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bombsquadron6
05-10-2008, 12:52 AM
Senator Patrick Leahy and 23 Senate cosponsors have introduced a bill that will increase the pay for the federal judiciary by 29%. (This was lowered from 51% in the original bill.) The Senate bill is S.1638, The Federal Judicial Salary Restoration Act of 2007. The House of Representatives has a corresponding bill, H.R.3753 that proposes to raise the pay for the judiciary by about 40%. Both the Senate and the House have scheduled these bills for debate. What is so appalling is that President Bush recently vetoed H.R.1585, The 2008 Defense Authorization Act, which would have raised the pay for the military by 3.5%. President Bush wants a 3% pay raise for the military. Thus, the judiciary would be receiving a pay raise approximately 10 to 17 times the proposed raise for military personnel who are risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is at a time when the judiciary has become arrogant and elitist and treats average Americans and members of the working class with contempt and disdain. The Bush administration has packed the federal courts with members of the ultra-right Federalist Society. Few members of this extremist organization have ever served in the military or made any sacrifices for their country. I have written to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as the Senate cosponsors of S.1638 to express my opposition to S.1638. I have also written to the House sponsor and cosponsors of H.R.3753. But it is imperative that members of the military ask Congress why federal judges deserve such a massive pay raise when the military makes all the sacrifices and is being paid so little relative to federal judges. (A district court judge currently makes about $165,000; circuit court and Supreme Court judges and justices make more, of course.) I have put a great deal of effort into understanding this issue and believe federal judges might have more empathy for average Americans if they shared they same economic fate. I would like to hear some feedback and perhaps connect with others who share my views. Please contact your Congressman/woman and your Senators and ask them why federal judges are so much more deserving than military personnel. Also, ask them how they intend to vote on these bills. I can provide the names of all the Senate and House sponsors and cosponsors of these bills as well as their D.C. addresses if you care to write them, too. You can also use the website http://www.govtrack.us/ to research these bills and follow them through Congress. Now is the time to act.
Peace and love to all of you. Lisa

Unregistered
06-30-2008, 04:12 AM
The reason the judges should be paid more is that they should be compensated for their experience and education. You have to recognize that these judges are paid far, far less than others in their profession with comparable experience and education. This would still hold true even with the 40% raise.

You need to educate yourself about what professionals make in the federal government and elsewhere. Did you know, for example, that there are medical doctors at VA Medical Centers making more than $250K a year. Conversely, federal judges have gone for year after year after year with raises less than the amount of inflation. This was going on even when the economy was booming. This is all due to the fact that Congress had tied the judges pay raises to their own. As explained below, there is just one problem with tying raises together in this way.

We all know that elected representatives don't vote themselves pay raises because they are afraid doing so will offend voters and, after all, they have so many other ways they can make money (e.g., Honoraria or being asked by a major donor to sit on a board or invest in a real estate deal). These folks in Congress even get to keep the campaign war chests when they leave office. So an unintended consequence of the way these representatives conduct their affairs is that, by tying the judges pay to theirs, they shaft the judges. Give these judges a break. They have to pay for college just like everyone else. They need family vacations like everyone else. They should not be forced into living at a level so dramatically below other lawyers with similar levels of experience and ability. The most outrageous example are the SCOTUS justices. Not only do they make decisions impacting millions of americans, but these decisions impact future generations of millions of americans. Yet, they get paid less than 1st year associates who spend their days in libraries doing "research." What a joke (and unfortunately, a cruel one played on the judges).

Just recognize that what the judges want is what they have lost over the years because of Congress' decision to link its pay to the pay of the federal judiciary. Could you imagine going 20 plus years in a row with an annual pay increase less than the inflation rate? Talk about a morale buster. No one in any other job would tolerate this type of mistreatment. We should not expect the judges to either. Its just not fair.

bombsquadron6
07-03-2008, 06:56 PM
Your anonymous response conveniently ignores the central premise of my posting; it is truly unfair that at a time of war servicemen are being restricted to minimal pay raises while the judiciary is seeking a pay raise of over 50%. While Congress has apparently reduced this amount, they still appear to be supporting a pay raise for the judiciary ten times the raise proposed for the military. Our brave service personnel understand public service and sacrifice for their country. Perhaps the putative judiciary members should forgo accepting judicial appointments until they have satisfied their own need or greed for money. Then they might be willing to make a financial sacrifice for their country to serve as judges. An example of true public service can be found at the following link: http://kai03.qwest.com/WindowsLive/Media/News/NewsDetail/National/Blind_Special_Forces_soldier_determined_to_serve.a spx?id=D91KC6QG0@news.ap.org&client=landingpage&qid=7A6ED2A8C71F6BAFE0CDAA6FFFFFFFFF

Let’s balance who should receive the larger raise, a person that has lost his eyes for his country but continues to serve, or a person making a six-figure income that is upset by new attorneys making more money. Moreover, if you look at judicial pay for the last forty years rather than cherry-pick a date, you will find that their pay has tracked inflation. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/02/15/judicial-pay-are-judges-being-selective-with-the-evidence/

Unfortunately, ideologues in Congress have been appointing younger and younger candidates to the bench so as to have an impact long after the President that appointed them has left. This has increased pressure on Congress to increase pay from some younger judges who appear to envy their classmates’ increasing wealth. The answer is to seek appointment later in life. The previous practice of appointing older, less ideologically driven judges served this nation well. Your letter seems to be at its core elitist. Apparently, only judges from Ivy League schools deserve large pay raises even during times of war. I would point out that military personnel would also like raises to send their children to college.

Have these Ivy League judges even served the interest of military members? Military personnel have died due to the release of detainees from Gitmo that was caused by Ivy League United States Supreme Court judges and their Ivy League clerks. Perhaps judges that have had more contact with the common person would have considered that their decision would kill military personnel largely recruited from working class members of the United States.

An interesting program is currently appearing on Showtime. I believe the title is Maxed Out: Easy Credit and Hard Times. Within the program it gave the story of military personnel that have served this country but have lost their homes due to the low wages provided to them by the military. Sorry if I am more sympathetic to struggling military personnel than I am to elitist judges who have made no sacrifices for this country. Low income people, including the military, have been victimized by credit card companies that have engaged in activities such as shredding payments to maximize late fees. Of course, such actions are illegal and can result in punitive damages when found out. But wait! Our present Supreme Court has limited punitive damages in a case that saved Exxon billions and will allow predatory lenders to evade large punitive damage awards. It sends the message to corporate America that regardless of their behavior, no huge penalties will be assessed. Ivy League judges now protect companies staffed with Ivy League attorneys. You advocate that giving these judges a raise should be a higher priority than military personnel receiving poverty wages. I believe the military should be the priority. I come from a military family. My father was a career Naval officer who received the Navy Cross during World War II. However, I am a blue collar worker who was victimized by the present elitist judiciary that serves its own interests over the general public. Please review the judicial misconduct complaints at the following link to illustrate my position. (Please keep in mind that the district court judge who ruled against us resigned two months after I filed these complaints and sent copies to members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.
http://utahtransitworker.org/index.html

In closing, I advocate that readers of this blog contact their congressional delegation and argue for parity among the proposed pay raises. If those representatives are unresponsive, readers should contact their opponents, since all of the House of Representatives and one third of the Senate are seeking re-election this year.

Happy 4th of July to all Americans and particularly those members of the military serving overseas. Lisa

Sensible
07-04-2008, 05:21 AM
No, Bombsquadron6, I have not conveniently ignored anything. Rather, it is clear to me that you are highly envious that the judges may in fact get the raise they need to erase two decades of de facto pay cuts. This view of the federal pay system is not only childish, but very naive.

Of course, the members of the military deserve more as well - particularly those who serve in combat. But that is not a reason to say that these Article III public servants shouldn't be paid an amount proportionate to their responsibilty. The judges know that they should not be paid at near the level of partners in major law firms. They know this even though their jobs carry far, far more responsibility than those persons. Why? Because the judges know they are public servants. However, being a public servant does not mean that a lawyer with 40 times the experience of a newly minted attorney should be paid less than that attorney who spends his days in a library doing research.

All the judges want is to have their pay at least partially restored by two decades of de facto pay cuts. I do not see how any reasonable person could say they are greedy.

