is you seem to think the public doesn't pay for these fees. Come on Ms. Burke! Who do you think really takes the hit for these fees, whether the plaintiffs’ or the defendants’? The public of course because they are just passed along in the form of higher costs for goods and services and insurance premiums. I only pointed these things out to show the reader the magnitude of the screw job being done to the federal judges.

Here's the thing. It’s not so much the relatively low pay compared to what the judge's peers earn. It’s that plus there appears to be no end in sight to the downward spiral they are on -- where their annual pay adjustments are dramatically less than other federal employees and those in private practice. That type of pay policy absolutely destroys morale and no one wants a job like that. Remember these judges were being mistreated in the COLA department for many many years before the current recession. They were getting no raises or virtually no raises even during the best of times (late 90’s), when the average federal employee was receiving pay increases of historic proportions. Here is the real tragedy. The federal judiciary as a whole is seriously weakened by these pay policies. I just look at the judges here in Houston. We have not seen a new judge take the bench here with a truly outstanding legal mind since Lee Rosenthal in 1992. Well, one thing is clear. The public is getting what it pays for -- or in this case fails to pay for.

bombsquadron6
03-01-2011, 03:17 PM
Sensible, your comments are just a rehash of your previous posts and ignore the present issue. Contrary to your numerous assertions to the contrary, there is a way to constitutionally increase oversight of federal judges as these new bills demonstrate. I have maintained all along that the American public deserves to have increased oversight of the federal judiciary and then we can address pay raises. So tell us what you think of Senator Grassley's and Representative Sensenbrenner's bills? Keep in mind, both are very conservative members of Congress and each is on their respective Judiciary Committee. Can you possibly stop obsessing about money long enough to offer an opinion?

Sensible
03-01-2011, 03:28 PM
The only type of oversight a federal judge can have in the context of his decision making is an appeal or, if there is evidence of wrongdoing (e.g., bribery) -- impeachment.

Outside the context of decision making (e.g., personal conduct -- the Sam Kent situation) I have no problem with oversight. Reason for this distinction? Because to allow any oversight into the decision making process would seriously harm the independence of the federal judiciary. That is something that is not allowed by the constitution, and not envisioned by the founding fathers. It would be the same as having the judges veto a bill, or vote on a bill or a treaty. So as long as you mean oversight into their personal conduct I have not problem. Outside that area I have a big problem. No oversight into judicial decision making has ever been allowed in our 200 plus year history and would violate the Separation of Powers clause, and thus reduce the federal judiciary to a branch of government that is inferior to the other two branches.

bombsquadron6
03-01-2011, 03:40 PM
Oh for God's sake Sensible. The bills expressly prohibit any interference in the decisions that federal judges make. It addresses abuses like those that occurred in my case-flagrant abuse of power and misconduct. If federal judges knew their actions could be held up to scrutiny instead of excused by their fellow federal judges they might decide that misconduct isn't worth the price. Why don't you read the bills before you offer an opinion?

Sensible
03-01-2011, 05:58 PM
Haven't read the bill because I am covered up right now! Lol All I know is there would have to be lots of safeguards to prevent unhappy litigants from using this law to harrass and try to intimidate judges. Having been an attorney for thirty years I could easily see that taking place. That type of practice could have a chilling effect on the judges in certain situations. For example, if it is later determined that the claim was without merit then the person making the claim would need to pay very hefty sanctions. Something along those lines.

Interesting thing would be if the law were struck down by the courts. Nothing anyone could do about that. I mean they, not Congress, are the final arbiters of what the Constitution says.

bombsquadron6
03-01-2011, 06:19 PM
Interesting thing would be if the law were struck down by the courts. Nothing anyone could do about that. I mean they, not Congress, are the final arbiters of what the Constitution says.

WOW! A Congressional bill to create and Inspector General to oversee the federal courts could be struck down by the federal courts! No conflict of interest there!

Sensible
03-01-2011, 09:06 PM
Don't be surprised, Lisa. The federal courts have the authority to declare any statute and any executive order unconstitutional. Nothing new about that. Been that way since the beginning of the Republic. Since the Supreme Court's decision in Marbury v. Madison more than 200 years ago.

bombsquadron6
03-02-2011, 03:06 PM
And of course you presume I did not know this! Wow again. Could you be any more condescending, Sensible? I'm sure that Senator Grassley and Representative Sensenbrenner are aware of this but perhaps you should inform them just in case.

Sensible
03-02-2011, 08:44 PM
Didn't mean to come accross that way. I don't know what you do and don't know. I do know that Sen. Grassley and Rep. Sensenbrenner are treading into uncharted waters with such a proposal. There are some who may say that the proposal is trying to make the judical branch of government the step child of the legislative branch with such a bill, when it is a branch that is entitled to equal dignity. Some may say, hey, since our branch is equal to yours, we will go along with that proposal if you will allow us to set up an oversight committee over your oversight committee so we can oversee the overseers. After all, the voters are the only ones who oversee congressmen and senators and the that is pretty thin oversight when we consider the power of patronage in our system ---basically it works like legalized bribery (if you donate for my campaign I will vote for legislation that advances your interests). Democracy in action. You've got to love it.

bombsquadron6
03-04-2011, 05:42 PM
Much has been written about the U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows members of the Westboro Baptist Church the unrestrained right to torment the families and disrupt the funerals of military men and women killed in war. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion and seven of the eight remaining Justices joined him. Only Justice Samuel Alito dissented and said, "the First Amendment does not convey the right to "brutalize" private individuals." Chief Justice Roberts suggests that this decision is a great victory for the First Amendment. Far from it. The First Amendment comes with responsibilities and a decision that allows vicious psychotics the right to disrupt the most somber of events is not a victory. It means that the Westboro members and people like them now have the ability to torment all of us and we have no recourse. But, should I choose to become a ranting, raving psycho, my right to torment others is protected.

The majority of the Supreme Court and legal scholars are quick to remind the rest of us that we don't understand the intent of the First Amendment if we object to this decision. Obviously, we are not sophisticated enough to grasp that this is in our best interest. I will make this analogy to the public and pose this question to the Supreme Court. If I go into a federal courtroom as a litigant, and see that I am being denied all due process and that justice is not being served, can I disrupt the proceedings and call the judges names? No, because I would be restrained, charged with contempt of court and thrown in jail. I am expected to have respect for the dignified proceedings and observe the proper decorum. So, while I cannot do anything disruptive in Chief Justice John Robert's courtroom, he says the Phelps can disrupt military funerals as much as they want to. I would say that Chief Justice Roberts along with Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer and Ginsburg are hypocrites. They would not tolerate this behavior for a moment but they will inflict it on the rest of us.

Should we give federal judges pay raises? I would answer that we should impeach Chief Justice John Roberts instead.

bombsquadron6
03-05-2011, 04:10 PM
And this week's award winner in the Federal Courts' "Do As I Say and Not As I Do" contest goes to the Manhattan Federal Court and its judges! Julian P. Heicklen was indicted recently for handing out pamphlets encouraging jurors to ignore the law if they disagree with it, and to render verdicts based on conscience. That concept, called jury nullification, is highly controversial, and courts are hostile to it. But federal prosecutors have now taken the unusual step of having Heicklen indicted on a charge that his distributing of such pamphlets at the courthouse entrance violates the law against jury tampering. http://www.centredaily.com/2011/02/25/2545244/jury-nullification-advocate-julian.html

So crackpots can wildly disrupt the funerals of soldiers killed in war-NO PROBLEM! But if an oddball pickets a federal courthouse and the judges don't like him, he winds up as a defendant in front of them. Way to go Federal Courts! Give these judges a pay raise immediately!

Sensible
03-05-2011, 07:54 PM
On an emotional level, I certainly agree with Ms. Burke on the Westboro Baptist ruling. What those people did to the family of the deceased soldier is totally outrageous, disgusting and morally unjustifiable. On an intellectual level, however, with an 8 to 1 majority, we have to admit that the justices were likely following established precedent. I have not analyzed the opinion so I do not know that for a fact, but when we look at who sided with the majority, we know this likely has to be the case. Ginsberg (very liberal), Kagan (liberal), Sotomayor (liberal) and Scalia (very conservative) and Roberts (conservative) agreeing on something of this nature? This is the most logical explanation. If I am correct, then all you can say is that they did something we need to see more out of Washington. They took unpopular positions knowing that they would take flack for it, but did so because they were properly doing their jobs (following the law and not basing an important legal decision on passion or emotion). Maybe if Congress were to act courageously instead of taking the easy, popular route we would not be in our current situation as a country. Clearly Congress overpromised the public in order to make itself more popular and the result is that we are now $14 trillion plus in debt and the Fed is having to print money like crazy. As a result I fully anticipate that the American dollar will collapse within 3 years because we cannot pay the interest on this debt.

By the way ... sounds like the system is working with Judge Heicklen -- if he indeed broke the law, then like Judge Kent he is to pay a heavy price. Similar to the price paid by all these transit workers across America whose negligence kills innocent people -- they will all go to prison. No need to punish all judges for this misconduct, anymore than a need to punish all transit workers for the misconduct of the few.

"Give the judges a pay raise immediately" is such a misnomer. Average federal worker pay up 90.8% since 1992. Inflation up 52.9%since then. District court compensation up an amazingly low 39.1% (basically resulting in a huge back door pay cut for them). See http://www.uscourts.gov/JudgesAndJudgeships/JudicialCompensation/JudicialPayIncreaseFact.aspx. Give me a break. The honest way, Ms. Burke, to frame things would be to say "discontinue giving all federal judges back door pay cuts indefinitely."

bombsquadron6
03-05-2011, 08:07 PM
By the way ... sounds like the system is working with Judge Heicklen -- if he indeed broke the law, then like Judge Kent he is to pay a heavy price. Similar to the price paid by all these transit workers across America whose negligence kills innocent people -- they will all go to prison. No need to punish all judges for this misconduct, anymore than a need to punish all transit workers for the misconduct of the few.

Sensible, It's JULIAN Heicklen, not JUDGE Heicklen. Mr. Heicklen is just a citizen who, although a little weird perhaps, was exercising his First Amendment right to free speech but the federal judges didn't like him hanging around their courthouse passing out literature about jury nullification. Free speech is fine as long as you don't piss off the federal judges with it. Hypocrisy with a capital H.

Sensible
03-06-2011, 01:05 AM
I see. My blunder ... I misread the fact pattern of the Heicklen matter. LOL Well, that even more so shows the situations are not analagous and that cannot be a basis for saying federal judges are hypocrites. Why? Trust me when I tell you the district judges have absolutely no control over prosecutor's decisions. All the judges can do is complain to the U.S. Attorney ... they cannot compel him to bring charges. After all, one group is from the Second Branch of Govenment and the other is from the Third. In fact, based on personal experience we were very frequently at odds with the judges in matters of criminal law! Further, to give the prosecutors extra protection against over bearing judges, they put in charge each local federal prosecutor's office a person who is a presidential appointee -- the U.S. Attorney. Federal judges do not control federal prosectors. So if Mr. Heicklen was indicted, that is between him and the U.S. Justice Dept., not the federal judiciary. Now, if he does not recieved a fair trial, that will of course be a different matter. But the mere fact he was indicted has no bearing on federal judges.

bombsquadron6
03-06-2011, 02:12 AM
Trust me when I tell you the district judges have absolutely no control over prosecutor's decisions. All the judges can do is complain to the U.S. Attorney ... they cannot compel him to bring charges.

And that's probably exactly what happened here. The judges were complaining bitterly about the guy who was handing out pamphlets informing people about jury nullification. The U.S. Attorney decided to indict him and Heicklen lands in front of a federal judge who is pissed at him from the outset. If the judge thought the U.S. Attorney had been wrong to indict Heicklen he could have dismissed the charges immediately and reprimanded the U.S. Attorney. That obviously didn't happen. So don't try to convince me or anyone else that the judges in this district court are innocent. This case has their fingerprints all over it.

Sensible
03-06-2011, 05:38 AM
For Heaven's sake, Ms. Burke. We definitely do not have a perfect system, but this system is better than any other on earth against being wrongfully convicted. First, the accused has to get the prosecutor to seek an indictment. Second, the grand jury must indict. Third there has to be 12 petit jurors all say that the person is guilty of what he has been accused of doing. Fourth, the standard that is applied is beyond any reasonable doubt. Fifth, that conviction must pass muster through the appeal process. So there exists safeguards built upon safeguards built upon safeguards. Perfect system? No, but since we are all only human there is no such thing as a perfect system.

bombsquadron6
03-06-2011, 03:46 PM
No one, including me, has ever said that the judicial system must be perfect. You are just repeating the mantra that all of us have heard over and over, "This is the best system in the world." But you never, never say, "It could be better."
You seem to suggest that the flagrant abuses that I have cited to are just the cost of doing business.

Mr. Heicklen is charged with Jury Tampering for standing outside a federal courthouse in New York City and quietly handing out info about jury nullification. He has been doing this since 2009 and it is no secret that it angered the federal judges in the courthouse. An indictment was handed down on November 18, 2010 and he received a summons on January 13, 2011. He is acting as his own attorney and he did not show up at the first hearing on January 24, 2011. The federal court then issued a warrant for his arrest and he was arrested on February 18, 2011 at 6:00 a.m. and was brought into the federal court for a hearing at 3:35 that afternoon. He had to post a $2500 bond. The judge entered a plea of not guilty for Mr. Heicklen who is acting as his own attorney although there is at least one attorney on standby in case he needs help. The following is the minute entry on the docket for Mr. Heicklen's case dated February 25, 2011:

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Kimba M. Wood: Arraignment as to Julian Heicklen (1) Count 1 held on 2/25/2011. Defendant is present, pro se. Federal Defender Sabrina Shroff is present as stand-by counsel. AUSA Rebecca Mermelstein is present. Court reporter Martha Drevis is present. Conference is held (see transcript). The Court allocates the defendant regarding his right to an attorney and his decision to proceed pro se. Stand-by counsel Sabrina Shroff shall remain on the case. The defendant is arraigned; the Court will enter a not guilty plea on the defendant's behalf. The Government shall provide discovery to the defendant and Ms. Shroff within two weeks from today. A control date for the next conference is scheduled for 4/28/2011 at 11:00 AM. Time is excluded through 4/28/2011. (ab) (Entered: 02/28/2011)

This case will go forward and the next hearing is on April 28, 2011. Federal District Court Judge Kimba Wood has obviously not done the right thing and dismissed this case. The federal courts and the U.S. Attorney's office are willing to waste public money to hold a trial for a kind of nutty but harmless old guy who just want to pass out literature in front of the courthouse. But they don't like the literature. Westboro psychos can brutalize and torment the families of slain soldiers but the federal courts won't put up with an oddbal outside their courthouse. First Amendment? What the hell is that?

(My info regarding this case is taken directly form the court docket.)

Sensible
03-06-2011, 04:00 PM
"Mr. Heicklen is charged with Jury Tampering for standing outside a federal courthouse in New York City and quietly handing out info about jury nullification. He has been doing this since 2009 and it is no secret that it angered the federal judges in the courthouse."

Well, several points could be made. First, I do not blame the judges for being angered because he is encouraging jurors to disregard the oath they all must take to follow the law. However, that said, I do not know if that merits a criminal prosecution by the U.S. Attorney. That brings into mind my second point -- Ms. Burke in my experience one thing I have learned in the practice of law is that things are rarely straight forward. Quite likely there are more facts at play here that have yet to come to light. Don't know that for a fact, but it would not surprise me. We will not know until evidence is presented at a trial or a hearing on a motion to dismiss or a motion to suppress. Mr. Heicklen is way early in the process here. Usually (not always, unfortunately), justice eventually prevails and I suspect it will here as well.

bombsquadron6
03-06-2011, 06:36 PM
Jury nullification has a long history in this country and was considered by the Founding Fathers to be a needed check on our government. Heicklen's right to free speech should not be chilled, even temporarily, by a zealous prosecutor. Heicklen may ultimately be found innocent but will have had to endure a criminal trial in federal court which is not only traumatizing but very expensive, even if he is representing himself.