Bombsquadron6, you need to recognize that lawyers with the degree of education and experience of most Artilcle III judges are mulit-millionaires and make 5 times or more per year then these judges. These judges are not only paid a fraction of what these lawyers make, but many have spent more than $100,000 on their education. If the judges' pay is so denegrated by comparison to those lawyers who possess a comparable degree of experience, then the only attorneys who will take the job will be (1) those who are so rich they don't need money or (2) those who want to use it as a political stepping stone to something else. That is not what you want. If too many of the latter types fill the position of Article III judge, then the predictable result will be that the the federal court system will become politicized as the stone steppers try to curry favor with the powerful and influential. These judges often hear and decide cases where hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, if not more; trust me, as a result, they come into contact frequently with the powerful and influential members of the legal community. Conversely, if only the ultra rich take the job, then you will more likely have a federal judiciary that will have skewed view of the world (and one that is highly pro-big business). No one wants this. Instead, what we should want is a federal judiciary that is not only highly qualified, but also reflects the cultural diversity of America.

My core point is this, Bombsqudron6: perhaps the whole federal pay system, military and civilian, needs revamping. If you don't want to see that, however, then keep begrudging the judges a fair raise. You see, the federal government is too big for the entire system to be revamped all at once. Surely you have to realize that. You have to be realistic and practical about this issue. One group has to be first in this matter. Then another, and another after that and so forth. Put another way, a rising tide lifts all boats. All you will do by spewing jealousy to our elected representatives about the judges' pay is encourage them to think to themselves that perhaps no group deserves a fair raise -- including the military. Most members of Congress would like that -- as you know, they are not exactly known for being proactive at resolving problems and it would give them an excuse to do nothing with regard to the issue of pay for persons employed by the U.S. government.

For all the above reasons, I encourage every reader of this blog to contact their senators and representative and sincerely tell them you support the judges' raise. In the same conversation, tell them that the military also should get better pay and he or she should introduce legislation to effect that change. I think this strategy makes much more sense, and for the reasons stated Bombsquadron6's stategy will just boomerrang against the members of the military and other federal employees in their effort to obtain better pay.

I hope everyone has a great Fourth, and I wish you all the best.

bombsquadron6
07-04-2008, 06:23 AM
Dear Sensible, I am a blue collar worker by choice. I came from a family that provided me every opportunity but, like my father, who chose the military, I am not motivated by money. I can assure you also that I am not motivated by envy. Rather, I am motivated by a sense of justice and fundamental fairness. The judges who are complaining the loudest about their pay are envious of attorneys making far more. You do not address the issue of elitism that I brought up and you make no comment on the judicial misconduct complaints which I cited to as evidence of this elitism. Please comment. When the judiciary decides to reform itself and address the misconduct and corruption that we experienced and documented then, and only then, should we consider granting a substantial pay raise. Many attorneys have chosen career paths which pay substantially less than federal judges. Examples would be attorneys serving the poor and protecting the environment. Perhaps we should recruit from their ranks. You only want to compare judges' salaries to corporate and Wall Street attorneys. Without the raise, judges will choose to serve for public service reasons rather than the pay. Some will have made money and not need a greater salary, others will be satisfied by a salary that is well over $150,000 per year. I would like to see any evidence you have that a substantial pay raise will result in a judiciary that is more responsive to the military and the working class. This crying for additional pay has coincided with the appointment of younger and younger judges and, ironically, with judges that have been rated lower by the ABA at their time of appointment. We don't have a better judiciary deserving of a massive pay raise but a greedier judiciary. Many military officers are highly educated and forgo much larger salaries to serve their country, including JAG officers. The bottom line is, during a time of war it is the people that are risking their lives that should receive the higher pay raises. When the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are over then you will have a better argument. Until then, to expect military personnel to serve and then lose their homes due to inadequate pay, but give 50% pay raises to judges while claiming that no additional money can be paid to our service personnel, is unconscionable. Perhaps your unwillingness to identify yourself is because you have a personal stake in a pay raise. I would ask that readers of this blog review the links I included in my previous post and decide for themselves who has the better argument here. I stand by everything I have written.

Sensible
07-04-2008, 02:58 PM
OK Bombsquadron6. If you want to encourage an environement where the military does not get the raise they need, just keep taking the position you advocate. I worked for the government almost 20 years. I have seen this over and over and over again. Jealous, childish complaining among groups that advocate against each other (e.g., you should not get your pay raise until I get mine) almost always results in the same thing: Washington stalement, where no one gets what they want.

I am attorney with almost 30 years experience. Many of those years was spent as a U.S. prosecutor in one of the nation's largest U.S. Attorney's Offices. I can tell you this: in this country, there are some really smart, great lawyers and there are many really, really bad lawyers. You call it elitism, but the fact remains that people who are good at what they do are paid well. That is why you are unlikely to find top quality legal talent from the group of attorneys who serve the poor. In fact, I have seen lawyers who got jobs as federal judges that were frankly not very qualified. You could totally see it in the way they conduct their trials and their reversal rates. These types typically do not follow the law, but take the approach that they are the law! If that is what you want, then fine. If you want a top quality federal judiciary then the sensible thing to do is stop giving them these de facto pay cuts. Trust me, if you hire based on those who serve the poor you will more likely end up with judges who mean well but lack the ability and the temperment to do the job correctly. I am not speaking as a person who does not know what goes on in the federal court system. I have participated in many thousands of federal judicial proceedings -- all the way from detention/probable cause hearings to pretrial conference to bench trials and jury trials to circuit court arguments. Please also recognize that, for years, these judges rates of increase have been less than the military. There are some years they get no raise at all. Other years they get "raises" in the 1.5 to 1.7% range.

Sure the military makes sacrifices, particularly in times of war. So do top lawyers who decide to serve the public as judges after having spent more than $100000 on their education, even though they have been paid less than a first year law grad who spends his days in the library doing research. Remember, these judges often hear and/or decide the most intricate, complicated cases often involving hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more (e.g., the Exxon Valdez case). Some of these cases impact the lives of millions of americans and future generations of americans. Trust me: you do not want anyone in these jobs but top quality legal talent. Anything less could result in great harm to many. Even when bad judge's decisions are uncovered and reversed by the appellate system, those proceedings can result in the unnecessary expenditure of millions. All this money could instead be devoted toward appropriate pay increases to members of the military.

Again, I reiterate I am all for a fair raise for the military. If legislation is introduced I will call my representative to voice my support. It is not incongruent that both groups should get fair raises. Heck, the cost of the President's trip to China to view the opening ceremonies next month would alone pay for the judge's raise. Eliminating farm subsidies for multimillionair farmers would help pay for the military's raise. So would outlawing earmarks on congressional spending bill (also known as the government sponsored congressman reelection fund). You see, the problem here is not that the judges are seeking a raise to make up for 20 years of annual de facto pay cuts. The problem is that Congress wastes so much money on this and on that pet project that the Article I branch of government fails to properly prioritize and thus mismanages the federal budget.

bombsquadron6
07-04-2008, 04:57 PM
Dear Sensible, Please stop being condescending to me and how dare you compare the sacrifices that the military makes in blood to an elitist judge having to give up his country club membership. You need to reread the story about the soldier that has lost his eyesight but continues to serve his country. http://kai03.qwest.com/WindowsLive/M...CDAA6FFFFFFFFF

As the link in my previous posting demonstrates, judiciary's pay has kept up with inflation. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/02/15/...-the-evidence/

This is not the case for many Americans. Moreover, I reject your contention that attorneys that choose to serve the poor or protect the environment or serve the military are less competent because they make less. No, often times people get paid more to leave there conscience at home. For example, many subprime mortgage brokers made fortunes because they were willing to exploit people. A judiciary filled with people motivated by money is not a better judiciary. A better judiciary would be created by having a mechanism to independently review alleged misconduct by judges. In my case, the very judges that were accused of impropriety were on the judicial council that decided the merits of the complaints. Of course, the complaints were dismissed. http://utahtransitworker.org/index.html You have yet to address my arguments about corruption in the judiciary. We fought back and documented it but you do not want to acknowledge that what was done to us was misconduct and corruption at its worst. I ask again for your comments on our case.

Despite your argument for elitism, our last three presidents had Ivy League educations and Ronald Reagan did not. Which president do you believe most Americans would say had better judgement? We need to draw judges from a broader spectrum than just corporate attorneys and a large pay raise is not needed to achieve that goal. Meanwhile, the military is suffering and needs a large pay raise to survive. Only when the elitists such as yourself begin to suffer will that occur. My postings are not childish, however, your name calling clearly is. Your assertion that giving a pay raise to judges will assure better raises for the military is illogical and without any factual basis. As many in America are now realizing, what is best for the 1% of America is not necessary the best for the rest.

Sensible
07-04-2008, 08:06 PM
Well, Bombersquadron, I hope you get in a big legal scuff in federal district court someday and end up in court with one of the many incompetent legal minds I have seen often over the years, especially in the state system where you are more likely to find stone steppers. I hope you end up with a judge who causes you to lose big, big bucks because the person just doesn't know what he or she is doing or this person has some other agenda at work, and the legal principles involved in the case are way over his or her head. Then, maybe you will understand that this is very important business about the quality of the legal minds we place in these positions. You speak as a theorist, but I am speaking as one who has been there and seen it. I have seen judges make just terrible decisions just to teach the litigant's lawyer a lesson! I have seen bad judges bend over backwards to help lawyers from big law firms win their case because that firm donates to his or her campaign or is the ally of their political ally. I have seen judges who are easily manipulated because they frankly are not that sharp. There is nothing worst than a weak judiciary. Just one bad decision is just one really big case and guess what -- the government will be forced to spend as much money dealing with that decision than it would cost to give the entire military a fair raise. You call it elistism and say "how dare you this, and how dare you that." Your post contains passion, but is completely void of logic. Like everything, if you want top quality product, you have to pay for it and legal talent is no different. And by the way, there is no way that a person can get "raises" in the amount of 0%, 1.5%, 1.7% or 2.2% a year and be called greedy by wanting more. Just because a WSJ article speaks about the issue does not make it so. You should read what the ABA says about the issue.

I say this to you, Bombersquadron. How dare you insinuate that I am against giving the military fair raises, especially those who have served in a war zone. I am not against that at all. Rather, I am all for it. Please don't use such inflammatory language as a smokescreen to divert the readers' attention.

Like I say, keep pushing the issue Bomberquandron and the likely result is no one will get a fair raise. Your mentality will just encourage what we see everyday in Washington: political stalement. Conversely, if everyone supports everyone else getting a fair raise, then the result might be more favorable to all concerned. Put another way, instead of complaining about so called elistist judges, you might be better served to complain about Bush spending no telling how many millions flying with his entourage to see some athletic event in China, or a congressman in Alaska demanding money so he can build a bridge to nowhere. In Texas, we have a congressman who got the government to spend $7 million converting a drainage ditch to a waterway no one uses. There are examples such as these in almost every congressional district. That is the real reason why there seems to be so little money to go around -- the judges have nothing to do with it. There is so much waste that there is easily money available for everyone to get a fair raise if the waste would stop.

If the members of the military do not want to get a fair raise and want to have a weak, nonindependent federal judiciary, then they should follow Bombersquadron's advice. If you want to have a government that fairly compensates its men and women in uniform and the men and women who decide cases that impact the lives of 300 million americans and future generations of those americans, follow my advice. Tell your senators and congressman that both groups should get fair raises and that Congress should stop government waste by stopping the pork barrel spending and other unnecessary spending.

Sensible
07-04-2008, 08:50 PM
I am sorry, Bombersquadron, but I did not comment the case your last post mentioned. I am not familiar enough with the facts or law to make an appropriate analysis.. However, I will give you a couple of stories about my less memoriable encounters with the federal judiciary that may shed some light on your situation.

In Houston, there is a district judge who had an incredibly explosive temper. One day I was attending the last hearing we were to have before a drug conspiracy trial. The judge looked down at the lawyers and asked: okay, what is this case about. One of the defense lawyers said something and the judge suddenly started screaming at the top of his lungs: "DON'T YOU LOOK AT ME THAT WAY." I was completely taken aback because all I was doing was standing respectfully before the bench. I apolgized profusely, but for what, to this day I don't know because I did nothing wrong.

On another ocassion, I was handling a motion to revoke probation before a federal judge in another Texas city. He had this local, local rule where he wants people to stand when he addresses them. This is different than any other judge I have ever dealt with, and frankly, I was not familiar with this unwritten rule. Well, he started making comments about the evidence. Then, he turned as red as a beet and screamed at the top of his lungs: "YOU STAND UP WHEN I AM TALKING AT YOU." I was so embarrassed because I have never been treated so unprofessionally before. I have since learned this judge was suspended for allegedly sexually harassing a subordinate.

My point behind these stories. There will always be people in this world who are loose cannons. There will be othes who just crave power, and in the realm of their cases no one is more powerful than a federal judge. Now both these men had very, very good credentials before they took the job. So, the issue is not only an issue of the quality of one's legal mind. That is only half of it. The other half has to do with temperment. Some people just do not have the temperment to handle the position. In the legal profession, we say those people have "black robeitis". Perhaps that was the experience you had. In any event, do not throw the baby out with the bath water. In appointing federal judges, they should all have impeccable legal credentials, just as these men possess. However, they should also be subjected to psychological testing, and they must pass the testing as a prerequesite for obtaining the job. I have long advocated this pre-requisite, but no one has listened. The job involves too much power and responsibility to have a person sitting on the bench who is not mentally and emotionally as solid as a rock.

bombsquadron6
07-05-2008, 02:38 PM
You choose not to comment on our case. Fine. But judicial misconduct and corruption occur far too frequently, usually to average Americans who have no ability to fight back. Attorneys often don’t want to fight it because they must continue to argue cases in front of these same judges, who protect one another. You advocate a substantial raise for judges that have not been held accountable for their actions and thus do not deserve a raise. Military men and women have clearly demonstrated their worthiness for a raise and should receive a substantial increase immediately. Your arguments have only convinced me that the judiciary does not deserve even the meager raise being given to the military. Until the judiciary devises a method to keep its rogue judges in line it should not receive any pay raise. Accountability it is a wonderful concept. I am in Coronado, California enjoying my 4th of July vacation. Yesterday, at the parade, we were thrilled to see so many military men and women representing this nation. Young men and women who truly do make sacrifices for this nation and are proud of it marched in dress uniform. Survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, men now all in their 80’s and 90’s, rode in convertibles in the parade. As they went past us, the cheers from the crowds were as loud as the engines of F-18’s. Frankly, after seeing them, I just wasn’t interesting in answering your posts. The readers can be the final arbitrators of whose argument makes more sense.

Sensible
07-05-2008, 03:08 PM
I am with you Bombersquadron6. I only wish we could hold Article III judges more accountable. However, the Founding Fathers did not set things up that way. Basically, all you can do if you think an Article III judge acted improperly is appeal the decision or seek his or her impeachment before the full US Senate! Put another way, the Founding Fathers thought that these jobs were so significant that they were to be given the same importance, from a constitutional perspective, as the President's job and the jobs of the members of Congress. We could debate this all day long, but the bottom line is that if you want another way of dealing with federal judges who you belive have acted improperly, then you would have to amend the Constitution itself.

I hate to say it, but the Founding Fathers were probably right. It would be better to have a bad apple here or there in the federal judiciary than have a group of judges who were subjected to the beck and call of others. Do you realize it would be easier to remove the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs from his job than a federal judge from his or her job? This is the way James Madison and company set it up because they thought that these jobs were among the most important in the federal government. This is why I advocate that the best way to make sure we have federal judges who act and rule appropriately is to require that they undergo and pass psychological testing . This should be done because they are people who just cannot handle all the power and trappings that come with the position and those should be weeded out in the selection process.

bombsquadron6
07-06-2008, 03:27 AM
Dear Sensible, It is not necessary to explain the intent of the Founding Fathers, nor why they designed the federal judiciary to be lifelong appointments. I know how government is supposed to work and am quite knowledgeable about the constitution and the three branches of government. I spent two years in federal court in a labor law case and watched as the federal district court judge ignored established labor law, made up his own legal standards that had no basis in law and granted summary judgement to the transit company while denying us discovery and all due process. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision despite the clear violations committed by the district court judge. They protect one another. We filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). It ws denied. This particular district court judge was a well known friend of a prominent Senator from Utah who helped obtain a 480 million dollar full funding grant agreement for the transit district we had sued. Had we won the case as we should have, the transit company would have been ineligible for this federal grant money since they were not in compliance with federal labor law as mandated by federal statute. In retrospect, we should have known that this judge would never issue a ruling that his friend, the Senator, would not like. This particular Senator had, at the time, incredible power and influence in the nominations of judges to the federal bench and it was well known that the district court judge was on the fast track to the Supreme Court in part because of his close association with this Senator. You can connect the dots, Sensible. Don't think for one minute that I am naive or uneducated about the judicial system. But we did something that few people who are shafted in court do. We documented everything, filed judicial misconduct complaints against all the judges involved and sent the material to many, many members of Congress as well as numerous other including the judicial councils of both the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court as well as Justice Breyer who oversees the Tenth Circuit and Chief Justice Roberts. (The district court judge resigned shortly after.) I made sure they understood that I would use this case to argue against a salary increase until administrative steps are taken to hold rogue judges accountable. While they cannot be removed from office they can certainly be held accountable for their behavior. The current system requires a complaintant to file misconduct complaints with the Circuit Court Judicial Council. The Council is made up of judges who all know the judge being complained about. As you know, they rarely find any merit with these complaints, effectively shielding the judge from accountbility. In our case, the district court judge was often a visiting judge on Tenth Circuit panels, meaning he was likely personal friends with the judges reviewing the misconduct complaints. Obviously, the judicial system should not allow this sort of conflict of interest and it can be remedied by administative means. How about a judicial council made up of law professors or members of the bar who do not know the judge who is complained about? There are lots of relatively easy fixes that would make for a much more level playing field but you do not seem to advocate any of them. You just take the position that there will always be a few bad apples so just give the judiciary a big pay raise and be done with it. Well, I grew up in a family that taught me to always have integrity and fight for justice. My experience in federal court was shocking and my cause now is to try to prevent this from happening to others. You are very angry that I would try to stand in the way of a huge raise for the judiciary. Well, that judiciary works for me and every other law abiding taxpaying American. It does not work for Exxon or Ford or any other big corporation. Perhaps, when the judiciary finds its moral compass, we will give them a raise.

bombsquadron6
07-06-2008, 04:12 AM
Dear Sensible, As a post script to my previous message I would like to remind you of something that every military man and woman well knows. In the services, misconduct is dealt with swiftly and severely. There are no passes and they will be held accountable, sometimes, for things they had little control over. They accept this and serve to the best of their ability for low pay. Federal judges should be no less accountable than those in the military.