Jury nullification is much more in the spirit of what the Founding Fathers wanted the First Amendment to accomplish than allowing the disruption of a private citizen's funeral-and one who had given the ultimate for his country, at that. Federal judges obviously don't like jury nullification because it takes the power away from them and gives it to the citizens on the jury. The eight Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church have demonstrated just how elitist and devoid of common sense and concern for the American public they are.

Sensible
03-06-2011, 07:31 PM
"Jury nullification has a long history in this country and was considered by the Founding Fathers to be a needed check on our government."

You and I will just have to agree to disagree on that Ms. Burke. And if the Founding Fathers believed that, even though it is not spelled out anywhere in our Constitution, well I will just have to disagree with them too. Let me explain.

You may know that in every jury trial, when the jurors are impaneled, they are asked to take an oath. That oath is that they swear to follow the law as set forth in the jury instructions they are to receive at the end of the case. Those instructions not only spell out the law that the jurors are to apply, but also generally say that they are not to let passion or emotion guide them. So when we talk about jury nullification what we are talking about is a group of jurors willfully and intentionally ignoring the law. That is wrong and can lead to disasterous consequences, particularly in criminal cases where Double Jeopardy rules apply. For example, think of KSM -- the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks. Say he gets a really great lawyer, who convinces a jury that the U.S. had it coming because of its policies in the Middle East and discrimination that exists in this country against Muslims. Forget about whether or not this is not true -- instead just think in the abstract that a lawyer could convince a panel or even one or two on the panel -- to buy this argument. So then they decide to acquit KSM even though all the evidence establishes beyond any reasonable doubt that he is guilty of murdering more than 2000 people in New York, almost 200 men and women affiliated with the military at the Pentagon and all those people on the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. They do this to "send a message" to the U.S. government forgetting that by doing so they are spitting in the face of the victims and their families. This has happened many times in our history. For instance, this is exactly why O.J Simpson was acquitted.

We don't want rogue juries taking the position that they are the law and can do whatever they want, even more than we want rogue judges. Instead what we want from juries are people who impartially find facts and then fairly and even handedly render verdicts based on those facts and the applicable law. Period.

bombsquadron6
03-06-2011, 07:54 PM
Note to members of the MTF. I must seem like a zealot this weekend with all these posts. Well, yeah, I am, but in my defense I have been home painting a spare room and have lots of time to write on this and other blogs while I wait for the paint to dry. That and lots of beer.... Stay tuned!

bombsquadron6
03-06-2011, 08:15 PM
The argument about whether jury nullification is or is not beneficial to the judicial system isn't relevant. The point is that Heicklen was merely handing out material informing the public about it. But he made the mistake of doing it repeatedly in front of the federal courthouse in Manhattan. He will now have to have a criminal trial to try to vindicate his First Amendment right to free speech. The Westboro members have had their First Amendment right to torment families of slain soldiers absolutely protected by Chief Justice John Roberts and seven Justices. The Westboro Baptist Church members now have no fear of criminal charges or lawsuits. Thank you, U.S. Supreme Court!

bombsquadron6
03-06-2011, 10:47 PM
"Jury nullification has a long history in this country and was considered by the Founding Fathers to be a needed check on our government."

You and I will just have to agree to disagree on that Ms. Burke. And if the Founding Fathers believed that, even though it is not spelled out anywhere in our Constitution, well I will just have to disagree with them too.

Jury nullification has a long and noble history in America. The article linked here, about jury nullification and the Heicklen case explains the doctrine, gives its history and ties it to the present case against Mr. Heicklen. Turns out Thomas Jefferson was a proponent of it and I found the following passage profound:

Shortly before his death, Thomas Jefferson noted with disdain that judges were working hard to bury jury nullification. It reflected a pernicious “slide into toryism,” he remarked in a letter to James Madison in 1826. In Jefferson’s view, judges and prosecutors who rejected the jury’s right of nullification were betraying the values of the Constitution and instead embracing those of the British Crown. “They suppose themselves… Whigs, because they no longer know what Whigism or republicanism means.” The fundamental question to put to the “tory” prosecutors who have brought the Heicklen case is simple: what about the First Amendment?


http://harpers.org/archive/2011/02/hbc-90008006http://harpers.org/archive/2011/02/hbc-90008006

bombsquadron6
03-07-2011, 03:47 PM
Here is the real tragedy. The federal judiciary as a whole is seriously weakened by these pay policies. I just look at the judges here in Houston. We have not seen a new judge take the bench here with a truly outstanding legal mind since Lee Rosenthal in 1992. Well, one thing is clear. The public is getting what it pays for -- or in this case fails to pay for. (This quote is taken from post #316)

Lee Rosenthal....hmmm....That name rings a bell...... Oh yeah! Judge Rosenthal is the Federal District Court judge in Houston who in 2001 was assigned to preside over the Enron trials!

On the recommendation of former Texas Senator Phil Gramm she was nominated by President G.H. Bush and confirmed to the federal bench in 1992. She had previously worked for the giant Houston corporate law firm of Baker and Botts which had extensive ties to Enron. It should be noted that Phil Gramm's wife, Wendy, was on the Board of Directors of Enron and was up to her eyeballs in the corruption. Judge Rosenthal had also owned Enron stock as late as 2000. Angry Enron shareholders red-flagged all of this but despite the flagrant conflict of interest Judge Rosenthal did not immediately recuse herself from the case but made several rulings. The most notorious was her refusal to freeze $1.1 billion in assets of 29 top Enron executives, including Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and Andrew Fastow even as shareholders and employees were losing their shirts. She did recuse herself from the case shortly after this. http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,194066,00.html

Less than a year before she was assigned to the Enron case, Ken Lay had lobbied unsuccessfully with the White House to get Rosenthal appointed [to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals], and wrote a letter to White House officials on her behalf. At the time, Baker & Botts attorneys bragged that Rosenthal was a cinch for the appointment because of her Lay connection......The effort to win Rosenthal the Fifth Circuit position apparently foundered because of conservative opposition to her moderate views on social issues like abortion.http://www.houstonpress.com/2002-02-14/news/enron-s-judge-not/

In 2007 Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Judge Rosenthal to chair the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure.

Sensible, your selection of Judge Rosenthal as the best-of-the-best is disgraceful. She may have a brilliant legal mind but she is yet another corporate judge whose real loyalty is to her cronies in the corporate world, not to us. Contrary to your assertion that higher pay is needed, it is an argument that too many federal judges come from corporate law firms or the insular Ivy League and we should not raise the pay to attract more of them. Chief Justice John Roberts made millions representing corporate interests which perhaps helps explain why he would appoint Judge Rosenthal to the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure. Remember, it is the Roberts Court which ruled that corporations and big unions can spend as much money as they want to influence political issues. Chief Justice Roberts has, in my opinion, always held the interests of corporations above the interests of the American public.

Judge Rosenthal is much like the judge we faced in District Court. This judge had been promoted to the bench by powerful interests and a Utah Senator who, at the time, wielded incredible power in the selection and advancement of federal judges. (This Senator had also been instrumental in acquiring a $480 million federal grant for the transit agency which they might have been ineligible for if we had won the labor law case.) It appeared to us that this judge was reluctant to go against the interests that had advanced him to the judiciary and whose support he would need to advance further. Ultimately he refused to do justice when it required him to, even when the safety issues raised by us meant his decision could potentially cost lives. He adamantly refused to allow discovery to go forward which could have demonstrated this point. I maintain that his career was more important to him than the lives of the public.

When you state that it is hard to find attorneys from the corporate world who want to become federal judges because of the low pay (relative to the money they could make as corporate attorneys) you may be correct. However, Judge Rosenthal is a perfect example of why we should broaden the search and consider attorneys who have a connection and a loyalty to the citizens of this country rather than their cronies in the corporate world. Giving federal judges higher pay without more oversight and accountability and without using a different procedure for nominating judicial candidates will only make the federal judiciary more insular and less protective of the American public.

Had the Westboro First Amendment case been decided by judges who had served in the military or had been JAG officers it might have produced a very different result. They would perhaps not have been so arrogant as to inflict this reprehensible decision on us and been willing to work for the present salary.

Last, I would suggest that if Americans are serious about taking back control of this nation then they should take back the federal judiciary first.

Sensible
03-08-2011, 04:22 PM
I've tried numerous cases in front of Judge Rosenthal. Unbelieveably smart and professional and ethical. You are making a bunch of conclusions and inferences that are not justified. Look, almost no one down here in Houston knew Mr. Lay was involved in criminal behavior. He gave away millions to charities. He was seen as a pillar of the community for years. I think you are looking at these facts from the prisim of hindsight. That is always 20/20. He and the Enron top execs not only fooled the investing public, but they fooled the entire community down here ... of which Judge Rosenthal is a member.

On the pay issue, I do not care if your are talking about corporate lawyers or plaintiff lawyers. Compared to the most experienced and knowledgeable of both the groups federal judges are ridiculously underpaid. Compared to what they do, they are way more underpaid than a paralegal or similar person working for the federal government. Worst still, their real pay has gone dramatically down in recent years.

Sensible
03-12-2011, 06:02 AM
As I look at the incredible debt America has incurred, I am just amazed. More than $14 trillion. Added $223 billion in Feb. '11. In all of 2007, the amount of debt was "only" $163 billion! There are several culprits here, but think any reasonable person would say a huge part is definitely due to mismangement

Let's look at companies that are well runned financially and see what they do differently. Now some don't think Exxon is an ethical company ... I am not going to debate that. I am just talking in terms of how it is managed on a day to day basis. For one, Exxon Mobile's operational headquarters here in Houston is in a building erected in the early 1950's. Kind of dingy, really. Of course, Exxon could easily afford a new office building but it goes without and just remodels. Where does it put its money? Among other places in its managers. Another difference -- it holds its managers accountable. If they are not productive they are out of the company. Now I ask you this: if the U.S. government paid its managers even 2/3rd of what Exxon pays, and held its managers accountable for doing a good job the way Exxon does, do you think we would have a better run government? Of course ... there would be far less unnecessary waste because the most qualified would want those positions and they would figure out how to do things more efficiently and cost effectively. They would do this because they would know their jobs depended upon it. Instead, we have government run by managers who appear to accept unnecessary waste as the norm. The result is predictable ... we are absolutely drowning in debt.

There is a saying. In the government, the lower the position the more overpaid the worker; the higher the position the more underpaid the worker. Obviously true ... Ben Bernake only earns a little more than $200K a year, yet his decisions can bring down our entire economy. My point -- the government has to do something to attract those who are most qualified to managerial positions and key professional posts to stop this incredible waste. If not, then the American people are only getting what they paid for ... or rather, refused to pay for.

bombsquadron6
04-01-2011, 07:17 PM
Well, here it is a month later and the Westboro psychos have a Supreme Court issued license to torment and brutalize the families of American soldiers killed in war. Julian Heicklen, the nutty old guy who has made civil disobedience his life's work is caught up in a First Amendment criminal case against him because he was handing out literature about jury nullification outside the federal court in New York City. His charge, filed by the U.S. Attorney there, is Jury Tampering. Mr. Heicklen was not trying to influence any particular jury or the outcome of any specific case, he was only letting people know about this legal doctrine. He does not force it on people and reportedly he is a chatty, good natured guy. But judges hate jury nullification. There is no indication that any jury has used Jury Nullification because Mr. Heicklen informed them of it. The problem that the U.S. Attorney and federal district Judge Kimba Wood now have is that Heicklen isn't backing down. They thought they could bully him into stopping his activities outside the court house but Heicklen has just ramped it up. Judge Wood has not done the sensible thing and dismissed the ridiculous charge and she appears ready to go forward with the trial. Mr. Heicklen wants the trial. He claims that his kids want him to go into a nursing home but he replied that a jail cell is cheaper.

According to the docket entry for March 31, Mr. Heicklen claims that the federal judge is not allowing him to have a jury trial, which is his right. I can't tell from the docket if this is true but I will point out that in my labor law case in federal court here in Salt Lake we specifically asked for a jury trial and the judge did everything in his power to prevent that. We had the right but were denied it. So I suspect that there may be some truth to Heicklen's accusation. You can tell from the docket entry that he is a little bit of a loon but last time I checked that is not a crime. Here is the entry:

Letter by Julian Heicklen addressed to Judge Kimba Wood from Julian Heicklen dated 3/28/11 re: I am responding to the correspondence of November 22, 2010, between U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman and AUSA Rebecca Mermelstein. From that correspondence, I gather that the three of you are considering finding me in contempt of court and sentencing me to a long term in prison if found guilty of jury tampering. The three of you misunderstand the situation. By denying me my constitutional right to a jury trial, which is required by Amendment VI of the US Constitution, you have committed treason. (jw) (Entered: 03/31/2011)

So the lesson for the American public is that thanks to the federal courts the First Amendment is a right that can be enjoyed by the most reprehensible members of society but don't expect that you will have the same rights if you personally piss off those same judges. Thanks again for making my case for me federal judges!

bombsquadron6
04-14-2011, 12:55 AM
Earlier this month U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer spoke to a group in Little Rock, Arkansas about the role of the judiciary. From the article I read it was all pretty predictable and he is probably accustomed to being treated very well at these functions. But Justice Breyer has never struck me as a great thinker and I know from my own experience in federal court that he is not particularly bothered by judicial misconduct.

Here is a quote from his speech in Little Rock. "I do think if the court does a better job of getting the legal decisions right, people will come around or are more likely to maintain their confidence in the court," he said. Well Damn! Who'da thunk it, Justice Breyer?

He goes on to address the Supreme Court decision in the Westboro Baptist Church case and said "the rights of mourning families needed to be balanced with the Constitutional right to free speech." Excuse me? Did he say balanced? Where exactly is the "balance" in a decision by the nation's highest court that removes the right of families to grieve privately for a slain soldier? Eight of the nine justices signed on to this outrageous decision. Please don't talk about "balance" Justice Breyer.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SUPREME_COURT_BREYER?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-04-05-22-38-05

In the meantime, good old Julian Heicklen is still charged with jury tampering for passing out literature to passers-by in front of the New York Federal Court building. Maybe that's the "balance" that Justice Breyer was speaking of.

bombsquadron6
04-26-2011, 03:53 PM
Here is a fun story about the Westoro jerks. While the Supreme Court has given them carte blanche to roam around the country disrupting the funerals of soldiers, citizens are taking matters into their own hands to prevent that. Good for them and the clever ways they have devised to stop this. http://www.retirelikeme.com/2011/04/21/mississippi-town-destroys-westboro-baptist-plans/

In the meantime, old Julian Heicklen is still charged with jury tampering for passing out info on jury nullification to random passers-by in front of the federal courthouse in New York City. Federal District Court Judge Kimba Wood will preside over a hearing on the charges April 28, the day after tomorrow. In the name of the First Amendment she should have thrown out this ridiculous case but as I have pointed out, judges hate jury nullification so they will hammer on Heicklen, First Amendment be damned.

These federal judges are hypocrites to inflict the Westboro creeps on the rest of us but then go after Julian Heicklen because they don't like his message. Most of the nation grimly accepted the Supreme Court decision in the Westboro case and bought the argument that it is the price we must pay to live in a free society. Well, if that is true then federal judges should practice what they preach. Still think they deserve a pay raise?

bombsquadron6
04-29-2011, 07:32 AM
Julian Heicklen had a hearing in federal court today on the jury tampering charge. Informing the public about jury nullification, which is not illegal, is apparently an offense that is not protected by the First Amendment. Federal Judge Kimba Wood clearly has no intention of dismissing this disgraceful case and she will demonstrate to the American public just what hypocrites federal judges are. They decree that the rest of us have to endure the Westboro jerks disrupting military funerals but federal judges can't tolerate an old man outside their courthouse quietly handing out info that they don't like. I keep thinking these judges can't piss me off any more than they already have and damned if they don't find a way to do it every time.