Sensible
07-06-2008, 04:43 AM
The problem is, these boards of judicial misconduct have very limited power. About all they can do under the constitution is bar a judge from hearing cases. They cannot even suspend the judge from receiving his or her pay. Nothing can be done about this. Even if Congress were to pass a law imposing more serious sanctions, absent evidence of a crime, I can assure you it would be declared unconstitutional.

My suggestion here is, if you have true evidence of corruption, then push for criminal charges. Bribery is a crime by all federal officials. Other than that, about all you can do is appeal.

I am empathetic with you for having lost such a big case. This is one of the problems with the job of being a judge, however. One side has to win, and the other has to lose. The losing side is almost always unhappy. Now, that is not to say that you were not treated unfairly. My problem with really commenting on your case in particular is that there are always two sides to every lawsuit, and I would have to hear the other side's arguments and positions to give you an opinion. No need to go there with this thread, because your case sounds highly complicated and without really researching the facts and law and hearing from all sides I am not in a position to take a position.

You ask why I feel the way I do about the judge's pay issue. There are a number of reasons. One is that I do not look at it so much as giving them a raise as in making reparations from many years of de facto pay cuts. No one in the private sector gets the paltry precentage annual increases the judges have been getting. No company would stay in business for very long if it gave its most senior people pay "raises" less than the amount of inflation 16 years in a row. Second, do you realize that the way the system is set up has resulted in thousands of people in the federal trial system to likewise end up with de factor pay cuts? You see, there is a thing in the federal system called pay caps. They apply to Federal Public Defenders, Assist. U.S. Attorneys, DOJ attorneys and others. When these judges get only a 1.5% raise, guess what happens? Everyone else who is at the cap gets a similar paltry raise because Congress has linked the two pay increases. So you may not realize it, but when you advocate a continuation of the current policy of very low annual increases which is less than the amount of inflation, that indirectly hurts many other federal workers.

I have many close friends who are still with the U.S. Attorney and are really suffering financially because of thes pay system Congress has implemented. I am amazed at the dedication of many of those public servants -- a number of them are among the best trial lawyers you have ever seen. Some spend their days slaving over very, very important legal cases -- the sort of case only the most senior trial attorney in major lawfirms handle. And frankly, since they try more cases than private practicioners, they are better trial lawyers than most in private practice. Yet here we have a system that doesn't even give these dedicated individuals annual raises equal to the amount of inflation. Some of these prosecutors are handling cases aganist violent criminals and organized crime bosses, and are risking their personal safety by seeking their imprisonment. Others are handling cases against major corporations and their CEOs who can afford to hire the best legal talent money can buy (e.g., the Enron defendants). The only way to stop shafting these career federal attorneys is to stop shafting the judges -- as a practical manner it is the only approach that will work because Congress would never allow a system where capped out prosecutors and public defenders got better raises than the judges.

So, I go back to my original premise: there are a lot of folks working for the federal government who are getting maltreatment in terms of annual pay increases. I agree with you totally; if the military is not getting the worst treatment of employee groups, it is sure close to it. This is all brought about by Congress' inability to manage. Congress only reacts, it is not proactive. That is why we have the oil crisis and the huge budget deficits. Do you realize next year Congress will give a $600 million subsidy to European countries for biofuels refined in the U.S.? How idiotic. Its almost as crazy as borrowing money from the Saudis, the Chinese and Japanese to pay tax rebates. You can look at example after example after example where Congress wastes money that could be used far more wisely.

bombsquadron6
07-06-2008, 10:42 AM
Dear Sensible, You say that all that can be done to federal judges who commit misconduct is to bar them from hearing cases. Well, that is something that could and should be done. But when judicial councils routinely find no merit in misconduct complaints regardless of the facts, they are encouraging misconduct. Councils should be made up of people from the legal community who are not within the courts. They would find some of these complaints certainly do have merit. Publish the names of the judge and the findings and you would go a long way to stop this sort of thing. These judges are all very ambitious and want to move up the judicial food chain. The dishonest or incompetent ones would quickly be identified and subject to public criticism. In our case, the district court judge who resigned likely knew that he would never move up since this case is well known among the Senate Judiciary. The Senator I spoke of has written me four letters. Although the letters are polite it is obvious he is very angry at me. But never has he or anyone else said that I am wrong or that our charges were frivolous. I can take the heat and will not back down. Work for a better judiciary and then ask for a raise.

Sensible
07-06-2008, 04:23 PM
Bombsquadron6 - You say that judicial councils routinely fnid no merit in misconduct complaints. Well, I have seen at least one where they have found merit (e.g., the judge accused of sexual harrassment, mentioned in my earlier post). Not only that, this judge was moved to another city and the council's findings were repeatedly published on the front page of a major newspaper. Since each case is so unique, it is probably hard to say that the councils just whitewashed the allegations.

Not all these judges are as ambitious as you say. Some just want to serve the public. For example, there is one in Houston who was managing partner of one of the nation's largest lawfirms (700+ attorneys). He stepped down to take the postion of district court judge. We estimate he had to have taken at least an $800K annual pay cut (he is an example of the ultra rich who take the job because they do not need money). My hat's off to the gentleman; when he is not hearing cases he is active in his church and goes on prison visitations as part of his church's ministry.

My point is, be careful about using too broad a brush in painting the federal judiciary. I do not know all the facts about your case, but it is clear that you feel mistreated by the system. Perhaps your feeling are righteous. Nonetheless, what I do know is this. I do not care if you are dealing with soldiers, pastors, lawyers, doctors, judges, engineers or indian chiefs. Any time you deal with a group of human beings numbering in the thousands, there will very likely be a few who are corrupt or unethical. That is just the nature of things. We live in an imperfect world. Nontheless, my experience has been that, the vast majority of the men and women who serve on the federal bench are extremely ethical. That said, I am sure that there are a few who are not, just as I am sure there are soldiers, pastors, doctors, etc. who are not.

God bless and I wish you all the best.

bombsquadron6
07-07-2008, 05:16 PM
Dear Sensible, After going to great lengths to make an argument I find that I have been labeled as rude and insensitive. Interestingly, the writer of that comment misspelled my screen name exactly as you have. I now have all these red dots next to my name, suggesting that I am a troublemaker. Oh well, once again, I will let the readers judge for themselves. Do one favor for me though. Go back to the judicial misconduct complaints that I cited to and read the last page of the second complaint (Tenth Circuit panel). I will not try to defend my reputation against anonymous people who leave comments on these blogs. But I will continue to seek justice.

Unregistered
07-07-2008, 05:42 PM
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party!" Famous words were never truer than today. It appears that many of the US are not happy with the government as it stands. As it is written inthe US Constitution, let us all join together to protest this outrage! Rise up and request a New Congress by the way our fore fathers described. Hold the Continental Congress. they need not be the ones we hold in office now, just a representative of the majority inthe States. Let them Found the new government as it was to be, remove those that are oppressive, undesireable, or immoral in their respective offices. Let us Once and FOR ALL determine what is morally right.

bombsquadron6
07-07-2008, 10:12 PM
That quote goes back a long way and I had to laugh when I read it. My father used to say it. Any you are right. Truer words were never spoken. The government of this nation has lost its way. Both parties are controlled by ideologues. The American middle class, at least those I am associated with, desperately want their country back. I am hopeful about this upcoming election but perhaps I am just being a Pollyanna. As for the posts on this thread, at the risk of being tedious, I will renew a call for that middle class to demand better treatment and pay for a deserving military and no pay raise for a judiciary that is unwilling to reform itself. I have clearly infuriated some members of that judiciary but taking a stand and speaking out is a right this country guarantees.

Sensible
07-07-2008, 10:40 PM
I, too, am hopeful that our government realigns its priorities. Who knows? Maybe it will happen.

On the issue of the judicial pay "raise," that is certainly your right to hold your view. However, please call it what it really is: you favor imposing annual de facto pay cuts to the federal judiciary (i.e., "raises" substantially less than the amount of inflation). This has been what has gone on now for 16 years in a row. And, unfortunately, it has indirectly resulted in a large number of other capped out federal workers also receiving de facto pay cuts (e.g., federal prosecutors, DOJ civil attorneys, federal public defenders).

Best of luck, Sensible

Sensible
07-11-2008, 06:27 PM
Here is an interesting article that was just published in the federaltimes about the issue of pay for the federal judiciary. It says it all:



H.L. Mencken said happiness is making more than your wife's sister's husband. Is unhappiness making less than your granddaughter or her husband, if they happen to be new lawyers? If it is, federal judges must be very unhappy.

Federal judges are the enforcers of the Constitution and protectors of our civil rights, entrusted with power to overrule the president and declare Congress' laws void. But they are paid less than the most inexperienced, first-year lawyer at a big law firm.

It's a scandal, and it's not about money - a decent raise for federal judges would not even register as a nano-percent of the federal budget - but about politics. Judges' salaries are tethered to congressional salaries, and lawmakers are afraid to raise their own salaries, lest their vote become an election issue.

Over the past 40 years, workers' wages, adjusted for inflation, have risen 17.8 percent. During that same period, federal judges' real pay has declined 23.9 percent. Even the cost of living adjustments most federal workers received were denied to judges in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2007.

In the federal government today, many professional positions in the executive branch now qualify for salaries far above what district judges are paid. Such federal employees can receive total compensation exceeding $200,000 annually, far more than the $169,300 a district judge receives.

Why should anyone care what federal judges make, and whether or not they feel respected by the society they serve? One reason is that we want the best, most empathetic, most even-handed, and most intelligent to serve as our judges. We don't want our most important rights guarded by underpaid, disrespected, demoralized judges, who have to struggle to send their kids to college, nor do we want as judges only those already rich enough to work for pay many times less than what they could earn as a lawyer, mediator or arbitrator.

Fortunately, bipartisan legislation is pending in Congress that would restore fairness to judicial compensation and provide judges with their first pay increase in nearly 20 years. The bill is supported by a cross section of leaders, including our own Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Diane Feinstein, and Representatives Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren and George Miller. Support comes from a broad coalition of organized labor, civil rights organizations, environmental groups, corporate and national business organizations.

HR 3753 passed both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees months ago. Yet the full Congress has failed to act. Some members of Congress are holding it up, in an effort to keep judges' pay tied to congressional salaries. But the fact that Congress, rightly skittish about how it is perceived, cannot raise salaries for its members doesn't mean it should drag the federal judiciary down with it.

The leaders of Congress need to seize this opportunity to authorize a minuscule budget expenditure that will free federal judges from the financial shackles of politics and restore the dignity, independence and respect due the federal judiciary. Otherwise, the best will eschew judgeships, leaving justice in the hands of the second-rate, the ideologues, and the wealthy.

Long ago, the Chinese Emperor K'Ang-Hsi (1662-1723), fearing that lawsuits would increase if people were not afraid of the courts, said: "I desire . . . that those who have recourse to the tribunal should be treated without pity, and in such a manner that they shall be disgusted with law, and tremble to come before a magistrate." If Congress does not act now, that may be where we end up.


John W. Keker is a lawyer in San Francisco.

bombsquadron6
07-12-2008, 01:21 AM
You simply don’t want to debate my central premise. Federal judges have become arrogant and elitist. They have become the protectors of big business and average Americans are being harmed. What happened to us in federal court was not unique. We were denied all due process by federal judges who were positively smug about it. They believed that there would be no price to pay for their actions and they knew that if we complained the complaints would be quickly dismissed, which is exactly what happened. (Please review the judicial misconduct complaints cited to earlier.) Keep in mind that I have sent information about this case to many, many people in government and no one has ever suggested that I am wrong or that I am making unjust accusations. It is a roadmap of judicial corruption and I believe it happens all the time to working class Americans. But you maintain they deserve a large raise.

The proponents of the pay raise have conveniently cherry picked 1969 to use for comparison. I have noted this in an earlier post. However, you still have not addressed the other central issue. Why should the military, which is held accountable for the actions of its members, get a 3.9 % raise and the judiciary, which is completely unaccountable, get ten times that amount. You also cherry pick the comparisons to other attorneys. An interesting letter was written in 2003 concerning a proposed pay raise. It was true then and is even more so now:

For Immediate Release Jun 17, 2003
For Further Information, Contact:
Peter J. Sepp, (703) 683-5700
Groups Render Verdict: No Huge Raises for Federal Judges
(Washington, DC) – This week, a coalition of grassroots organizations sent letters to all Members of Congress, urging them not to support a proposed 16.5% raise for federal judges.The letter was organized by Congressional Accountability Project with the assistance of the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), a longtime critic of pay hikes for Congress. Text, along with signatories, follows:

“Dear Member of Congress:

In recent weeks, a chorus of attorneys and federal judges has been decrying supposedly low federal judicial salaries. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist has even claimed astonishingly that boosting salaries is ‘the most pressing issue facing the federal judiciary today.’
They plead for an eye-popping 16.5% federal judicial pay hike. With the proposed raises, in addition to benefits and generous pensions, the Chief Justice would be paid $231,400 (from the present $198,600), associate justices $221,500 (from the present $190,100), circuit judges $191,100 (from the present $164,000) and district judges $180,200 (from the present $154,700).
There is no need for such a raise. Our federal judges are not poor, either in absolute terms, by comparison with their colleagues, or by historical standards. Contrary to some reports that federal judges’ salaries have been heavily eroded by inflation, salaries for district court judges are higher than the average during the past 50 years, adjusted for inflation. Fifty years ago, their salaries were $51,000 less, in current dollars. Since the infamous 1989 midnight congressional pay grab, district court judges are $22,000 above inflation, in current dollars.

Circuit judges already enjoy more than twice the average attorney’s earnings, which were $80,000 per year, according to the 2000 Bureau of Labor Statistics National Compensation Survey. The federal government cannot afford to give such lavish raises to its judges, far above the already generous salaries of most Members of Congress. Our U.S. government debt is currently $6.6 trillion, and rising fast. The fiscal picture is grim and deteriorating. The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting a federal deficit in excess of $400 billion for 2003. Some private analysts predict even worse for 2004.
If judges wish to leave the bench to earn more, they are free to do so in the private, for-profit sector. Their public service is not compulsory. There is no lack of excellent law professors, general practitioners, and public interest, legal services, labor, civil liberties and government lawyers eager and willing to replace them. For most of these lawyers, the current federal judicial salaries would be a sizable raise.
We strongly urge you to oppose the proposed special 16.5% judicial pay raise. Federal judges are supposed to demonstrate moral as well as legal authority. They should set an example of prudent self-restraint at a time of growing sacrifices by the working families who pay their salaries.

Sincerely,
Ralph Nader
Gary Ruskin, Director, Congressional Accountability Project
Pete Sepp, Vice President for Communications, National Taxpayers Union
Paul M. Weyrich, President, Free Congress Foundation
Jill Lancelot, President/Co-Founder, Taxpayers for Common Sense
Dave Williams, Vice President of Policy, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Joe Seehusen, Executive Director, Libertarian Party”

NTU is a non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, less wasteful spending, and accountable government at all levels. Note: For further details on NTU’s efforts to reform federal pay and perks, visit www.ntu.org. For more information about the currently-proposed federal judicial pay raise, see the Congressional Accountability Project website at http://www.congressproject.org.

For an example of the type of judges you wish to protect and award with lavish pay raises please look at this story about a Ninth Circuit judge downloading porn and creating a porn site while presiding over a district court porn case. (Keep in mind that this judge, a well known member of the Federalist Society, was on the short list for a Supreme Court nomination):

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-kozinski12-2008jun12,0,6220192.story[/URL]

Those of us in the private sector or in the military would face discipline for such behavior. This judge is protected from any real accountability other than embarrassment. While we all know that he is Constitutionally protected, please do not try to convince me or anyone else that he deserves a lavish pay raise. No accountability, no pay raise. The judiciary owes the American public, not the other way around.