The following is the docket entry for Heicklen's case that was posted today after the hearing. (These come from a subscription service called PACER which gives access to info about federal cases.)

ORAL ORDER as to Julian Heicklen: Time excluded from 4/28/2011 until 9/9/2011. As to Julian Heicklen( Defendant motion due by 6/29/2011. Government Reply Brief due by 8/29/2011. Defendant Reply Brief due by 9/9/2011 ). (ajc) (Entered: 04/28/2011)

bombsquadron6
05-22-2011, 05:12 PM
On April 29, 2011, Julian Heicklen filed a Motion to Dismiss, asking Judge Kimba Wood to throw out the charges against him. Of course, she has not and at this writing there is no other docket entry so obviously she does not want to. The double standard of the federal courts is so disgusting I can't express it politely. The docket entry is as follows: MOTION to Dismiss. MOTION for Return of Property. Documents filed by Julian Heicklen. (Also included are a Memorandum of Law in Support of the Motions, Affirmation in Support, and Affirmation of Service).(dnd) (Entered: 05/03/2011)

My own experience in federal court left me with the view that these women federal judges are even more belligerent than their male counterparts. At the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals we had a visiting woman federal district court judge who was a guest judge on the appellate court panel that heard our labor law case. She was so outraged that our attorney had demonstrated that the district court judge in Salt Lake had ignored established labor law and rules of civil procedure so he could rule against us that she yelled at our attorney in the courtroom. I could even describe it as screaming. She was furious, not because we were wrong but because we were right and had proven the district court judge was biased. She didn't give a damn about the law, only about protecting her fellow judge. God, it was one of the most surreal things I have ever experienced. We documented and complained about this to the judicial council of the Tenth Circuit, which was headed by a woman judge, but it got dismissed as having no merit. That woman judge, who was responsible for overseeing the Tenth Circuit and making sure that the court rules were abided by was, at the same time out lobbying for more pay for federal judges. She wouldn't even clean her own house but she wanted more money. They were protecting their empire and justice be damned.

Back here in Salt Lake City we have the intrepid Federal District Court Judge Clark Waddoups who recently issued a temporary injunction barring Utah police from questioning suspects about their immigration status. He ruled for the ACLU which claimed that anyone who had to produce documents proving they were in this country legally would be irreparably harmed despite the fact that foreign nationals are required to carry just such documentation. The case will go to trial but it doesn't look good for those of us who want some enforcement of immigration laws. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705372387/Judge-puts-Utah-illegal-immigration-enforcement-bill-on-hold.html

Judge Waddoups is another corporate lawyer turned federal judge. His former law firm specializes in "providing corporate clients and individuals with transactional, litigation and regulatory assistance." Along with the ACLU, corporatations want open borders and my personal view is that the corporate judges like Waddoups are the tool they use to open the borders. Judge Waddoups isn't concerned with what is good for the average, law abiding American, he is concerned with what is good for corporate America.

This is consistent with the Obama administration's effort to have "comprehensive immigration reform" which is just a code phrase for amnesty. The corporate right and the ACLU left both want the same thing, open borders, but for different reasons. Obviously, the left wants to give a "path to citizenship" to illegals so they can eventually vote, and the corporate right wants the cheap labor. So they have essentially joined forces. Nice. Those of us who don't subscribe to either of these selfish agendas are just plain screwed. But make no mistake, it is federal judges who are doing the dirty work, making rulings that will harm us permanently. Before long, we will have reached the tipping point. It will be too late to regain control of America from this unholy alliance.

bombsquadron6
05-25-2011, 03:34 PM
Hee is the latest docket entry in the Julian Heicklen case. It should be noted that Mr. Heicklen is not cooperating and apparently failed to show up for a hearing on April 28. Obviously he wants Judge Kimba Wood to throw him in jail. She is determined to proceed with this idiotic case in defiance of the First Amendment. A couple of stubborn goats locking horns. My question to federal judges is this. If you are all SO busy, why do you have time for this crap? I don't think you should have a pay raise to compensate you for behaving like this. Sensible is certainly welcome to explain.

ORDER: As to Julian Heicklen. At a conference held before this Court on February 25, 2011, the Court stated that the defendant could brief his motion for a jury trial "when ready" (Transcript, page 29). The Government requested two weeks to provide discovery to the defendant, and the Court granted this request (Transcript, page 38). The Court set a conference date of April 28, 2011 (Transcript, page 41). At a conference on April 28, 2011, at which the defendant did not appear, the Court set the following briefing schedule: Defendant's motions are due by June 29, 2011. Government response is due by August 29, 2011, Defendant's reply is due by September 9, 2011. The Court ordered stand-by defense counsel Sabrina Shroff to write to the Court to explain why the defendant failed to appear at the April 28, 2011 conference as ordered. On April 29, 2011, the Court received the defendant's April 27, 2011, letter requesting written notification of court appearances and submission schedules, and an attachment to that letter, captioned "Memorandum Of Law and Motions For Dismissal and Property Return." Given that defendant filed those motions earlier than the deadline set on April 28, 2011, the Court orders the Government to respond to the defendant's Motion for Dismissal and Return of Property by June 27, 2011. Any reply by the defendant is due July 27, 2011. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Kimba M. Wood on 5/24/2011)(dnd) (Entered: 05/24/2011)

Sensible
05-28-2011, 07:59 PM
These federal judges are hypocrites to inflict the Westboro creeps on the rest of us but then go after Julian Heicklen because they don't like his message. Most of the nation grimly accepted the Supreme Court decision in the Westboro case and bought the argument that it is the price we must pay to live in a free society. Well, if that is true then federal judges should practice what they preach. Still think they deserve a pay raise?

Translation: federal judges rule the way Ms. Burke wants you to. If you don't, then if she has anything to say about it you will get no raise!

bombsquadron6
05-29-2011, 01:33 AM
Sensible, The federal courts have decreed that we must tolerate the repulsive message of the Westboro/Phelps. We are outraged by it but have accepted that this is perhaps necessary to protect the First Amendment. So why then, do federal judges feel free to go after a harmless old guy whose message is that juries can defy the courts and nullify a case that they do not approve of-essentially telling the courts that the case should not have been prosecuted? Jury nullification is a powerful tool and Thomas Jefferson viewed it as a way for the people to keep government in check. You are free to give us some legal insight into this shameless double standard by the federal courts but having a temper tantrum should be beneath your dignity.

My point here is that federal judges apparently do not have to live by the same rules "we the people" must live by.

bombsquadron6
05-29-2011, 03:02 PM
This just in from San Diego, California! Federal District Court Judge M. James Lorenz has ruled that the California Privacy Act trumps the First Amendment! The decision involved two conservative activists who secretly filmed an employee of the national community organizing group Acorn. http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/05/26/36872.htm

The pair visited the office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in 2009. After asking and receiving assurance from the ACORN representative that their meeting would be confidential, they secretly filmed the encounter (which also had audio.) The meeting purportedly involved the pair seeking advice on how to traffick underage girls from Mexico to work as prostitutes in the United States. (See link above.)

The ACORN rep, Juan Carlos Vera, later sued the pair for $75,000 after the secretly filmed video was made public. His lawsuit was based on the alleged violation of the California Privacy Act. Judge Lorenz agreed that this act superseded the First Amendment. Since there was a mutual understanding that the conversation was confidential, Lorenz found that the privacy law "is not an overbroad intrusion on exposé newsgathering ...."

Here is where Judge Lorenz is wrong, wrong, wrong. When you or I go to a doctor or a lawyer or a tax accountant, we are assured of confidentiality. It is law that they cannot violate the privacy of a client. But that privacy only works one way. You or I are free to discuss the meeting, and the advice of the doctor/lawyer/tax accountant with anyone. If you or I want to discuss our medical conditions or legal woes or tax returns with total strangers we are free to do so. There is no such restraint on us. It is the professional who must protect our privacy. But Judge Lorenz has granted the privacy protections to the ACORN rep and not the alleged “clients.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that tormenting the families of slain soldiers at funerals is protected by the First Amendment and that those families do not have a compelling need for privacy. However, Federal Judge Lorenz has ruled that the ACORN employee has a compelling need to protect his advice on how to traffick young girls smuggled into this country. Public interest requires that the funerals of slain soldiers may be disrupted but apparently there is no public interest in preventing your tax dollars from being used to pimp underage girls. ACORN is granted protection based on “privacy” that overrules the First Amendment. Common sense loses again!

bombsquadron6
06-05-2011, 02:30 AM
A few days ago Candycane3482 posted an article about the federal judge in Texas who ruled that the Medina Valley High School and its students could make no references to religion in the graduating ceremony. Candycane probably spoke for many when she stated on her thread, "Okay I've said it before I'm not religious at all but seriously? This seems like violating the First Amendment by telling these kids what they can or cannot say."

The case was filed by the parents of a senior who would attend the graduation ceremony and according to the judge who presided over the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery, the student would “suffer irreparable harm” if anyone prayed at the ceremony. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/06/02/prayer-prohibited-at-graduation-ceremony/?test=latestnews#content

His ruling elicited many angry responses from around the country, some of them threatening violence against the judge. Some callers said they would “kick his ass” or made similar threats. http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Appeals-panel-overturns-Medina-Valley-graduation-1408548.php

An emergency appeal was then filed by the Medina High School and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals accepted it and quickly reversed Judge Biery's decision.

I looked at the docket and the original case was filed in San Antonio, Texas district court on Thursday, May 26, 2011. Judge Biery granted a temporary restraining order on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 preventing the school or its students from making any reference to God at the ceremony. The same day, June 1, the school district appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit and they reversed the district court judge's decision on Friday, June 3, 2011, the day before the graduation ceremony. There was a frenzy of activity on this case. Both sides were filing stuff as fast as they could and the Circuit Court reversed the lower court decision in a flash.

The whole case seemed pretty stupid to me but both the district court and the appeals court treated it as though it was a real emergency. I have to say that the plaintiffs, the parents of the high school kid, were the real jerks here. They live in Texas for God's sake (pun intended), the heart of the Bible Belt. Their kid is going to hear religious references pretty much every day. Maybe the federal courts should have told the parents to grow up instead.

CORNELIUSSEON
06-05-2011, 01:33 PM
A few days ago Candycane3482 posted an article about the federal judge in Texas who ruled that the Medina Valley High School and its students could make no references to religion in the graduating ceremony. Candycane probably spoke for many when she stated on her thread, "Okay I've said it before I'm not religious at all but seriously? This seems like violating the First Amendment by telling these kids what they can or cannot say."

The case was filed by the parents of a senior who would attend the graduation ceremony and according to the judge who presided over the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery, the student would “suffer irreparable harm” if anyone prayed at the ceremony. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/06/02/prayer-prohibited-at-graduation-ceremony/?test=latestnews#content

His ruling elicited many angry responses from around the country, some of them threatening violence against the judge. Some callers said they would “kick his ass” or made similar threats. http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Appeals-panel-overturns-Medina-Valley-graduation-1408548.php

An emergency appeal was then filed by the Medina High School and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals accepted it and quickly reversed Judge Biery's decision.

I looked at the docket and the original case was filed in San Antonio, Texas district court on Thursday, May 26, 2011. Judge Biery granted a temporary restraining order on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 preventing the school or its students from making any reference to God at the ceremony. The same day, June 1, the school district appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit and they reversed the district court judge's decision on Friday, June 3, 2011, the day before the graduation ceremony. There was a frenzy of activity on this case. Both sides were filing stuff as fast as they could and the Circuit Court reversed the lower court decision in a flash.

The whole case seemed pretty stupid to me but both the district court and the appeals court treated it as though it was a real emergency. I have to say that the plaintiffs, the parents of the high school kid, were the real jerks here. They live in Texas for God's sake (pun intended), the heart of the Bible Belt. Their kid is going to hear religious references pretty much every day. Maybe the federal courts should have told the parents to grow up instead.

I agree with you. This shows the problem with the First Amendment. Both sides have 1st Amendment rights in this case, and neither side should be allowed to prevail to the detriment of the other side.

bombsquadron6
06-11-2011, 10:41 PM
Two decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court were issued recently. One has to do with Arizona and its mandate that employers must use E-Verify to confirm that employees are in this country legally. The case is Chamber of Commerce of United States of America v. Whiting and the decision was handed down on May 26, 2011. It was a 5-3 decision. Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Thomas, Alito, Scalia and Kennedy for the majority, ruled that Arizona can enforce the requirement that employers use E-Verify. The dissenting three were Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor. Justice Kagan recused herself because as Solicitor General in the Obama administration she worked on this case for the federal government.
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-115.pdf
http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20110526/pl_usnw/DC10023

Justice Stephen Breyer, whom I have criticized on this blog several times in the past, wrote the (in my view) idiotic dissenting opinion. He is apparently concerned that if forced to use E-Verify, employers won’t be able to hire illegals. He wrote that [e]mployers "will hesitate to hire those they fear will turn out to lack the right to work in the United States," and also, Breyer said the Arizona law upsets a balance in federal law between dissuading employers from hiring illegal workers and ensuring that people are not discriminated against because they may speak with an accent or look like they might be immigrants. http://www.cnbc.com/id/43181720 (http://www.cnbc.com/id/43181720)Excuse me, Justice Breyer, but that’s what E-Verify is for.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was joined by the ACLU to fight the requirement that Arizona employers use E-Verify to confirm the legal status of their employees. The ACLU is quite proud that they have teamed up with the corporate consortium in its effort to drive down wages and work standards for Americans. http://www.aclu.org/blog/immigrants-rights/aclu-lens-supreme-court-upholds-arizonas-employer-sanctions-law

The second case came out of California and concerns the overcrowded prisons in that state. The case is Brown v. Plata and it was decided May 23, 2011.The Supreme Court decision mandates that California release a sizable percentage of its prison population to comply with the mandate. The decision was 5 to 4, with Justices Kennedy, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan issuing the decision and Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Scalia and Alito dissenting.
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-1233.pdf

California will now have to release from 38,000 to 46,000 inmates to comply with the Supreme Court decision. There are more than 142,000 convicts currently in the California prison system. This is probably very bad news for the residents of California and likely other states as these newly released criminals fan out into the general population.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2011/0523/Supreme-Court-orders-California-to-slash-prison-population-by-more-than-30-000

Of course, many Americans are elated that the Supreme Court ruled that Arizona has the right to enforce the E-Verify provision of its controversial immigration law. But I suspect most of us are also appalled that there will be up to 46,000 convicted criminals released into California and beyond due to that separate decision. Probably most of us are empathetic to the fact that the prisons are overcrowded and do not want to have third world conditions inside them. But our safety should pre-empt the rights of incarcerated criminals.

The connection between the two cases is this. There are many, many illegal aliens in county jails and state and federal prisons throughout the country. The Supreme Court did not, as far as I could find, address that issue at all in its Brown v. Plata decision. Prison overcrowding in California and probably most other states could be alleviated in large part by the federal government enforcing immigration laws, something that at this point they are trying hard not to do. The GAO reported in March that in FY 2008, there were 27,000 illegal aliens incarcerated in California. These illegal alien criminals cost the state of California approximately one billion dollars a year. And that’s not counting the legal immigrants who’ve made themselves deportable by committing crimes. http://oneoldvet.com/?p=28995&cpage=1

The conservative Washington Times advocates deporting illegal alien criminals back to their home countries, usually Mexico. They argue that the Supreme Court decision, which will force California to release tens of thousands of criminals, would be more practically applied if they deport many of the illegals. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/24/deport-californias-illegal-alien-convicts/

But is that such a good idea? The Sheriff of Kern County, California thinks otherwise. "The illegals? If we have someone who is in custody and in state prison and they're an illegal chances are it's a very serious crime. To just deport them, to empty that bed, will put them in Mexico on Tuesday and back on our streets on Thursday." (The link to this quote was no longer available when I posted this but I used it anyway.)