Sensible
07-12-2008, 05:29 AM
Bombsquadron6, with all due respect, you ignored the central premise of my post. The judges are receiving annual pay raises far less than other federal workers. It does not matter if you go 40 years back, 50 years, 30 years. Sure, Justice Roberts cherry picked a date most favorable to his position (the high water mark of judicial pay). Hey, he has one of America's most brillant legal minds -- what would you expect him to do, use a date that was less illustrative of what is going on here? No matter what date you pick, however, the central premise is still the same. Federal judges' pay has dramatically decreased relative to lawyers in the private sector and federal employees in the GS system from where it was 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.

You suggest federal judges should be disciplined. However, they are -- just ask the judge in Houston I mentioned in my previous post who was accused of sexual harrassment. However, there is just so much that can be done in terms of discipline, absent evidence of a crime, because if a reviewing authority disagreed with a judge's decision could have the latter "disciplined" then that would destroy the independence of the judiciary. No one wants a non-independent judiciary because often a federal judge is all that stands between a citizen and dire legal and financial consequences.

You obviously have a personal grudge against the entire federal judiciary based on your experience with a district judge and the circuit judges who reviewed his decision. Clearly, you feel you were treated unfairly in the case involving the transit system, and that has likely clouded your opinion on this issue.

You mention the "average lawyer's" pay. Of course, that includes the newly minted lawyers, the legal aid lawyers, the lawyers who live by criminal court appointments, Asst DAs, etc. Then you cite Ralph Nadar, who uses no study to support his permise that judges have been given raises more than the inflation rate. Its just outrageous, particularly when we all know its not true -- just look at their annual pay raises going back each year for the past 16 years. Further, you are dead wrong -- the American public does owe the judiciary. Of course, the reverse is true as well. The relationship should be symbiotic and not one way. The point here is that, without the judiciary, there would be far fewer checks on the President and Congress, and there would be no way to stop their unlawful acts absent rioting in the streets or a military coup. What kind of country would we be living in then? Moreover, America owes these servants the same thing it owes every other public servant -- THE OBLIGATION TO TREAT THEM FAIRLY. They should not be treated as doormats as far as annual pay increases are concerned. I do not know why you single out federal judges. Do you also advocate giving de facto annual pay cuts to postal workers, revenue officers, ATF agents, and any of the thousands of other occupation groups who work for the government? How about transit workers? Should they go 16 years in a row with pay increases less than the amount of inflation.

You call me elitist, but do you really want a judge with other than a top, top quality legal mind to have the power to declare the President's actions unlawful or void a law passed by Congress? Don't you think you are more likely to attract a person with a brillant legal mind if you set up a system that at least gave them pay increases equal to the amount of inflation? Do you really want to demoralize this group of what should be incredibly bright legal minds with having them paid less than a first year lawyer at a big law firm who has 1/100th the experience and spends his time researching or chasing ambulances? The judges on the district and circuit benches are even paid less than the SEC lawyers the government employs!

Not only is what we are doing to the judge's standard of living not right, but its not good for America. It is not good for America to demoralize one group of federal employees just because their pay happens to be tied to Congress' pay. I ask you, Bombsquadron6 -- have you gone 16 years in a row with annual pay increases less than the amount of inflation?

Now, I have appeared before many, many federal judges. I know some who are not independently rich and one in particular who is frankly bitter because of these annual de facto pay cuts. This was clear from a speech he gave to the US Attorneys Office a number of years ago. Who can blame him after so many years with pay raises less than the inflation rate? The interesting thing is, this judge has made in my judgment many atrocious legal decisions in the past. I would hate to think that this bitterness was what clouded his temperment and judgment. Maybe this was the experience you had -- prehaps the judge you were before was likewise so bitter about being treated as a second rate public servant when he had one of the most important jobs in the government that he just snapped. I don't know, but these are human beings after all. I would love to see what kind of car GM or Ford would build if it gave its assembly line workers 16 years in a row of de facto pay cuts. I would love to see how the transit system you work for would operate if it gave its employees those kinds of raises. You see, this is not an issue about free enterprise vs. government service. This is an issue about fundamental fairness. It is not fair to give any group of workers -- whether military, professional, blue collar or whatever -- de facto pay cuts year after year after year after year. That kind of treatment would make any human being who is not independently rich unhappy.

You asked about the 3.9% raise. The answer is, the judges have not gotten a raise near that much for two decades. During those same years, I know of at least one year they got no raise at all. Put simply, their pay has been eroded more than any other group in government I am aware of. Since it has been eroded more, the should get this one time pay increase. Period. Also, because they are so few of them relative the size of the federal government the amount of expense to the taxpayers is a nonobite. Did you complain to Congress when they decided to authorize pay for sugeons in VA Hospitals that was more than $250K a year or when they authorized the SEC to pay some of its attorneys more than $200K a year?

You make it sound as if my position is untentable. Yet, there is broad support for it on both sides of the aisle in Congress, as well as in the ABA. To have so many people who usually have very different points of view in other matters agree on this point speaks volumes. I urge others to support this pay reform. The name of the bill speaks volumes -- it is not the Judical Pay Act, it is the Judicial Pay Restoration Act.

Finally, you speak of government waste, as if paying someone more to partially make up for almost 2 decades of pay erosion is waste. Well, all I can say is, can you imagine the amount of waste that results when one of these jurists makes a bad decision (e.g., issues a TRO that closes down the Houston ship channel or enters a judgment that forces a transit company into bankruptcy)? These are far more important jobs than exist in any law firm because of the power that comes with it. We need to and morally should pay the lawyers who hold these jobs fairly. After all, their occupation is far more important that the litinay of lawyers who you mention would take the job because the consequences of their screw ups are far more disasterous. Its not an issue of whether you can find lawyers who would take the job. The issue is whether that lawyer is both intellectually brillant, a keen listener and has an even temperment. I would suggest to you that those types do not exactly grow off trees.

Lastly, you mention "no accountability, no pay raise." That is a catchy phrase, but ask yourself -- how does one assess accountability in this situation? The people in these jobs are not like soldiers in the sense that they follow the orders of a field commander. They operate independently so that their decisions will be independent of outside influences. Moreover, to deny a raise to an entire group of workers because a kooky colleague looked at porn is just silly. You call the pay increase "lavish" when, even with the increase these men and women will be paid far, far less than lawyers of comparable education and experience, and the increase will only partially make up for past de facto pay cuts.

You talk about government waste. Well I am a conservative. I want lower taxes as well and less government regulation. However, as a student of how the federal goverments works I can say one think for certain. I have never, ever seen an organization anywhere that is more penny wise and pound foolish. You can see example after example after example. This raise is important because it will signal to potential applicants that the government is stopping its practice of giving the jurists these annual de facto pay cuts. That will bring into the mix a larger pool of top lawyers who are interested in the job. Furthermore, a raise that is but a nanobite of the total amount the goverment spends is a small price to pay if if demonstrates that we treat all federal employees fairly in terms of pay, i.e., that we will at least pay them an amount equal to inflation. Also, the raise will further the vital goal of having a federal judiciary that is truly composed of the best and the brightest. Finally, the raise will help insure we do not end up with the type of bitter, angry judiciary envisioned by Chinese Emperor K'Ang-Hsi

Sensible
07-12-2008, 05:13 PM
Bombsquadron6 - As an addendum to my earlier post, I want you to think about the following. A few years ago there was a transit worker in Chicago who was convicted of being a serial killer. We have a soldier caught in Mexico after fleeing North Carolina after he murdered another soldier. We have soldiers in Iraq convicted of torturing Iraqis. We had an accountant in Texas who worked for Enron who was convicted of a fraud that caused thousands of people to lose their life savings. We also have a petroleum engineer who has been charged with murdering his 2 year old step daughter. We also have a medical doctor down here convicted of rape. Another doctor has been convicted of medicaide fraud. Do you get the picture? I could go on and on and on and point out criminal acts or corrupt acts undertaken by members of every profession. However, I am not going to do what you suggest. Namely, I am not going to get up and shout that, due to these experiences, all doctors, or all engineers or all soldiers or all engineers or all accountants are corrupt and thus everyone who works in these occupations should be punished with pay cuts.

Clearly your views are colored by a bad experience you had. I am sorry. I am sure the family of the murdered soldier in North Carolina have views that that are tainted as well. However, I am not going to use that experience as a platform to say give our soldiers pay cuts. To the contrary, I favor more pay for them. I also favor better pay for federal judges.