Note to reader: I have tried diligently to report accurate statistics here but you would be amazed at the wildly divergent figures I found regarding total numbers of all prisoners in California prisons as well as illegal alien inmates incarcerated there and the percentages and costs associated with them. It was almost impossible for me to determine the accurate numbers although the GAO did seem to have fairly accurate data and not coincidentally, the highest numbers listed for illegal alien criminals in California.

Until we start seriously enforcing immigration laws and securing our borders this cycle will continue. The U.S. Supreme Court, while I praise their decision in the C.C. of the U.S.A. v. Whiting case, should have addressed this issue in their decision. They, like the federal government, appear to be trying to dodge this thorny issue. And I wonder if Chief Justice John Roberts, who has historically been a corporate defender, really had his heart in this decision or if he now realizes that the American public is fed up with the courts defending illegal aliens. If his allegiance is now to the American public rather than corporate America then I laud his intentions and hope he will continue to protect our interests.

bombsquadron6
07-03-2011, 07:09 PM
Here in Salt Lake City, a recent federal court case deserves attention. Federal Judge Clark Waddoups, whom I have written about earlier because he gave probation to the ancient antiquities grave robbers in southern Utah, has issued another brilliant decision. Calling it a case of "cultural misunderstanding," Waddoups gave probation to a Somali shopkeeper who lied to the FBI about her teenage son’s whereabouts. Judge Waddoups sentenced her to probation instead of jail and even called her a "woman of courage" and a "woman of influence," praising her survival in the U.S. after fleeing war-torn Somalia in 2000. (This is the same judge who earlier apologized to the Utah grave robbers.) Apparently, you can come to this country as a refugee from Somalia and when your kid is suspected of terrorism (like this doesn't happen all the time), you can lie to the FBI and a federal judge will feel sorry for you because you give other refugees rides to stores and doctor appointments. Excuse me while I throw up right now. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52091053-78/abdi-fbi-son-somalia.html.csp

bombsquadron6
11-05-2011, 03:47 PM
It's been awhile since I wrote about Julian Heicklen, the old guy who got arrested in front of the federal courthouse in New York in November, 2010. His federal "crime" was quietly passing out info to passers-by that explained "jury nullification," which is when a jury reaches a verdict contrary to the judge's instructions as to the law. What it generally indicates is that the jury does not believe that the case should have been prosecuted. A jury verdict contrary to the letter of the law pertains only to the particular case before it; however, if a pattern of acquittals develops in response to repeated attempts to prosecute a statutory offense, it can have the de facto effect of invalidating the statute. A pattern of jury nullification may indicate public opposition to an unwanted legislative enactment. (From Wikipedia) The U.S. Attorney who filed the case against Heicklen (probably at the behest of the federal judges who, of course, hate jury nullification) claims that Heicklen was "jury tampering" since some of the passers-by might have been going into the courhouse for jury duty. But Heicklen never addressed any particular case, he just wanted people to know about jury nullification.

So here it is a year later and federal Judge Kimba Wood still has not thrown the case out despite its clear violation of the First Amendment. This case must be costing the taxpayers considerable money since there are numerous attorneys working on it, for both the defendant, Julian Heicklen, and the prosecution.

Once again, I must ask why a federal judge, in this case Kimba Wood, has time for such stupidity? Federal judges all claim to be overworked and underpaid but then they do stuff like this. The United States is in bad shape but federal judges can find the time and the rationale to prosecute a harmless old man who is merely telling people about a specific right that they have. Justice be damned.

bombsquadron6
12-12-2011, 04:11 PM
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona was elated to learn this morning that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to to review Arizona's immigration enforcement law, SB 1070.

By reviewing the case, Arizona v. United States, the Supreme Court is notably rejecting the request by the Obama Administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) that it let the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision stand. In a brief filed with the Court in November, the DOJ argued that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had correctly decided the case, that there was no conflict between the various Courts of Appeal, and that to review SB 1070 at this point would be "premature."

This is a case that I am certain most Americans will be watching closely. I make no predictions and refrain from saying anything other than I hope that the high court will act in the best interest of the American citizens. The article I have linked here is by FAIR, a group that I respect. BTW, Governor Brewer has a Facebook page that has a lot of interesting info about her fight to close the U.S./Mexican border to illegal crossing. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fair-welcomes-supreme-court-review-of-arizonas-sb-1070-135444098.html

bombsquadron6
12-19-2011, 02:05 AM
A new pilot program approved by the Judicial Conference, the policy making entity for the federal courts, allows for some cases to be videotaped and then posted online for all to see. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/13/openness-integrity-federal-courtroom-challenged-by-camera-pilot-project/

"I think if people could see the federal courts where you really have important national issues being decided by really great judges and lawyers on both sides fully prepared then people would say, 'I'm proud of this system. Now I have a better understanding of how government works,'" said U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik.

This is an interesting article that includes some quotes by former Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals judge, Deanell Tacha. Tacha, who is now the dean of Pepperdine University Law School, was the chief judge on the Tenth Circuit when our labor law case was in federal court, first in district court in Salt Lake City and later at the Tenth Circuit Court in Denver. Although we plaintiffs endured unbelievable abuses by the judges in these two courts, when I documented it all and complained to the judicial misconduct committee, which Tacha was on, my complaints fell on deaf ears. She refused to clean up her own court and allowed the judges under her watch to run roughshod over us. Yet she blathers on about the integrity of the judicial system. She says the cameras can never offer a full view of what's happening and that viewers may be misled into what goes on. Excuse me, but the public might find out what really goes on in those courtrooms.

If we had been able to videotape the court proceedings in our case the public could have seen what these judges do to honest, law abiding citizens. They could have seen the district court judge attempt to have a hearing on a subject without any notice to our attorney, who had not yet read the Justice Department’s filing on the issue. The attorney representing the Justice Department (which we had sued along with the transit company and the union), actually had to tell the judge that it would not be fair to us to hold a hearing with no notice and that our attorney had not been able to prepare for. The judge appeared disappointed that he couldn’t impose such an unfair hearing on us. Later he told us we should take our case to state court instead and they would decide it “lickety split.” Still later, he asked the attorneys for the opposing parties for more reasons to rule against us so he would have a “belt and suspenders” when he announced his decision. He was making a back room deal against us and didn't care that we were right there in the courtroom. We were dumbfounded.

I would love to have video of the Tenth Circuit hearing in which one of the three judges on the panel, a woman judge who was not really an appellate court judge but a visiting lower court judge from Oklahoma, yelled at our attorney because he had demonstrated that the district court judge was biased against us. The district court judge had not even read our last filing before he ruled against us and the woman judge on the Tenth Circuit panel shrieked that judges often make decisions without reading filings. “It happens all the time!” she bellowed. WTF???!!!

It would also be nice to have video of the senior judge assigned to the Tenth Circuit panel hearing our appeal. He was ninety years old, had to be helped to his seat and stared out vacantly throughout the hearing. He appeared and acted senile. We doubt he had a clue what the hell was going on or what the case was about. This is just some of what we faced in federal court and I would so love to have video of it now. Bring on the cameras!

jazzcat23
12-20-2011, 08:15 PM
BUMPITY BUMP BUMP!

bombsquadron6
01-06-2012, 05:50 PM
Much has been written about the 2010, U.S. Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which holds that independent electoral spending by corporations "do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption." The decision struck down the longstanding ban on direct political spending by corporations as unconstitutional. A flood of corporate spending on political ads in the 2010 election cycle quickly followed.

But what about the twenty four states that already had laws on the books banning corporate spending on political ads? The U.S. Supreme Court decision compelled twenty three of them to invalidate those laws. Which state refused? That would be MONTANA! The Montana Supreme Court has not only refused to repeal the prohibition against corporate spending on political ads but in a December 30, 2011 decision they reaffirmed that state’s 1912 law against it which was enacted a hundred years ago to combat the corporate money that had corrupted the state government. Montana is a natural resource-rich state and the “Copper Kings” of the last century had virtually purchased the state’s legislature and many of its judges. Of one such Copper King, Mark Twain wrote that he was "said to have bought legislatures and judges as other men buy food and raiment."

The Montana Supreme Court decision was four to two but even the two judges who dissented were extremely critical of the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Said Judge James Nelson, "While, as a member of this Court, I am bound to follow Citizens United, I do not have to agree with the [U.S.] Supreme Court's decision," Nelson wrote. "And, to be absolutely clear, I do not agree with it. For starters, the notion that corporations are disadvantaged in the political realm is unbelievable. Indeed, it has astounded most Americans. The truth is that corporations wield enormous power in Congress and in state legislatures. It is hard to tell where government ends and corporate America begins: the transition is seamless and overlapping.” http://www.law.com/jsp/cc/PubArticleCC.jsp?id=1202537311056&Montana_Supreme_Court_Defies_Citizens_United_Rulin g

Montana residents well understand that power and money will corrupt if citizens are not vigilant. This decision by the Montana Supreme Court puts them on a collision course with the U.S. Supreme Court and of course I am rooting for Montana! BTW, this case was flagged to me yesterday by a dear friend who lives in Missoula and she is damned proud of the Montana Supreme Court for standing up to the corporate justices on the U.S. Supreme Court!

bombsquadron6
01-07-2012, 07:45 PM
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts used nearly all of his annual 2011 year-end-report to defend the ethics of the federal judiciary and explain why the Supreme Court is not bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct set forth by the Judicial Conference of the United States. While he claims that members of the Supreme Court “do in fact consult the Code of Conduct in assessing their ethical obligations”... “the Court has had no reason to adopt the Code of Conduct as its definitive source of ethical guidance.” Basically, Chief Justice Roberts says that the Supreme Court is not bound by the same rules that the district and appellate courts are expected to play by. And I use the word “expected” on purpose. I maintain that although there are ethics rules on the books, they are not necessarily enforced.
http://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/year-end/2011year-endreport.pdf

Where I come from the old adage “avoid not only impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety” was held up as the standard. Chief Justice Roberts apparently see it differently. To tell Americans that the Supreme Court is not bound by the same rules as the lower courts is arrogance at its grandest-never mind that no one in the judiciary is enforcing the rules on the lower courts, anyway. Chief Justice Roberts states that, “[t]hroughout our Nation’s history, instances of judges abandoning their oath ‘to faithfully and impartially discharge and perform’ the duties of their office have been exceedingly rare. Judges need and welcome guidance on their ethical responsibilities, and sources such as the Judicial Conference’s Code of Conduct provide invaluable assistance. But at the end of the day, no compilation of ethical rules can guarantee integrity.” My question to Chief Justice Roberts is this: If there have been such astonishingly few examples of judicial malfeasance, is that because federal judges are virtually always ethical pillars or because you and your fellow federal judges and justices turn a blind eye to ethical lapses and refuse to hold your counterparts accountable for misconduct? My own experience in federal court would suggest that the latter is the case.

In his year end report, Chief Justice Roberts tells us that “the federal courts continue to operate soundly, and the Nation’s federal judges continue to discharge their duties with wisdom and care.” That is probably true for the most part. But nowhere in his year-end-report does he remind judges on the federal judiciary of their responsibility to maintain high ethical standards and “avoid not only impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety.” He likely considers such a reminder to be beneath their dignity. It certainly is not and a little humility from Chief Justice Roberts and his fellow federal judges would be nice.

bombsquadron6
01-23-2012, 04:03 PM
If it weren’t for the federal judges in Utah, I wouldn’t have as much to write about on this blog. But it should be noted that the Utah federal judges that I have so criticized, former district court judge Paul Cassell, his replacement, Judge Clark Waddoups, and now Judge Dee Benson, all have Utah Senator Orrin Hatch to thank for their confirmations to the bench. Orrin Hatch, who was the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2003 to 2005 used to have enormous power in the nomination and confirmation process and is responsible for many current federal judges being on the bench. At the height of Hatch’s power, a judicial nominee had little chance of being confirmed without Hatch’s support. He wielded this power shamelessly, and in my opinion, is responsible for some of the worst ideologues on the judiciary. However, Orrin Hatch, who is an institution here in Utah, is now facing the serious threat of getting voted out of office this November by his own Republican party. He has some challengers who are even more conservative than he is and a group of Second Amendment activists, Gun Owners of America, is supporting either of two Utah Republicans running against him. Hatch has become a pariah to many conservatives in Utah. (I can’t stand Hatch but take no position on his challengers.) http://gunowners.org/a011312.htm

So back to my subject here; Utah District Court Judge Dee Benson. Judge Benson recently presided over the trial of 64 year-old Dewey C. MacKay, a doctor in Brigham City, Utah. Brigham City is about seventy five miles north of Salt Lake City and, as you might guess from the name, is a tight-knit little Mormon community. Dr. MacKay, was charged with running a massive pill-pushing operation. State records show MacKay issued more than 37,700 prescriptions for hydrocodone and oxycodone between June 2005 and October 2009, totaling more than 3.5 million pills. That is not a typo; three and a half million pills! He was herding 80 to 100 patients a day through his office and prescribing narcotics without any questions or exams. Unbelievable, isn’t it?
http://www.standard.net/stories/2011/08/18/jury-finds-mackay-guilty-40-counts

Dr. MacKay was found guilty by a federal grand jury of 40 out of 84 counts, one of which had to do with the death of at least one of his patients. It should be easy for any federal judge to sentence this drug pusher to a long prison sentence, right? That isn’t what happened. In defense of Dr. MacKay, Judge Benson received 244 letters supporting Dr. MacKay and most, if not all, pointed out that he had served in the U.S. Army. He was the team physician for the local high school. He volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America and was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53145599-78/mackay-wirick-benson-patients.html.csp

If you think being a member of the LDS Church doesn’t or shouldn’t matter in a criminal case, you have never lived in Utah. At least two of the letters defending Dr. MacKay were written by a Utah Congressman and a member of the Legislature. You may correctly assume that they, as well as the judge, are all members of this denomination. And, after having lived here for over three decades, I will confidently state my view that had the doctor not been a member of the Mormon Church, he would have received little support from the community and none from elected officials. In fact, the doctor tried to use the courtroom as a pulpit. In a sermon-like speech where MacKay mentioned that he believes he’ll be vindicated in the afterlife when "standing before the greatest of all judges", MacKay criticized the jury that convicted him, alleging that jurors — and society—don’t understand chronic pain it is managed.
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53145599-78/mackay-wirick-benson-patients.html.csp

Judge Benson did sentence Dr. MacKay to twenty years in prison; not because he wanted to or because he thought the crime of distributing 3.5 million narcotic pills to addicts warranted it, but because he had to. That is the minimum mandatory sentence for that crime. Judge Benson lamented that he was forced to impose such a harsh sentence on Dr. MacKay and later chastised the prosecutors. Irritated with prosecutors who argued that property belonging to a Brigham City doctor convicted of illegally prescribing pain medication should be forfeited, a federal judge on Wednesday accused attorneys of having a vendetta against the defendant.http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53230535-78/mackay-prosecutors-benson-prison.html.csp

This doctor, who has shown no remorse for his actions, enriched himself by betraying the trust of the public and caused untold suffering by the individuals and families involved. But it pained Judge Benson to sentence Dr. MacKay to prison, where he belongs. Benson told MacKay’s family that he "can’t even imagine" the "nightmare" they are going through. After the sentencing, Judge Benson granted a request from MacKay’s attorney, Peter Stirba, to allow MacKay to stay out of prison while Stirba appeals Benson’s Wednesday ruling. That appeal to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver could take weeks or even months, meaning there now is no firm date set for when MacKay is to report to prison. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53280300-78/mackay-prison-benson-appeal.html.csp?page=1

As a footnote, Judge Benson (as well as Judge Waddoups) also presided over the trials of the southern Utah ancient antiquities grave robbers that I wrote about earlier on this blog (posts #209 and #210.) Like Judge Waddoups, Judge Benson gave all the defendants in his court probation. In Utah, you can pillage and plunder ancient remains and artifacts from public land and Indian reservation land, in clear violation of state and federal law, with no worry about consequences. You will receive only probation and in Judge Waddoups courtroom you may even receive a “Thank You” from the judge!

bombsquadron6
02-10-2012, 04:13 AM
Julian Heicklen, the old guy who was indicted for handing out information that judges don’t like outside the federal courthouse in New York City, is doing his best to piss off District Court Judge Kimba Wood. She refuses to dismiss the charges against him despite the clear violation of his First Amendment rights. He refuses to attend the hearings in her court and has apparently refused to sign an affidavit waiving his appearance for future hearings.( Judge Wood had demanded that his court appointed defense attorneys produce a signed waiver so she could continue to hold the hearings without him present.) At least two deadlines have come and gone and I am certain that Judge Wood wants to throw him in the slammer for contempt of court but she has resisted so far. But why should he cooperate with this arrogant court? These are the same judges who tell the rest of us that we have to endure the Westboro Baptist Church creeps but they won’t tolerate an old geezer quietly handing out pamphlets about jury nullification. Give ‘em Hell, Julian!