You seem to think this is an either/or situation. I respectfully disagree. This should instead be a win, win situation, where all should get fair pay. It could easily happen if our Congress would elimiate a fraction of its wasteful spending. As far as the judges are concerned, as Mr. Keker pointed out it would only take a nanobyte of the federal budget to restore judicial pay under the bill currently working its way through Congress.

bombsquadron6
07-20-2008, 08:35 PM
Dear Sensible,

No, I certainly am not ignoring your central argument. You maintain that these federal judges deserve a large raise and they deserve it right now. No, they do not. Not until they decide to reform a judiciary that treats average Americans with utter contempt. They no longer answer to common citizens; they answer to big business. Accountability starts at the top. The U.S. Supreme Court, made up of ideologues from both parties, demands no accountability from the judges in the federal judiciary. There is no leadership from the top and district court and appellate court judges know that they can do whatever they want and will have to answer to no one. I will continue to use our case as an example of a judiciary so out of control that established law, due process and fundamental fairness were brazenly tossed out the window by arrogant and contemptuous federal judges. You may be sure I am disgusted by the entire federal judiciary. Any law abiding, hard working, blue-collar American who endured what we did would feel the same way. But it isn't just personal for me. The decision handed down by the district court judge, upheld by the Tenth Circuit and rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court allows transit districts and corrupt unions to select the bargaining representative (union) for the transit workers. Transit workers no longer have the right to select who will represent them. This is in clear contradiction to all modern established labor law.

You use numerous criminal cases to make an argument that the military as a whole cannot be blamed for the actions of a few. Of course, that is correct. However, each of those individuals was held accountable for their actions. They likely face harsh punishment, especially those in the military. The judiciary, with its Constitutional protections, faces no such accountability when it commits misconduct. But they want a raise much larger than the military. Yet, at most, they suffer comparative deprivation while our military is facing true deprivation. http://www.usnews.com/blogs/washington-whispers/2008/7/11/john-mccains-home-while-he-was-a-pow-in-vietnam.html In weighing the equities, it is the military and not the judiciary that should receive disproportionate raises.

You have repeatedly focused on the U.S. Supreme Court in your arguments. Not only do they not demand accountability from judges within the federal judiciary, they are accepting less cases. In its most recent session, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for only seventy cases, the fewest in over fifty years. http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/civpro/2008/07/important-cases.htmlThe caseload has steadily declined and yet these Justices want significantly more money. I think most people would like a position that requires half the work of twenty years ago. http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096414477

Since, in addition to federal judges, you also defend the U.S. Attorney's office, I would like your views on the recent murder of Border Patrol agent Luis Aguilar and an explanation why the U.S. Attorney's office has refused to extradite his murderer from Mexico despite the fact that he was arrested by Mexican police. We Americans certainly deserve an explanation and you or any member of the U.S. Attorney's office are welcome to provide one here. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2008/07/10/ldt.bilbray.intv.cnn
http://loudobbs.tv.cnn.com/2008/07/11/outrage-at-a-dangerous-suspects-release/

I standby all of my posts and I find your rebuttal arguments entirely unpersuasive. The judiciary and its allies have tried to use selective statistics to push through a large raise but a review of the entire record demonstrates that they are undeserving of a raise and certainly not a raise ten times that of the military.

Sensible
07-21-2008, 04:39 AM
I guess my point is, I do not consider what they are seeking a large raise. If you go back the past 16 years, you will see they have been "raised" every year less than the amount of inflation. What the judges seek is partial restoration of what has been denied to them because of the link between their pay and Congress' pay.

The number of cases heard means nothing. What counts is the significance of the cases heard. Many are extraordinarily complicated.

Another interesting point here is that it is not only the judges and capped out federal attorneys held hostage by Congress' unwillingness to give raises at least equal to inflation. If you look at what is happened here, the same is true with all Schedule III and Schedule IV federal executives. Unless they are independently wealthy, these SESers and the others are all are hurting mightily now because these pay "raises" less than the amount of inflation have been going on for many years in a row now. That type of practice is just not right and not fair.

Having served in the US Attorny's Office for many years (although I am no longer there now), I can tell you without a doubt it was not their decision. Any decision involving international affairs comes directly out of Washington, namely, the decision is made by the U.S. Attorney General.

On the issue of the judges, what I have noticed is that the appointments almost always go to partners in large law firms. That is unlikely to change no matter the pay because those firms want their lawyers in those positions. As you may know, giving out the appointment is a way of paying back those who support the party in power. The big law firms all have Political Action Committees that give candidates major donations. The ones in Houston give hundreds of thousands of dollars to both sides of the aisle. I guess the idea here is that these firms support both sides so that they will have a degree of influence with whatever administration comes to power. You should know, however, that there are two types of partners in these large law firms. Those that are rich and those on their way to becoming rich. So, all your policy of low pay will do is this: only the rich ones will want the job. The others cannot stand the pay cut! How great -- with your view we will just have federal benches composed of a bunch of rich folks who are so loaded they do not care about money. Well, I hope you are successful in your campaign to continue the practice of giving the judges de facto pay cuts because you are likely going to end up with a bunch of folks in black robes who are so wealthy they cannot possibly identify with the common man (or woman).

This practice of annual de facto pay cuts (pay increases less than the inflation rate) has gone on for so long that it is likely the federal judiciary is changing as we speak, and only the ultra wealthy are taking the jobs now. This may explain the arrogance your post refers to. Get used to it, Bombsquadron6 -- you are very likely going to see more of it because the $50K of so we are tallking about will mean nothing to the type of people who will be taking these jobs (it will proportionately be like a few hundred dollars to you or me -- big deal). Like I have said - you get what you pay for, and the U.S. government is the most pennywise and pound foolish organization in the history of mankind. We are on the verge of having a federal judiciary comprised exclusively of the ultra wealthy, and these de facto pay cuts you favor so strongly will be one of the primary culprits for this situation.

Sensible
07-21-2008, 01:47 PM
Here is how 16 years of pay raises for the judiciary less than the amount of military will impact military pay:

To see how the pay game along the banks of the Potomac is played, consider this. A couple of years ago their was a bill in Congress to raise the pay of administrative law judges (ALJs) in Congress. That bill failed, in part because the Article III judges pushed an effort to defeat it. The reason for the opposition? The Article III judges get no pay increase, so neither should the federal ALJs. Now, there are only about 1500 federal ALJs.

Others are also seeking pay increases -- the SES group and capped out federal attorneys and those capped out in the GS system. Their numbers are far higher than ALJs (there are many thousands of these types). If the Article III judges are not given fair annual increases, then as I mentioned these groups won't either. So here we will have a group of many thousands of people who either manage the day to day affairs federal government or handle its most important legal cases. Now we have all heard the saying that misery loves company. Well, trust me -- if these people do not get fair raises then there will be some from these groups lobbying behind the scene to stop fair raises from going to the military. The reasoning will be that since they are not getting fair raises, no one should. Unfortunately, that is just the childish way our democracy seems to work.

On the issue of the arrogance you experienced in your encountered with the federal district and circuit court, it sound very likely that you suffered at the hands judges who are independently rich. As you know, that is exactly how many in that category operate. So you (i.e., the taxpayers) got what you paid for -- or in this situation did not pay for; you got judges who would take the job for the realitively low pay because the money means nothing to them as they do not need it. This is exemplified by a judge out of Corpus Christi. This man never tried a single case before taking the job. He was a real estate lawyer. Why then did he get it? Well, I invite you to fly into Corpus Christi sometime and it would be easy for you to figure out -- the international airport there is named after this fellows father. Many estitmate this man's net worth well over $100 million.

As a side note, you can also forget about these jobs going to people who work for legal aide, or come directly from the JAG Corps or are currently public servants (unless, of course, these people have mighty powerful political connections). That is just never going to happen and for you to think it wil is overly idealistic. Here is the reality, Bombsquadron6 and here is a newsflash: these are political appointments. Therefore, they almost always go to those who have significantly contributed to the party in power. Go to any federal courthouse and look at the background of the people who hold these jobs and you will know what I am saying is true.

bombsquadron6
07-21-2008, 03:46 PM
Dear Sensible,
No, the district court judge who ruled in our case was not independently wealthy. That is easy to verify. His name is on the judicial misconduct complaint. Please go to http://utahtransitworker.org to review it. You attempt to make an argument that the independently wealthy are inherently corrupt. Nonsense. I would point to both Warren Buffet and Bill Gates as examples of men with stunning wealth who understand that they must return something to society. Your argument is without merit. The judges we dealt with were ambitious and their actions likely had more to do with advancement than enrichment.
Since you make an argument that it is a fact of life that judicial appointments have more to do with cronyism than merit, I would submit that that is even more reason to deny these judges a pay raise. There is a large pool of talented attorneys out there who would not be beholden to any corporation or political ideology and would do a much better job for the present salary. But I will not get into an abstract argument about this. Since the judiciary, from the Supreme Court down to every district court judge, refuses to make any effort to reform itself, then we taxpayers have every right to deny them a raise.