Speaking of the Westboro creeps, they plan to protest at the funerals of the two young Powell boys who were killed by their murderous father, Josh Powell, when he blew them and himself up in Graham, Washington. This hideous case has special significance to those of us who live in Utah since Josh Powell was living in West Valley City, a suburb of Salt Lake City, when he undoubtedly killed his wife, the mother of the two boys he went on to kill in Washington state. West Valley police have spent two years looking for the missing Susan Powell with no success. They have searched the surrounding deserts and even numerous abandoned mines in hopes of closing the sad case. Josh Powell had no remorse and took his secret to the grave. So many people have been devastated by his actions but the Westboros are free to come in and make everyone feel worse. Protesting at the funerals of children is a new low, even for them, but why am I not surprised.

bombsquadron6
03-12-2012, 04:22 AM
Well, U.S. Attorney for New York, Rebecca Mermelstein, and District Judge Kimba Wood are still hammering on Julian Heicklen. The case still goes on and on and obviously Judge Wood is not going to do the right thing and dismiss the charges against him, First Amendment be damned. This linked article from the New York Times was published on November 27, 2011 and gives a fairly good update of the case. Notice how determined the U.S. Attorney’s office is to prosecute this inane case and how spineless Judge Wood is in allowing it to continue. (But it was probably the judges in that courthouse who insisted on the indictment in the first place.) Here is the logic that Ms. Mermelstein makes in arguing against allowing a jury to decide the case: Mr. Heicklen, who could face a six-month sentence if convicted, has asked for a jury trial. Ms. Mermelstein, opposing that demand, cited as one reason Mr. Heicklen’s ardent stance that juries should nullify. He would probably “urge a jury to do so in a case against him,” she wrote. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/28/nyregion/brief-details-jury-nullification-case-against-julian-heicklen.html?_r=1

The U.S. Attorney’s office is so afraid that the jury will agree with Heicklen that it is ardently trying to prevent him from having a jury trial??!! Geez, how arrogant can our courts be? That is a rhetorical question, by the way, because they demonstrate every day that they have no boundaries when it comes to arrogance. But it is clear that Heicklen will go toe-to-toe with the feds and he is not afraid of them. Since the public is subsidizing this colossal waste of money, time and resources and we all stand to lose a right that was advocated by none other than Thomas Jefferson, this is a case worth watching. Jury nullification has always been the ultimate defense against tyranny. It gives a jury the ability to tell a legislature or even Congress that they are passing unjust laws and not listening to the people, hence we are not going to enforce them. This is why the feds want to limit the right to a jury trial, at least in this case.

bombsquadron6
03-12-2012, 04:46 AM
Back to Utah and our illustrious pill pushing doctor/drug dealer, Dewey MacKay. His appeal went nowhere with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals so Judge Dee Benson has generously allowed him to report to prison on April 30, 2012. The good doctor is responsible for having addicted countless people to narcotic prescription drugs but unlike the average convicted drug dealer, he has the sympathy of the federal judge who sorely regrets that he has to send this scoundrel to prison.

Judge Benson’s attitude toward Dr. MacKay is quite different than the attitude he had toward another defendant that appeared before him this past year. In 2008, Tim DeChristopher, an ardent environmentalist, and some other environmentalists attended an oil and gas lease auction conducted by the Utah Bureau of Land Management. The leases were for parcels of public land in Utah’s famed redrock country, an area that has for years been the subject of a contentious battle between mining interests and environmentalists. DeChristopher decided to participate in the auction, signing a Bidder Registration Form and placing bids to obtain 14 parcels of land (totaling 22,500 acres) for $1.8 million. DeChristopher’s intent was to sabotage the auction and throw it into turmoil. Obviously, neither he nor his environmentalist associates had the money nor the intent to pay for the leases they won. DeChristopher was removed from the auction by federal agents, taken into custody, questioned and later indicted on April 1, 2009 in a two-count felony indictment for violation of the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act and making false statements. He pleaded “not guilty” on both charges, and faced up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. (italics from Wikipedia)

The case and subsequent trial became a cause celebre here in Utah. After President Obama came into office, new Interior Secretary Ken Salazar invalidated the auctions on the grounds that the BLM had failed to complete procedural prerequisites about the impact that oil and gas exploration might have on nearby national treasures. But DeChristopher was still in trouble and his case was assigned to Judge Benson, definitely not a good thing for DeChristopher, who, in case you are wondering, is not Mormon. DeChristopher’s attorneys noted that in at least 25 other cases no charges were brought against bidders who failed to pay for their leases. (italics from linked article)
http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/02/28/a-monkey-wrenching-environmentalist-goes-on-trial-in-utah/

Everybody got into the act, including Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who allegedly contacted Judge Benson after the trial but before DeChristopher was sentenced and recommended he serve four to six years. Of course, Senator Hatch denies any contact with the judge regarding the case. But Benson used to be Hatch’s Chief of Staff and has Hatch to thank for being nominated and confirmed to the bench so it is very plausible.
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/52610946-90/hatch-shea-judge-tim.html.csp

DeChristopher was convicted by a jury and Judge Benson then sentenced him to two years in prison, to begin immediately, and a $10,000 fine. But here is where it gets thorny. At his trial, DeChristopher showed no remorse and maintained that he did it for noble reasons-to protect the environment. He gave a speech in the courtroom defending his use of civil disobedience and encouraging others to use it as well. Keep in mind that while you may or may not agree with his environmental politics, and I don’t particularly agree with the action he took, his civil disobedience was non-violent and all the leases, including the bogus leases, were eventually pulled by the Obama administration anyway, making it all a moot point. Judge Benson even admitted that the crime was not serious. "The offense itself, with all apologies to people actually in the auction itself, wasn’t that bad," Benson said. But DeChristopher’s speech pissed off the good judge so he sent him straight to prison, with a stopover at the Davis County Jail until space at a federal prison could be arranged. (No luxurious delayed sentence as Dr. MacKay is enjoying.) After the sentence was announced there was a near riot outside the courthouse which even disrupted the light rail trains of which I am one of the operators. Protesters were sitting on the rails and our supervisors were running around trying to convince them to let the trains pass through. No dice.
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52263987-78/dechristopher-federal-auction-leases.html.csp

An excellent essay about Judge Benson, written by a local Salt Lake City columnist, Paul Rolly, appeared in the paper here on February 2. It demonstrates what a hypocrite Judge Benson really is. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/53432853-90/benson-flip-judge-prison.html.csp?page=1

So DeChristopher is now in some federal penitentiary for two years because he wouldn’t keep his mouth shut and show some fake remorse. Judge Benson sees nothing wrong with sending the guy to prison for his speech and making us foot the bill. Apparently, you can disrupt and sabotage military funerals but not oil and gas auctions. What’s wrong with this picture?

bombsquadron6
04-20-2012, 08:14 PM
CONCLUSION
For the foregoing reasons, the Defendant's motion to dismiss the Indictment is
GRANTED. The Defendant's other motions are now moot and are dismissed.
SO ORDERED.
TheClerk of Court is directed
to close this case. Any pending
motions are moot.

Anyone want to guess what this is? If you said the Julian Heicklen criminal case you would be correct. On April 19, 2012, Federal Judge Kimba Wood, who finally had a moment of clarity, integrity and common sense, threw out the charges against Heicklen, which never should have been brought in the first place. The indictment against Heicklen was issued on November 18, 2010 and it has dragged on for a year and a half. What a waste of taxpayer resources, trying to shut up an old geezer who was exercising his Constitutional right to be a pain in the ass. But he was a pain in the ass to the wrong people-federal judges-which can get you in a lot of trouble. Anyway, I'm grateful to Judge Wood for demonsratating just what hypocrites these federal judges are. It took her 18 months to do the right thing and she probably only did it because of the bad press. I guess I'll just hang around and wait for the next arrogant, elitist federal judge to do something infuriating. I'm guessing I won't have to wait long. I seldom do.

bombsquadron6
05-03-2012, 03:37 PM
Some discussions with a close friend were the basis for this post. She comes from a family that includes a number of long time drug addicts, among them both parents who abused prescription drugs for decades. Growing up in this household was a nightmare for my friend who is now in her 50's, divorced from an abusive husband and is raising two children. Her father was a pharmacist and drugs were apparently easy to come by. The mother and all the siblings were also drug abusers. It might seem strange, but it has only been recently that she began to understand the ramifications of growing up with drug addict parents and come to terms with their betrayals to their children. My friend is the only one in this family that has not become an addict and she is estranged from the other members because of it. She believes that her dysfunctional background was the principle reason she used such poor judgment in marrying the abusive husband and is determined that her children will never endure what she did as a child. Further, she maintains that the medical profession has many drug abusers within it.

So what do drugs have to do with federal judges? Well, in the big picture, plenty. The previous posts (#361 and 364) about the case of Dr. Dewey C. McKay and Judge Dee Benson are insightful. Dr. McKay, who is probably responsible for having addicted many of the prescription drug abusers in northern Utah, has shown no remorse for his crimes. Judge Benson is very sympathetic to the doctor but has displayed little concern for those who became addicted by Dr. McKay. Never mind that many of those addicts will go on to have disturbed and dysfunctional families much like the one that my friend grew up in.

An excellent example of federal judges protecting their own can be found in the case of former federal judge Jack Camp. Camp, who was a senior federal judge in the Northern District of Georgia, was arrested by the FBI in October, 2010, on charges of purchasing the drugs cocaine, marijuana, hydrocodone and roxicodone, which he shared with an exotic dancer with whom he was having sexual relations for the previous several months. He was also charged with firearms possession. He was released on $50,000 bond. The stripper, who had a previous drug conviction, had been working with the FBI in exchange for which no charges would be brought against her. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Camp#Arrest_and_conviction (italics)

The judges in Camp’s judicial district all recused themselves from hearing his case so a visiting federal judge from Washington...sentenced former U.S. District Senior Judge Jack T. Camp to 30 days in prison and 10 weeks of community service on drug and theft charges.

In a surprising move, U.S. District Senior Judge Thomas F. Hogan reduced the sole felony to which Camp had pleaded guilty...to a misdemeanor. http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2011/03/fascinating-backstory-for-why-former-judge-jack-camp-does-not-even-have-a-felony-conviction.html (italics)

As an aside, I will mention that one of the explanations Camp gave for his criminal behavior was that he had suffered from a decades-long battle with a bipolar disorder and brain damage caused by a 2000 biking accident. Geez, he was mentally ill and brain damaged for years and still presiding over cases?! I guess the ninety-year-old, apparently senile judge that was on the Tenth Circuit panel when my labor law case was in federal court wasn’t so unusual. How many other mentally impaired federal judges are hearing cases? http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2011/03/ex-judge-camp-sentenced-to-30-days-in-prison.html (http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2011/03/ex-judge-camp-sentenced-to-30-days-in-prison.html)(italics)

Thanks to Judge Hogan, Camp didn’t even have a felony on his record when this whole sordid episode was over. But that’s what happens when you have powerful, influential people advocating for you. In Camp’s case, Hogan issued the sentence after a two-hour hearing during which Camp, his son, a former law partner, a former law clerk, the former district court clerk and the former chairman of Georgia's Republican Party made personal pleas for leniency and a probated sentence that would allow Camp to avoid incarceration.... http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2011/03/fascinating-backstory-for-why-former-judge-jack-camp-does-not-even-have-a-felony-conviction.html (http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2011/03/fascinating-backstory-for-why-former-judge-jack-camp-does-not-even-have-a-felony-conviction.html) (italics)

Camp got 30 days in the slammer and 400 hours of community service. In addition he had to pay a $1,000 fine and reimburse the feds for the cost of the prosecution. Judge Hogan had this to say about Camp at the sentencing: He has disgraced his office. He has denigrated the federal judiciary. He has encouraged disrespect for the law. Tough talk, Judge Hogan, but your actions speak much louder than your words. You too, have disgraced the federal judiciary.
http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/ex-judge-camp-sentenced-867817.html (italics)

In Florida, there have been two recent cases in federal court about drug testing that deserve attention. In the first case, [a] federal judge temporarily blocked Florida's new law that requires welfare applicants to pass a drug test before receiving benefits... saying it may violate the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. ]http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/25/judge-blocks-floridas-new-welfare-drug-testing-law/ (]http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/25/judge-blocks-floridas-new-welfare-drug-testing-law/)(italics)

In the second case, [a] federal judge has ruled that Gov. Rick Scott's random drug testing of state workers is unconstitutional, raising doubts about a new state law allowing Scott's agency heads to require the urine tests without reason to believe that employees have a problem.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled...that the governor's executive order authorizing random testing of some 85,000 workers violated the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. (My only issue with the Governor of Florida is that I believe he, as well as the state legislature, should be drug tested as well. They should have the courage of their convictions and set an example.)
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/governor-vows-appeal-of-judges-rejection-of-his-2327361.html (italics)

A recent case here in Utah is a good example of drug abuse in the medical profession. A plastic surgeon in Orem, Utah (35 miles south of Salt Lake City) acted so strangely this summer — falling asleep standing up, swallowing handfuls of pills and buying drugs not used in his practice — that his own staff canceled his surgeries and quit en masse, according to an emergency order from the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing... (He also kidnapped and assaulted his girlfriend.)
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53022875-78/berg-order-drugs-staff.html.csp (italics)

And in Tennessee, representing the substance abuse problem in the legal profession, we have this illustrious state court judge: A Tennessee judge was so addicted to prescription drugs during his final two years on the bench, he was having sex and buying pills during courtroom breaks, at times purchasing from convicts he had previously sentenced, an investigation found. His behavior has called into question many of the cases he presided over, including one of Knoxville’s most notorious murders. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/world/53857633-68/judge-baumgartner-court-convictions.html.csp (italics)

Many blue collar workers routinely take drug tests and accept it as a condition of employment. However, few white collar professionals are required to take them. Medical, legal and financial professionals are seldom drug tested even though they wield incredible power over us. Here is what my friend who grew up with addict parents (and later had a job that required drug testing) had to say. “Random drug testing is actually a boon to law abiding citizens – we all know there are too many lawyers so why not cull the ranks? Ditto for government jobs, medical jobs, judges; Random drug testing of medical students would open up opportunities to well-deserving students and rid the profession of scoundrels.” Cynical but accurate........

The point of this post is to illuminate the problem of drug abuse within the medical and legal professions. As a public transit worker, I have taken and passed drug tests for 25 years. I make life and death decisions at work every day and am required to undergo random drug tests because of the responsibility. The medical and legal professions also routinely make life and death decisions but are not required to take any drug tests at all. The notion that these people are all of high moral character, lofty and above reproach is nonsense and there are plenty of examples within both professions to prove this.

bombsquadron6
05-13-2012, 02:10 PM
Substance abuse in the legal and medical professions is far more widespread than I had imagined and much has been written about it. In many states (probably all but I didn’t take time to confirm it) attorneys must take annual classes called CLE’s, or Continuing Legal Education, to keep their licenses active. One of the mandatory CLE classes in these states is the “substance abuse” class. The state bar associations apparently all recognize that the legal profession is crammed with drug abusers and alcoholics and these classes are supposed to warn the attorneys (and judges, who of course are also attorneys) about the dangers of misusing drugs and excessive drinking. Do these classes help reduce the number of substance abusers in the legal profession? I seriously doubt it.

According to the linked article below, somewhere between ten and twenty percent of attorneys have substance abuse problems. Although the abuse is well known to the bar associations and legal educators, little is done to confront it unless a particular attorney or judge gets into trouble. The article goes on to explain that substance abuse often begins in law school and that students will learn that they must ignore their emotional and personal reactions, and represent positions that may be in disagreement with their own opinions and belief systems. The best interests of their client, which they have to represent, may be in opposition to the best interests of society. Dubin says that these professional pressures can adversely affect lawyer's personal lives and cause substance abuse problems.
http://voices.yahoo.com/addiction-lawyers-substance-abuse-legal-14707.html?cat=5 (italics)

The great irony, at least to me, is that attorneys are paid very, very well to leave their consciences behind when they go to work. They charge around $250 an hour on the low end of the attorney pay scale to upwards of $1000 an hour for the downtown corporate attorneys. But they use drugs or drink excessively because they must represent positions they don’t agree with or because the client is a scoundrel? They feel bad because they are hurting society? Are we really expected to be empathetic to these people? They could simply refuse to take cases that require them to compromise their principles but that will never happen. In any case, this pool of attorneys, many of whom are drug and/or alcohol impaired, is the source of every municipal, state and federal judge in the U.S. So remember that when you get on a city bus, or ride a passenger train or fly on a commercial airliner, the person operating it has been subjected to drug tests and is very likely not an abuser. But when you hire a lawyer or stand before a judge you have no assurance whatsoever that he or she is clean. In federal courts, litigants in civil cases and defendants in criminal cases have no ability to demand evidence that a judge is drug free or mentally competent.

This problem is mirrored in the medical profession and while there is plenty of evidence that substance abuse is rampant, like attorneys, medical professionals are seldom drug tested. The public is programmed to believe that the medical profession is filled with responsible, ethical and trustworthy people, never mind that many of them have drug problems due in large part to the relatively easy access to drug supplies.
http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/brochures/drug_hc.htm
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/14/us-jackson-malpractice-idUSTRE78D3P620110914

I alerted my friend (referred to in the previous post) to the following story which appeared recently in the Salt Lake Tribune about a pharmacist who was using a drug addicted customer to sell oxycodone for him. We shall call this story “Pharmacist Fun!”
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54041846-78/lammle-police-pills-woman.html.csp

My friend’s email response was as follows: Wow, this guy is a real piece of work. So glad they caught him. The only good news is that there might be at least one honest pharmacist at that store – or maybe he turned the woman in b/c the first guy wouldn’t give him a cut. It’s time to thin the ranks of these scumbags – maybe we should promote a boycott of any store that won’t do random drug tests of their pharmacist – starting with K mart. Just a thought…

So if anyone in the legal or medical communities wants to explain to me why there is no mandated, uniform drug testing in these professions I would certainly like to hear it.

bombsquadron6
05-21-2012, 03:15 PM
Judging by the articles linked here, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that since they received no pay raise they will simply stick the taxpayers with the cost of lavish “working” vacations. This upcoming Judicial Conference will take place in mid-August at the luxurious Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa and it is estimated that the cost to the public will be one million dollars. The Ninth Circuit, which includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington is headquartered in San Francisco, California. (As everyone knows, the deficit in the state of California is 16 billions dollars.)

While other Circuits are having their own Judicial Conferences in much more reasonable locations, the Ninth Circuit apparently views the public coffers as nothing more than an ATM to be plundered at will.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/05/19/Exclusive-9th-Circuit-Takes-Another-Plush-Maui-Vacation-At-Taxpayer-Expense-As-Others-Cut-Back

http://www.wsbtv.com/weblogs/jamie-dupree/2012/may/21/senators-question-judicial-junket/

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/judicial_conference/index.html

bombsquadron6
05-30-2012, 03:44 PM
Here is an article and video from Fox News featuring an excellent interview with Senator Chuck Grassley R-Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, about the upcoming Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Maui. It is followed by snarky comments from some Fox personalities (I have no clue who they are.)
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/05/21/senators-scrutinize-judges-over-tone-deaf-conference-on-island-paradise/

And a response from Ninth Circuit Executive Cathy Catterson states that they have received the May 18, 2012, letter from Senators Grassley and Sessions, Ranking Members of the Senate Judiciary and Senate Budget Committees, respectively, regarding the upcoming Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. The letter is being reviewed at this time and a response to the Senators will be forthcoming. Obviously, Ms. Catterson must do some damage control here but we will certainly look forward to her response. Until then- GAME ON! http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/judicial_conference/

bombsquadron6
06-20-2012, 03:18 PM
Sens. Chuck Grassley and Jeff Sessions are urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to cancel its annual judicial conference in Hawaii, saying the estimated cost to taxpayers of more than $1 million is unacceptable. http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/judicial-conference-hawaii-cancel/2012/06/19/id/442742?s=al&promo_code=F3CF-1

Apparently, Senators Grssley and Sessions received a response from Ninth Circuit Chief Justice Alex Kozinski defending the Maui conference as a responsibility imposed on the court by law. (above link) It is clear that Judge Kozinski has no shame and no sense of responsibility to the public who will pay around a million dollars for this extravagant Maui judicial conference. Nice to know that while the rest of us are scraping by the Ninth Circuit judges and attorney who practice before that court will be in Maui on our nickel. But on the upside I hear the Maui Wowie is awesome!

Texpat
06-20-2012, 03:33 PM
Whenever I read about (my friend) in a legal proceeding, I automatically assume guilt.
If your friend is not man enough to provide name, address. He's not only a weak witness, but a crap friend.

bombsquadron6
06-20-2012, 03:38 PM
I have no idea what you are talking about.?????

bombsquadron6
06-21-2012, 06:06 PM
Whenever I read about (my friend) in a legal proceeding, I automatically assume guilt.
If your friend is not man enough to provide name, address. He's not only a weak witness, but a crap friend.

Just for the record, the above post makes no sense at all but here is a synopsis anyway. My friend that I referred to has not been involved in any legal proceedings (other that a nasty divorce from an abusive husband.) I wrote about her only because I value her opinion on matters relating to drug abuse in the medical profession. Her father was a drug addicted pharmacist and her childhood was a nightmare because of it. She had no part in my labor law case in federal court, which by the way was civil and not criminal, so I am unclear where Texpat comes up with the assumption of guilt. And my name is right here on this post and on every other post of mine on this blog. I provide me real name because it would be cowardly to do otherwise and I would have no credibility at all. But apparently Texpat wants me to provide my address as well. I'm sure the federal judges that I have so harshly criticized here know where I live.........And yes, they scare me.

Measure Man
08-22-2012, 10:38 PM
Do you think if judges were paid a higher salary, we could attract higher quality candidates?

bombsquadron6
08-25-2012, 03:32 PM
Paying federal judges more money for the job they do has been the subject of this thread for four years. I have argued against it for many reasons and my (apparently) former debating opponent, Sensible, argued that it is necessary to get the best and the brightest. Since I am sure no one, but no one, wants me to rehash my arguments, I will just say that you can go back through this thread and find the many reasons I have given why federal judges should do a better job first and then ask for more money. But as long as there is no oversight of the judiciary, and those selected as federal judges represent ideologies, then we won't get the best and brightest no matter how much we pay. Too often judicial nominees come from two camps; academia on the left and corporate law on the right. Neither group represents most of America but they represent ideologies that members of Congress want to promote. And these federal judges are sore because they don't make as much money as corporate attorneys. The idea of public service is out the window and this latest taxpayer-funded conference in Maui is a good example of an entitlement mentality by federal judges. The conference took place as planned with a nice speech by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy where he defended the conference, never acknowledging that it was an affront to the many, many Americans who are struggling these days, just trying to survive. He also expressed indignation that some of us don't consider the federal judiciary to be the most noble entity in the world. He simply repeats the mantra that all federal judges are honest and want justice served. Well, my own experience in federal court was counter to that claim but no average Americans who have been wronged by federal courts are ever allowed to attend these lavish shindigs to give another perspective. Indeed, these affairs are extremely insulated so that federal judges don't have to deal with reality. But if we must be reminded over and over again that federal judges are honest and ethical, as Justice Kennedy does, then I suggest that there are serious deficiencies in the judiciary and they know it but choose not to address them. Justice Kennedy sounds like "Honest Abe," the used car salesman.

Here is a link to the speech that Justice Kennedy gave: http://www.ce9.uscourts.gov/absolutenm/articlefiles/495-Transcript_of_Justice_Kennedy_Remarks.pdf

A review of the Maui conference can be found in many publications but here is one from the Wall Street Journal: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/08/15/justice-kennedy-defends-ninth-circuits-maui-conference/

bombsquadron6
08-30-2012, 04:51 PM
An update to a previous post #366: In the fourth paragraph from the bottom, I discussed the case of the drug addicted doctor in Orem, Utah, who was arrested late last year for assaulting his girlfriend and possession of controlled substances. He clearly was addicted to prescription meds and was performing surgeries before his staff reported him and quit en masse. Well, he was convicted, served a few months and then was released early, August 23, on good behavior after appealing to the judge in the case. Long story short, his girlfriend, being a stand-by-your-man kinda girl, took him back and they were both found dead this week, only a few days after his release, apparently from drugs since there was no sign of trauma or a fight. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54773305-78/berg-schwartz-jail-early.html.csp?page=1

All I can do is shake my head and wonder why the legal and medical professions never have to take any kind of drug tests to maintain their licenses. As a public transit worker I've taken them for twenty five years. Public safety doesn't just apply to those who ride buses and trains. It also applies to those who have medical procedures done and those who find themselves in courtrooms for any reason. But we are brainwashed into believing those two professions are above reproach despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

garhkal
08-30-2012, 07:04 PM
Agreed.. Heck imo any job where someone else's life is in your hands (military, police, firemen, doctors, emt workers, coast guard, truckers etc) should be required to get mandatory randomized pee testing for drugs.

CORNELIUSSEON
08-30-2012, 07:11 PM
Actually, there is nothing that would prevent the Medical Associations from requiring annual bloodtest as a prerequisite to maintain your professional license.

bombsquadron6
08-31-2012, 04:52 PM
Of course there is nothing that prevents the American Medical Association or the American Bar Association from implementing drug screens as a requirement for their members to maintain their licenses and continue to practice. The only reason they don't is because they don't want to. Both professions admit, internally, that there is a serious drug abuse problem among many of their members but they continue to portray themselves to the public as noble and above reproach. I recognize that the large majority of both professions are ethical and responsible but there is a sizeable minority in both that is not and the AMA and ABA refuse to address it publicly. The medical profession in particular should be addressing drug abuse much more aggressively. It isn't just doctors who are at risk of drug abuse but nurses, pharmacists and other medical personnel that have access to prescription drugs.

The notion that drug testing is just for us blue collar rubes is arrogant and dangerous. Personally, I'm a lot more cynical when I go to the doctor for anything now. And as far as the legal industry, after my horrifying experience in federal court, I stay away from those scoundrels!

SENDBILLMONEY
09-03-2012, 03:55 PM
Actually, there is nothing that would prevent the Medical Associations from requiring annual bloodtest as a prerequisite to maintain your professional license.

Sure there is. Medical associations don't issue licenses, at least not in the United States. The word "association" does not appear in the name if any U.S. entity issuing a license to practice medicine.

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/education-careers/becoming-physician/medical-licensure/state-medical-boards.page

There's also the fact that each jurisdiction is going to give different powers to the license-issuing entity. Some might have the power to impose that, others might have to go back to their state legislatures and ask.

bombsquadron6
09-03-2012, 04:07 PM
Technically, you are right, I guess. (I'm not going to research this.) But you ignore that these associations do nothing to endorse drug screens, in fact they appear to be dead set against them. If they had a policy of refusing membership to those who refuse to get drug tested or some similar policy, they would go a long way toward curbing some of the rampant drug use in these two fields. Maybe you are OK with the status quo but I sure am not.

bombsquadron6
09-05-2012, 03:09 PM
Here is another (of many) great examples of our judiciary in action. A federal judge in Massachusetts has ordered the state to pay for a sex change operation for an inmate serving a life sentence for murder. Who did he murder? Well, that would be his wife who discovered him wearing her clothes. But regardless, his Constitutional rights are being violated by not receiving the operation, according to U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf. (I'm sure the women in the prison will welcome him after he gets the surgery.) The taxpayers of Massachusetts get to foot the bill for this insanity and I doubt most of them are amused.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/05/us-usa-crime-sexchange-idUSBRE8840V820120905

bombsquadron6
09-11-2012, 03:31 PM
It's a little late but I must apologize to SendBillMoney who pointed out that it is not the AMA or ABA that license doctors and lawyers. Of course he was right and I was a real shrew in my response. I was in a pissy mood about something unrelated and I should have been more civil. Sorry Bill. The AMA and ABA are nothing more than unions for the medical and legal professions and while they are very powerful they have little to do with licensing which is administered through the states that a person paractices in. The AMA and ABA protect their members, not the public, in my opinion. Personally, I'm not nearly the witch that I appear to be here on this forum. I just think the federal judiciary is made up of a bunch of arrogant jerks. sorry again, Bill. You were correct.

bombsquadron6
10-05-2012, 09:12 PM
Here is a fun story about an attorney in New Orleans who also served as a part-time assistant city attorney. A joint fell out of his pocket while he was in court and he got arrested. His wife is currently running for a city council seat and he had earlier run for a position as a judge in juvenile court but lost.
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/03/14203537-marijuana-joint-falls-out-of-assistant-city-attorneys-pocket-in-court?lite

OK. Maybe smoking pot isn’t that big a deal. But for those of us who take drug tests as a condition of employment it sure as hell is. And am I wrong to think that a lawyer who is also a part-time city attorney should not be using any drugs at all? How many more are there like this guy? Probably a lot but we will never know because there is no requirement that attorneys and judges take drug tests. The public is brainwashed into thinking that those in the legal and medical professions are above reproach but they should instead remember the cautionary Latin phrase caveat emptor.

bombsquadron6
01-09-2013, 06:23 PM
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wants full financial support for the federal courts. He points out that the nearly seven billion in appropriations to the federal court system represents "a mere two-tenths of 1 percent of the United States' total budget of $3.7 trillion." Roberts believes they should have more money.
http://news.msn.com/politics/roberts-urges-full-financial-support-for-supreme-court

So what do the courts do with this money that is provided by hard working taxpayers? The following are just a few examples of the kinds of cases in court now and decisions that are coming out of the federal courts.

A Louisiana woman, Sarah Childs, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Denham Springs, Louisiana, because they cited her for having placed Christmas lights forming a middle finger facing her neighbors with whom she was feuding. The ACLU jumped right in, of course, and the federal suit was filed on December 20, 2012. The case is being heard by Judge James J. Brady. So far, there are lots of attorneys involved; the ACLU attorneys are representing Ms. Childs and the city has its own herd of lawyers. This will, of course, go on for some time at great cost to the public and my guess is that eventually the judge will rule that Ms. Childs has a Constitutional right to be vulgar and deliberately offend her neighbors. (They may be just as bad as her. Ms. Childs apparently accused them of stealing her dog.)
http://news.yahoo.com/judge-la-woman-flip-finger-holiday-lights-213541305.html

Rather than tell Ms. Childs to act like an adult and sort it out without involving the courts or tell the ACLU to stop wasting limited resources on stupid stuff the judge will probably act as though this is a very serious and important case. GROW UP PEOPLE!

On to the next vulgar and repulsive litigant; John Swartz of New York. In 2006, Mr. Swartz flipped off a cop and the cop then pulled him over. The situation escalated and Swartz was arrested. There are conflicting accounts of the exchange but nobody got beat up and there was no claim of brutality. So of course, Mr. Swartz, who started the whole unpleasant exchange, files a federal lawsuit against the cop in 2006. The district court judge had dismissed Mr. Swartz’s claim so of course he filed an appeal and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals took it very seriously and ruled in Mr. Swartz’s favor on January 3, 2013. The case was in court over six years. So all of you are now free to flip off cops as much as you like.
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/04/16348364-court-flipping-the-bird-at-a-cop-doesnt-warrant-arrest?lite

These litigants are crybabies who expect federal courts to decide every squabble and Chief Justice John Roberts wants more money so the federal courts can continue their important job of babysitting a spoiled, bratty public. Sheesh.

But don’t worry. They also decide actual cases that affect the public.

A bankruptcy judge on Tuesday rejected a bid by former MF Global customers to depose the collapsed brokerage's former chief, Jon Corzine.
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/mf-global-judge-nixes-customer-groups-bid-depose-195035621--sector.html

Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs chief and former Democratic New Jersey governor and senator, was probably up to his eyeballs in the MF Global collapse although he denies any wrongdoing. So I’m no attorney, as everyone knows, but the judge won’t even allow Corzine to be deposed? He doesn’t even have to answer any questions? Thanks to Federal Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn for looking out for the best interests of big money scoundrels.

bombsquadron6
01-18-2013, 05:41 PM
Oh, the fun going on in federal courts! Here in Utah, we have the smarmy reality TV “Sister Wives” gang fighting for the right to all be married to each other (and crank out boatloads of kids.) Of course, the polygamists are all fundamentalist Mormons and the federal judge, Clark Waddoups, is a mainstream Mormon (a distinction many of us don't buy.) This is going on right now in our downtown federal courthouse (just in time for the Sundance Film Festival which is starting up in Park City.) Yeah, this will be fun to watch.
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/federal-court-hears-sister-wives-lawsuit-utahs-polygamy-law

And in Los Angeles, [a] major adult filmmaker sued to block a new Los Angeles County law requiring porn actors to wear condoms, calling it a threat to free expression.
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/12/16479353-major-porn-producer-sues-to-block-los-angeles-condom-law?lite (http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/12/16479353-major-porn-producer-sues-to-block-los-angeles-condom-law?lite)
This is a civil rights case that I know I will be watching!

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wants more money so the federal courts can continue their mission of providing us with endless entertainment and grist for the joke mills. COOL!

bombsquadron6
02-23-2013, 09:00 PM
WICCANS RULE!

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, that great Circuit based in San Francisco which covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, has ruled that the California Department of Corrections must provide chaplains to minister to the needs of Wiccan prisoners. Wicca is a pagan religion that worships nature and involves witchcraft. There are probably less that 200 inmates in California prisons that actually practice Wicca according to a 2007 survey although a Wiccan minister claims there are around 2000. The case was first thrown out by a district court judge but an appeal was filed and the Ninth Circuit overturned the district court decision.

I won’t even bother to editorialize on this latest example of judicial stupidity.

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/02/19/court-says-california-prisons-may-have-to-hire-wiccan-chaplain/

http://laist.com/2013/02/20/california_prison_may_be_required_t.php

Pullinteeth
02-25-2013, 03:21 PM
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wants full financial support for the federal courts. He points out that the nearly seven billion in appropriations to the federal court system represents "a mere two-tenths of 1 percent of the United States' total budget of $3.7 trillion." Roberts believes they should have more money.
http://news.msn.com/politics/roberts-urges-full-financial-support-for-supreme-court

So what do the courts do with this money that is provided by hard working taxpayers? The following are just a few examples of the kinds of cases in court now and decisions that are coming out of the federal courts.

A Louisiana woman, Sarah Childs, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Denham Springs, Louisiana, because they cited her for having placed Christmas lights forming a middle finger facing her neighbors with whom she was feuding. The ACLU jumped right in, of course, and the federal suit was filed on December 20, 2012. The case is being heard by Judge James J. Brady. So far, there are lots of attorneys involved; the ACLU attorneys are representing Ms. Childs and the city has its own herd of lawyers. This will, of course, go on for some time at great cost to the public and my guess is that eventually the judge will rule that Ms. Childs has a Constitutional right to be vulgar and deliberately offend her neighbors. (They may be just as bad as her. Ms. Childs apparently accused them of stealing her dog.)
http://news.yahoo.com/judge-la-woman-flip-finger-holiday-lights-213541305.html

Rather than tell Ms. Childs to act like an adult and sort it out without involving the courts or tell the ACLU to stop wasting limited resources on stupid stuff the judge will probably act as though this is a very serious and important case. GROW UP PEOPLE!

On to the next vulgar and repulsive litigant; John Swartz of New York. In 2006, Mr. Swartz flipped off a cop and the cop then pulled him over. The situation escalated and Swartz was arrested. There are conflicting accounts of the exchange but nobody got beat up and there was no claim of brutality. So of course, Mr. Swartz, who started the whole unpleasant exchange, files a federal lawsuit against the cop in 2006. The district court judge had dismissed Mr. Swartz’s claim so of course he filed an appeal and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals took it very seriously and ruled in Mr. Swartz’s favor on January 3, 2013. The case was in court over six years. So all of you are now free to flip off cops as much as you like.
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/04/16348364-court-flipping-the-bird-at-a-cop-doesnt-warrant-arrest?lite

These litigants are crybabies who expect federal courts to decide every squabble and Chief Justice John Roberts wants more money so the federal courts can continue their important job of babysitting a spoiled, bratty public. Sheesh.

But don’t worry. They also decide actual cases that affect the public.

A bankruptcy judge on Tuesday rejected a bid by former MF Global customers to depose the collapsed brokerage's former chief, Jon Corzine.
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/mf-global-judge-nixes-customer-groups-bid-depose-195035621--sector.html

Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs chief and former Democratic New Jersey governor and senator, was probably up to his eyeballs in the MF Global collapse although he denies any wrongdoing. So I’m no attorney, as everyone knows, but the judge won’t even allow Corzine to be deposed? He doesn’t even have to answer any questions? Thanks to Federal Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn for looking out for the best interests of big money scoundrels.

When it comes to the first case, I am not sure what your beef is. Just because the case is filed doesn't mean the judges did anythign wrong. On the second case, your conclusion doesn't match the facts presented. Just because the appeal was granted doesn't mean he won. It just means he gets to refile. As to the third case, you are incorrect. The judge isn't preventing him from being deposed. He merely ruled that the person(s) petitioning to depose him were not litigants in the matter and thus had no grounds to depose him.

Pullinteeth
02-25-2013, 03:32 PM
WICCANS RULE!

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, that great Circuit based in San Francisco which covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, has ruled that the California Department of Corrections must provide chaplains to minister to the needs of Wiccan prisoners. Wicca is a pagan religion that worships nature and involves witchcraft. There are probably less that 200 inmates in California prisons that actually practice Wicca according to a 2007 survey although a Wiccan minister claims there are around 2000. The case was first thrown out by a district court judge but an appeal was filed and the Ninth Circuit overturned the district court decision.

I won’t even bother to editorialize on this latest example of judicial stupidity.

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/02/19/court-says-california-prisons-may-have-to-hire-wiccan-chaplain/

http://laist.com/2013/02/20/california_prison_may_be_required_t.php

Please, editorialize....I would love to hear why you think the religous rights of some inmates should be respected but not those of others... My question would be how exactly would you have a chaplain for a religion that has no religious leaders....

bombsquadron6
02-25-2013, 04:28 PM
There is little to editorialize about. As you pointed out yourself, how do you have a chaplain for a religion that has no religious leaders or a theology? (And no, I don't consider worshipping nature and practicing witchcraft to be a "theology.") The courts are supposed to take into consideration the burden that these decisions place on society. The earlier survey that found less than 200 Wiccan inmates statewide shows that there would be a considerable burden to the public to provide unneeded "chaplains." But of course, the Wiccan minister involved in the case claims that there are now 2000. Well, he isn't really a credible witness, is he? Of course, inmates will want to milk this for whatever they can get out of it. Suddenly everyone is a Wiccan! And the state of California, broke as it is, will foot the bill for this folly. This is religious freedom taken to the Nth degree of stupidity.

Pullinteeth
02-25-2013, 05:42 PM
There is little to editorialize about. As you pointed out yourself, how do you have a chaplain for a religion that has no religious leaders or a theology? (And no, I don't consider worshipping nature and practicing witchcraft to be a "theology.") The courts are supposed to take into consideration the burden that these decisions place on society. The earlier survey that found less than 200 Wiccan inmates statewide shows that there would be a considerable burden to the public to provide unneeded "chaplains." But of course, the Wiccan minister involved in the case claims that there are now 2000. Well, he isn't really a credible witness, is he? Of course, inmates will want to milk this for whatever they can get out of it. Suddenly everyone is a Wiccan! And the state of California, broke as it is, will foot the bill for this folly. This is religious freedom taken to the Nth degree of stupidity.

Wiccan minister...that is an oxymoron.... What possible benefit would there be for an inmate to claim they were Wiccan? The only benefit would be to these self-professed Wiccan ministers that can now get a job....

bombsquadron6
02-25-2013, 05:56 PM
The only benefit for inmates is they might occasionally get out of some work when their "minister" shows up to tend to their "spiritual needs" but more likely it will simply be a way to harass the prison workers by claiming they have First Amendment rights and then make unreasonable demands. Who knows what the benefits will be but be sure the inmates will find a way to exploit this. And yeah, the self-serving minister will have a job. Great. Can we now look forward to Satan worshippers getting in on this action? Probably.

bombsquadron6
02-26-2013, 08:44 PM
When it comes to the first case, I am not sure what your beef is. Just because the case is filed doesn't mean the judges did anythign wrong. On the second case, your conclusion doesn't match the facts presented. Just because the appeal was granted doesn't mean he won. It just means he gets to refile. As to the third case, you are incorrect. The judge isn't preventing him from being deposed. He merely ruled that the person(s) petitioning to depose him were not litigants in the matter and thus had no grounds to depose him.

I don't get your point. What is my "beef?" I made it right there on the post. I said about the first case: "Rather than tell Ms. Childs to act like an adult and sort it out without involving the courts or tell the ACLU to stop wasting limited resources on stupid stuff the judge will probably act as though this is a very serious and important case. GROW UP PEOPLE!" I stand by that. For the record, I checked PACER (a subscription service for all federal cases) and the lawsuit by Ms. Childs was dismissed by the district court judge on February 21. Apparently there was some sort of settlement but the docket doesn't provide the details. There were numerous attorneys involved. So once again my point is: Why are federal courts expected to decide every squabble and can't people be expected to resolve these things without filing federal lawsuits all the time?

As far as the second case, Swartz did indeed win the appeal and now his lawsuit against the police will be litigated. He started the whole thing by flipping off the police and being a complete dickhead but now he is the victim. Sorry, I don't buy it.

And as for the third case, "[The attorney] reached by phone on Tuesday, dismissed [the judge's] reasoning as "the most minute technicality imaginable."

So all I can say is we agree to disagree, Pullinteeth. You defend the actions of the above judges and don't appear to think that their decisions are detrimental to the best interests of the public. I view it differently and think that many of the decisons coming out of the federal courts are harmful to the public. A society with no boundaries is not a nice place to live in.

bombsquadron6
03-23-2013, 06:06 PM
Well, the federal courts give me an unending supply of outrage and disgust. You may well ask “What is it NOW, Lisa?” (Or, as Pullinteeth would ask, “What’s my beef?” Sorry, couldn’t help it.) This week’s rant is about the federal lawsuit filed by the nudists in San Francisco. Many of the nearly all male naked guys who roam around the city, particularly in the Castro district which is a mostly gay enclave, have insisted that it is a “gay rights issue” and not an issue of disgusting naked guys wandering around offending almost everyone who wears clothes in public. The naked people (there are some women) are claiming that their civil rights have been violated because the city of San Francisco has enacted an ordinance banning public nudity. The ban was spearheaded by Supervisor Scott Wiener who represents the Castro area and is himself gay although he chooses to wear clothes. San Franciscans, well known for their tolerance of almost anything except conservative politics, have finally gotten fed up with the situation. The city even enacted a “skid mark law” which requires naked people to bring a towel or cloth to put on the seats of public dining areas. So there are a bunch of blubbery naked guys walking to their favorite bistro carrying towels to place between their hairy asses and the seats. (I have no idea where they carry their wallets.) I am not making any of this up as the link to the following news story will attest.
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Castro-naked-guys-have-gone-too-far-3867094.php

I will point out that the gay nudies claim that the Castro district is “theirs” and that if straights don’t like it they shouldn’t go there. But according to my friend (I wrote about her earlier because her father was a drug addicted pharmacist) who was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area and lived in the city for many years, the Castro district was a middle class family area until about the 1960's when gays started moving in. The gay nudies don’t own it and have no right to tell families they should not live there.
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Nudists-uncover-the-city-s-outrage-3917348.php


The nudies’ lawsuit against the city’s anti-nudity ordinance was filed in district court in San Francisco on November 14, 2012, and was assigned to Judge Edward M. Chen. The nudies asked for a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect on February 1, 2013, and they also wanted the judge to certify the suit as a class action.

The activists, represented by attorney Christina DiEdoardo, argue[d] that being nude is protected on constitutional grounds as expressive speech and that the ordinance violates the equal protection clause by exempting events like Folsom Street Fair and the Pride Parade.
http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/federal-court-hearing-scheduled-lawsuit-against-sf/nTyx5/


On January 29, 2013, Judge Chen denied the Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and dismissed the case. He said that nudity in itself is not protected free speech because it “is not inherently expressive.” Seems pretty reasonable so far, doesn’t it? But wait! Judge Chen then practically invites the nudies to file and amended complaint after the law goes into effect!


Chen said the activists could file an amended lawsuit after the law took effect if they wished to argue that the measure was enforced against them in a discriminatory way.
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/03/16/nudists-challenge-san-franciscos-nudity-ban-in-amended-lawsuit/#.UURhFWi7fWc.twitter

If Judge Chen rules against them on the amended complaint, which was filed on March 15, 2013, the nudies can always take it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which has a history of making outrageous decisions that piss off much of the rest of the country. I think there is a fairly good chance that they would rule in favor of the nudies. Watch out, America. A skid mark law may be coming to your community!

garhkal
03-24-2013, 06:07 AM
I will point out that the gay nudies claim that the Castro district is “theirs” and that if straights don’t like it they shouldn’t go there.

Smokers for years tried using that argument against non smokers, wanting to take over their bars/restaurants.. We all know how that turned out.

bombsquadron6
03-24-2013, 04:18 PM
Yeah. The belief that you can claim a public area as "yours" is being used in an incredibly hypocritical way right now in San Francisco. The nudies, particularly in the Castro, tell others, "tough luck if you don't like us. Go somewhere else if you're offended." But these are the same people who scream bloody murder if someone shows a dislike of gays, minorities, -fill-in-the-blank- types of people or if someone puts up a cross on public land or makes a public reference to a specific, usually Christian, religion. San Francisco has become a victim of its own permissiveness. There are almost no boundaries to public behavior there anymore and it has degraded the quality of life, not improved it. I sure as hell won't be sitting on any outdoor chairs at sidewalk cafes when I visit San Francisco. (I still have a relative north of the city and my dad is buried at the Presidio National Cemetery so I guess I will go through once in a while.)

My ire at Judge Chen is because he dismissed the case as he should have but then immediately invited the nudies to refile it as soon as the anti-nudity ordinance went into effect on February 1, 2013. The nudies did just that and now they are busy trying to get arrested so they can demonstrate that they are being discriminated against (since the city still allows nudies to run in the marathon or show it all at the Folsom Street Fair.) Judge Chen may or may not rule against them on the amended complaint but if he does rule against them a second time they will almost surely go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals with their case. And, of course, the 9th Circuit will almost surely agree to hear it. I am not saying the nudies will win at the circuit court level but they have a reasonably good shot at it given the history of that circuit. If they were to win at that level, anybody who doesn't want to look at naked people in public will be viewed as intolerant (at least in the states covered by the 9th Circuit.)

As transit rail workers we spent two years in federal court trying to exercise the well established right to decide for ourselves what union we wanted and unload a corrupt, entrenched, bureaucratic union. The courts ruled we had no right to decide for ourselves who would represent us but the company and existing union, working together, could impose that union on us. Despite the fact that modern labor law overwhelmingly supported our contention, we lost. You can be sure the judge did not invite us to refile our claims at a later date even though a number of our claims are still valid to this day.

Corporations, who are people in the eyes of the federal courts, can get just about anything they want by going to federal court. The deference they are shown is nauseating. State laws that protect citizens from corruption by corporations have been sytematically struck down. Montana had a century old law that limited the money corporations could donate to political causes but it was invalidated by the Supreme Court in Citizens United.

Who benefits most by the federal courts today? Those who choose to live outside the boundaries of decency and big money corporations. The rest of us are SOL.

bombsquadron6
03-25-2013, 05:26 PM
Out of curisosity I decided to look up Judge Edward Chen. Sheesh. It was SO predictable. Chen is a 1975 graduate of the University of California Berkeley and a 1979 graduate of Boalt Hall which is the UC Berkeley law school. He did a stint in a law firm after becoming a lawyer but then spent 16 years as a staff attorney for the ACLU. He was nominated to the federal bench by President Obama and in 2011 was confirmed. The Senate vote was 56-42. Dems loved him. Republicans hated him.

My point here is that federal judges come from two camps now. The far left, and the corporate right. You can look at their background and predict with some certainty which way they will rule on issues. Ideology is more important than justice now.

CORNELIUSSEON
04-28-2013, 10:05 PM
Out of curisosity I decided to look up Judge Edward Chen. Sheesh. It was SO predictable. Chen is a 1975 graduate of the University of California Berkeley and a 1979 graduate of Boalt Hall which is the UC Berkeley law school. He did a stint in a law firm after becoming a lawyer but then spent 16 years as a staff attorney for the ACLU. He was nominated to the federal bench by President Obama and in 2011 was confirmed. The Senate vote was 56-42. Dems loved him. Republicans hated him.

My point here is that federal judges come from two camps now. The far left, and the corporate right. You can look at their background and predict with some certainty which way they will rule on issues. Ideology is more important than justice now.

You need to go read Machiavelli's "The Prince". He said - in essence - that justice and ideology form the two-edge sword of Politics.

bombsquadron6
04-30-2013, 04:08 PM
You need to go read Machiavelli's "The Prince". He said - in essence - that justice and ideology form the two-edge sword of Politics.

I am familiar with Machiavelli. Everyone has an ideology but I get the impression your real concern here is that I have criticized Judge Chen who was President Obama's choice for federal judge. Chen's ideology is extreme left. I have equally criticized the far right, Federalist Society, corporate attorneys who have been selected for federal judgeships under previous Republican presidents. Extremism is extremism and whether it is extreme left or extreme right doesn't matter. It hurts this nation as a whole.

Pullinteeth
05-14-2013, 07:16 PM
Well, the federal courts give me an unending supply of outrage and disgust. You may well ask “What is it NOW, Lisa?” (Or, as Pullinteeth would ask, “What’s my beef?” Sorry, couldn’t help it.) This week’s rant is about the federal lawsuit filed by the nudists in San Francisco. Many of the nearly all male naked guys who roam around the city, particularly in the Castro district which is a mostly gay enclave, have insisted that it is a “gay rights issue” and not an issue of disgusting naked guys wandering around offending almost everyone who wears clothes in public. The naked people (there are some women) are claiming that their civil rights have been violated because the city of San Francisco has enacted an ordinance banning public nudity. The ban was spearheaded by Supervisor Scott Wiener who represents the Castro area and is himself gay although he chooses to wear clothes. San Franciscans, well known for their tolerance of almost anything except conservative politics, have finally gotten fed up with the situation. The city even enacted a “skid mark law” which requires naked people to bring a towel or cloth to put on the seats of public dining areas. So there are a bunch of blubbery naked guys walking to their favorite bistro carrying towels to place between their hairy asses and the seats. (I have no idea where they carry their wallets.) I am not making any of this up as the link to the following news story will attest.
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Castro-naked-guys-have-gone-too-far-3867094.php

I will point out that the gay nudies claim that the Castro district is “theirs” and that if straights don’t like it they shouldn’t go there. But according to my friend (I wrote about her earlier because her father was a drug addicted pharmacist) who was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area and lived in the city for many years, the Castro district was a middle class family area until about the 1960's when gays started moving in. The gay nudies don’t own it and have no right to tell families they should not live there.
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Nudists-uncover-the-city-s-outrage-3917348.php


The nudies’ lawsuit against the city’s anti-nudity ordinance was filed in district court in San Francisco on November 14, 2012, and was assigned to Judge Edward M. Chen. The nudies asked for a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect on February 1, 2013, and they also wanted the judge to certify the suit as a class action.

The activists, represented by attorney Christina DiEdoardo, argue[d] that being nude is protected on constitutional grounds as expressive speech and that the ordinance violates the equal protection clause by exempting events like Folsom Street Fair and the Pride Parade.
http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/federal-court-hearing-scheduled-lawsuit-against-sf/nTyx5/


On January 29, 2013, Judge Chen denied the Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and dismissed the case. He said that nudity in itself is not protected free speech because it “is not inherently expressive.” Seems pretty reasonable so far, doesn’t it? But wait! Judge Chen then practically invites the nudies to file and amended complaint after the law goes into effect!


Chen said the activists could file an amended lawsuit after the law took effect if they wished to argue that the measure was enforced against them in a discriminatory way.
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/03/16/nudists-challenge-san-franciscos-nudity-ban-in-amended-lawsuit/#.UURhFWi7fWc.twitter

If Judge Chen rules against them on the amended complaint, which was filed on March 15, 2013, the nudies can always take it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which has a history of making outrageous decisions that piss off much of the rest of the country. I think there is a fairly good chance that they would rule in favor of the nudies. Watch out, America. A skid mark law may be coming to your community!

Nope, the only real beef I have with your post is that it isn't clear. You say SF enacted a public nudity clause and LATER say that SF finally got fed up and enacted the "skid mark" clause... In reality, the skid mark clause came first. I am not sure how I feel about it overall though if it prevents even one hot chick from walking around naked, I would say it is a bad idea!!! ;-) Don't think it is a gay issue though. Just because these tubs of goo happen to be gay doesn't make nudity a gay issue. It isn't comparable to smoking either because smoking allegedly causes health problems in others. Seeing these guys naked might cause you to WISH you were blind or give you suicidal ideations but I don't think it would actually cause blindness...

bombsquadron6
05-19-2013, 04:27 PM
You're correct on your points. But the militant gays have commandeered the whole issue of public nudity in San Francisco. The city does make an exception for festivals like the Folsom Street Fair which is a big gay exhibitionist bash and many gays have tied the opposition to public nudity to prejudice against gays. I don't buy their argument but it is out there. The case is still in federal court. I checked the docket today and the nudies tried to get a Preliminary Injunction and a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the new law but apparently the judge didn't go along with it. He denied the TRO but I can't figure out from the docket if he denied the PI as well. In any case, the court has set up an Alternative Dispute Resolution phone conference set for June 3. I can't believe that the nudies will just decide to negotiate a settlement unless they are certain they will lose. I also can't believe that this case is even in court.

bombsquadron6
07-17-2013, 06:31 PM
A quick check of PACER found that the above case, 3:12-cv-05841-EMC Hightower et al v. City and County of San Francisco et al, is still going on. What a waste of limited public money and resources but no matter, everyone involved in this stupidity takes themselves very seriously. I presume the plaintiffs, who are a bunch of exhibitionists, are expected to wear clothes when they attend hearings in federal court in San Francisco.

Now on to the latest drug-addled judge. Granted, this druggie judge is not a federal judge, but merely a justice court judge here in Salt Lake City. And I didn't even have to look for this one. It was simply a news story in my local paper this morning. Virginia Ward, a 1993 graduate of the University of Utah Law School and a Salt Lake City justice court judge for the past eleven years, was arrested by the DEA for buying and selling drugs. According to the newspaper story she admitted her drug of choice is Oxycodone. Who knows how many people charged with misdemeanor drug crimes stood in front of her in her courtroom as she passed judgment on them while she was zoned on Oxy? Will someone please tell me why the legal and medical professions don't have to take drug tests?
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56602963-78/ward-court-drug-judge.html.csp

bombsquadron6
09-09-2013, 05:45 PM
The Civil Rights case in federal court in San Francisco is still going on. It involves a group of nudists who argue that they have the Constitutional right to walk around naked and are suing the city of San Francisco which has prohibited it. This idiotic case was filed last November and no doubt a lot of public money has been spent on it so far judging by all the activity on the docket. What a waste of very limited resources but no doubt everyone involved, from the nudists and their attorney to Judge Edward Chen, consider it to be an important civil rights case and take themselves very seriously.

There is a telephone conference scheduled for September 16, at 2:00 p.m. which is nice for the nudists because they won’t have to dress for it. Presumably their attorney will, though.


Judicial Schmooze Fest in Colorado!
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently concluded a judicial conference at a snazzy five star resort in Colorado Springs. Sequester be damned! http://tenthcircuitconference.org/

With officials from the Judicial Branch demanding that Congress end across the board budget cuts from the sequester, federal judges from the Tenth Circuit start to gather today for a judicial conference at a "five star" Colorado resort that features three golf courses and a "scenic mountain backdrop." http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/jamie-dupree/2013/aug/28/five-star-resort-weekend-federal-judges/

At least Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) had the sense to challenge the federal judges about their “jet set junkets.”

Such spending by federal judicial circuits caught the eye of Congress earlier this month, as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) asked federal judges to justify why they are spending taxpayer dollars on what he labeled "jet set judicial junkets." http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/jamie-dupree/2013/aug/28/five-star-resort-weekend-federal-judges/

An interesting footnote to the story is that numerous attorneys attend these junkets as well and according to Jamie Dupree, (using the Eleventh Circuit as an example) each attending attorney kicks in an extra three hundred thirty five dollars to offset the cost of food and beverages at the conferences. How nice that attorneys who argue cases in front of the Circuit Court judges are buying their drinks at these luxury resort conferences. What a bunch of schmoozers! http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/08/29/circuit-court-judges-book-lavish-conference-accommodations-rockies

It’s business as usual for federal judges. A judiciary that howls in protest when told to cut their budgets but thinks nothing of spending public money on themselves.

garhkal
09-09-2013, 06:27 PM
Just like the junkets the UN has when they go to places to discuss famine/poverty and have lavish all you can eat buffets.

bombsquadron6
09-09-2013, 06:31 PM
Pigs at a trough. But the UN example that you give is particularly offensive for obvious reasons.

bombsquadron6
12-18-2013, 05:07 PM
MORE NAKED NEWS FROM SAN FRANCISCO! Well, the nudies are still at it and nobody at the federal court in San Francisco has a whit of common sense. The case is still going on and everyone involved seems to think it is important to decide in court whether people can walk around nude. There are 73 entries on the docket which is a record of the activity in the case. Here is a recent one from a couple of days ago. "Minute Entry: Further Case Management Conference held on 12/12/2013 before Edward M. Chen (Date Filed: 12/16/2013). Case Management Statement due by 5/1/2014. Further Case Management Conference set for 5/8/2014 01:30 PM in Courtroom 5, 17th Floor, San Francisco. (Recording #1036-1104.) (bpf, COURT STAFF) (Date Filed: 12/16/2013) (Entered: 12/16/2013)." So apparently we can look forward to this going into next year. I'm glad that federal judges are keeping busy with important stuff when they aren't partying at swanky judicial conferences. A friend who lives in the San Francisco area sent me this link yesterday. It is a story about "Gypsy" Taub, one of the five plaintiffs in the case. Ms. Taub joined the suit last year and while she doesn't appear to have any money for legal fees (and indeed, is probably on public assistance) she gets a lot of press for the case because she likes to run around Berkeley and San Francisco naked. BTW, the article does not discuss the lawsuit, only her fondness for getting arrested for indecent exposure.
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Naked-truth-behind-Gypsy-Taub-s-nude-nuptials-5070034.php#page-1

bombsquadron6
02-19-2014, 10:25 PM
Pay Raises for Federal Judges! (Oh, and Naked People in San Francisco.)


Federal judges have long complained that their cost-of-living-adjustment salary increases have been frozen by Congress for a number of years. While my opinion of the federal judiciary is boringly obvious from this blog I will point out that my original opposition to raises for federal judges was not the COLA’s but the massive pay raise that was proposed by various members of Congress some years back (compared to the tiny raise that had been proposed for the military.) Those Congressional bills to raise the salary of the judiciary were never voted on however, and the bills died. Now comes word that the judges will get substantial COLA increases effective January 1, 2014. This doesn’t matter to me but the method used to get them does. The judges sued and won in Federal Court!

In 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in the case of six district and appellate court judges that Congress had unconstitutionally cut the compensation to which federal jurists were entitled under the 1989 ethics law. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-13/federal-judges-in-u-s-see-25-000-more-as-salary-freeze-falls.html

I won’t argue that the judiciary should have a substantial COLA. But I will point out that the case surely had a pre-determined outcome and federal judges shouldn’t act like the decision might have been anything other than favorable to themselves. Hell, the same judges that presided over the case will get the COLA raises. Perhaps there was no other way to decide the case other than have state court judges handle it, which would have at least had the facade of impartiality, but that probably isn’t permitted. Anyway, there was nothing impartial about this case or the decision. I’m sure no one was more surprised than federal judges when they won the case! Sheesh....

The naked people in San Francisco are still in court-sort of. The case is scheduled for a settlement conference on March 12. If Judge Chen or the Magistrate judge assigned to the case have any common sense they will tell the exhibitionists/plaintiffs to put on some clothes, get jobs if they don’t have them and grow up. But assuming anyone involved in this case has any common sense is the triumph of hope over experience.

Here in Salt Lake City, two federal judges have announced their retirement, effectively becoming senior judges with reduced caseloads. Presumably two new nominees will be announced before long. Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, both Republicans, get to recommend individuals to fill the open seats. President Barack Obama will then nominate the candidates, who must be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57498064-78/utah-judges-senior-court.html.csp

It’s all pretty predictable. The new judges will almost surely come from either of two ranks; corporate attorneys or university professors. Neither group, in my view, has much in common with average Americans but we will be told that the nominees are brilliant and will make fine judges. Whatever.....

The same article that I quoted above talks about the heavy caseload that federal judges carry. In the case of Utah judges the average is 499 which includes both civil and criminal. I know little about criminal cases in federal court but I would submit that federal judges could reduce the civil case workload if they stopped spending so much time and public money on the many idiotic claims filed in federal court, some of which I have written about on this blog.

bombsquadron6
03-01-2014, 07:11 AM
Being an optimist I often think I can’t possibly detest the federal judiciary any more than I already do. But then something happens to bring me back to reality and I realize that, yeah, I can despise them even more. That “something” would be the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and their recent decision affirming a lower court ruling that high school kids at Live Oak High School near San Jose, California had to either remove clothing displaying the American flag or go home during a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the school. This was to appease Hispanic kids who were celebrating the Mexican holiday. The principal and vice principal claimed it was to prevent racial tension at the school where over half the student body is Hispanic. So the Anglo kids, who are actually proud of America, get punished. The Hispanic kids, who apparently have more loyalty to Mexico than to the U.S., get to carry on their school endorsed celebration of Mexico with no conditions placed on them. Thanks Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, for reaffirming my belief that the federal judiciary is a pox on America.

Post script: I don't know if only Anglo kids wore the clothing with the American flags. The articles I read didn't say. There were no photos I could find showing anything other than Anglo kids but there may have been some Hispanic kids who chose to wear them.
http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/02/27/11-17858.pdf

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2014/0228/School-can-nix-American-flag-clothing-to-ease-racial-tension-US-court-says