Sensible
07-21-2008, 05:22 PM
Well, you are right. There is a large pool out there. Those are not the ones who get these jobs. Talent is not the most important factor as to who gets these jobs. They go to the politcally connected. Also, please do not distort my words -- I said arrogance and not corruption. There is a huge difference. Fabulously wealthy people are not an anymore corrupt group than any other group. However, they can be perceived as arrogant because they are out of touch with the financial issues facing the common man.

Like I said, you are getting what you have refused to pay for. A group of jurists that are wealthier than 99% of all Americans and are unlikely to see things from the common man's perspective. Justice Roberts mentioned that we are going to have a judiciary comprised of only the very rich and those who have been public servants and see the position as a step up. Well, he was not being entirely frank with us because the truth is quite shocking. I have not seen any public servants ever appointed to the position of federal judge since the 1960's. These public servants lack the political muscle to get these appointments. If Roberts were truly being honest, then he would tell you that we are going to end up with a judiciary comprised of the very, very wealthy. I look around the federal courthouses I am familiar with, and that is my observation with a couple of rare exceptions.

So, go ahead and continue fighting for these judges to continue to get these pay cuts. Ultimately, we will end up with a judiciary that is so aristocratic that it will make you think we were back in the 18th century. You will certainly never have a federal judiciary that financially looks anything like the face of America. In the meantime, all you will do is encourage other groups to lobby against fair military raises, which is certainly their right just as it is your right to favor pay cuts for federal judges.

bombsquadron6
07-21-2008, 06:08 PM
You make many conclusory statements. Nowhere do you argue that the judiciary has a duty to meet the highest ethical standards or that it even needs to try. The military, on the other hand, is constantly under pressure to meet high standards. Blame me if you want for the judiciary not getting a raise (although I think you attribute me with more influence that I have, since I am a blue collar worker, after all) but if they answer to no one than no one should give them a raise.

Sensible
07-21-2008, 08:01 PM
Well, you can call them conclusory if you want. I call them personal observations based on 27 years of intricate interaction with the federal judicial system. By the way, the most conclusory comment made on this whole thread is that federal judges are all corrupt and not accountable to anyone. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many are among the most honorable people I know, including the judge I mentioned who took a $800K annual pay cut to serve the public in the position.

On the issue of accountability, I pointed out the judge in Houston accused of sexual misconduct. There are many others. Several years ago there was a judge in Fort Worth who was barred from hearing any cases for a year because he mistreated attorneys and witnesses. In New Orleans there is a judge facing impeachment because he took an expense paid junket to Las Vegas for his son's bachelors party. Further, they are held accountable with their decisions -- through the mechanism of an appeal.

Maybe things are different in the 10th Circuit, but there is a lot of accountability in the 5th Circuit (as the above examples show) when judges acts in an unethical way.

bombsquadron6
07-22-2008, 07:39 AM
You state that the accountability comes from the mechanism of the appeal. That was certainly not the case when we filed an appeal with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Although it was clear that we had been denied all due procees, that the district court judge had used every procedural trick he had to rule against us and that the law clearly supported our legal argument the panel upheld his decision. When we requested an en banc review it was denied. Not one single judge on the Tenth Circuit voted to rehear the case. No, these judges clearly protect one another. I'm sure you are right that the majority of federal judges are ethical and decent but when they turn a blind eye to corruption within their ranks then they have failed the American public. I call it corruption. You can call it what you want. But it certainly appears to be institutionalized.

The argument you make seems to be that if we don't give an immediate raise to the judiciary then only the ultra rich will agree to become judges. (You earlier expressed great admiration for a corporate attorney who took an 800K per year salary cut to become a federal judge.) You also explained that judicial appointments are really nothing more that political patronage and it has little to do with merit. That is likely very true and every American should be appalled. Clearly it is time to hold the judiciary (as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee that confirms these judges) to a higher standard.

I would be interested in hearing from others who are connected to the federal judicial system and might have some perspective. In fact, probably everyone who is following this thread would.

Measure Man
07-22-2008, 07:49 AM
You simply don’t want to debate my central premise. Federal judges have become arrogant and elitist. They have become the protectors of big business and average Americans are being harmed. What happened to us in federal court was not unique. We were denied all due process by federal judges who were positively smug about it. .

At risk of getting involved in this very wordy debate and not having read all of it.

Have you considered that you may be getting what you pay for?

hawk71049
07-22-2008, 11:58 AM
At risk of getting involved in this very wordy debate and not having read all of it.

Have you considered that you may be getting what you pay for?

Measure Man,

You mean… WE… right Measure Man… I mean we are getting what WE pay for right… the salary of the Federal judges is coming out of the tax payer’s dollar, right? bombsquadron6 & Sensible are debating the issues of Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase. We the taxpayers are the ones footing their salary, one way or the other.

Now when it comes to getting… (is the bang worth the buck) that is an entirely different subject, especially with some of the higher positions held by our judges. I think it is more than just our job to challenge those in these positions within the judiciary, it’s our duty, as citizens.

Sensible,

First I should point out that forum guest bombsquadron6, has identified herself on the forum profile, full name no, but with a little research I am quite sure we could tie a last name to Lisa. Now on the other hand kind sir, I will give you credit in that you did finally registered as Sensible, that sir is all we know about yourself, other than the information provided in your posts, while your position may be sensible, it does not make cents.

The judicial misconduct as listed and so well addressed in post # 3, would be an indication to me that lawyers such as your self should clearly be making attempts to rectify such injustices as opposed to giving them pay raises, the hand writing is pretty much on the wall that these justices pay is derived by other means other than the federal pay system… which suggest these judges are born to wealth, or have acquired their fortunes by other means. In any case, I am motivated by a sense of justice and fundamental fairness; I simply cannot bring myself to understand how you or I could honestly ask that, the members of this forum, or the service member (which earn far much less, and endanger their lives in doing so) to support your claim of fair pay, to the federal judges, when we read about so much injustice in the federal judges or any judges as far as that goes. I mean these justices are suppose to be the top in the field with regard to honor and practice of fair play and justice. Just exactly how do you suggest reform of the judiciary (keeping in mind here, are we are asking the fox to guard the chicken house) when it is obvious they are UN willing to administer reform within their ranks? I seriously dought that Rand is going to conduct any research or studies to determine the corruption of our judges, whether they be… federal judges, article III judges, district/circuit or (SCOTUS) Supreme Court of The United States-- judges. Without the spin kind sir, what say you?... hawk

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Sensible
07-22-2008, 12:38 PM
How do I suggest reform for the judiciary? Honestly, that is a tough one. From a constitutional prespective, it would be like asking Congress to reform itself because they are equal in terms of status as far as the constitution is concerned. The framers intended these men and women to be tremendously independent of outside influences.

Prehaps we should look to the Constituion itself for the answer. The framers could have included other mechanisms for controlling the federal judiciary, but they did not which prehaps show that they intended that the Checks and Balances in the document would be primary way to keep the judiciary honest. In other words, the framers were relying on the Senate and the President in doing their jobs in nominating the best people for these jobs. Also, they were relying on the Senate doing its job in properly evaluating impeachment proceedings.

The best way to achieve reform is to stop the appalling cronyism that is involved in the appointment process? I do not know for certain how that can be achieved just as I do not know how we can stop presidential candidates from spending hundreds of millions of dollars in their quest for that office. Prehaps the best place to start would to stop the practice of giving these folks the annual de facto pay cuts they have been receiving. Doing so would encourage more attorneys to seek the position. Maybe that would reduce some of the cronyism.

The good side of this is you have to realize what it takes to be a crony of a US Senator. You have to have a lot of money! Unless you are born into great wealth (the case with the judge in Corpus Chrisit) you probably made it by being a great lawyer which means you have a talent for the law. This was the case with the judge I mentioned who took the $800K annual pay cut and several others I know.

As a note to Lisa aka Bombsquadron, let me say this. I reiterate that I cannot really comment on your case without a full and proper evaluation of the facts and the law. It may be possible that you are so close to the case that you have tunnel vision about what was going on. I have seen many a client have such perspectives, and it is the natural response anyone would have after losing such a big case. Having said that, let me also say that I have not seen the type of corruption you allege took place in your case in the 5th Circuit.

hawk71049
07-22-2008, 02:27 PM
.
Sensible,

I ask a question-- How do you suggest reform for the judiciary? w/o the spin... what do I get… spin after yet another spin… was it difficult? Most certainly! You mention ways in which reform would not be successful, from a constitutional perspective…including, your imposition that the Senate and the President in doing their jobs... would be hiring the best people for the job, most certainly hiring the candidate that best fits the qualifications, is a step in the right direction, it most certainly is not the answer, and I think we both understand that-- that’s not reform- that’s what I call wishful thinking. Impeachment proceedings, you are kidding here right?

Then you go on to offer another suggestion, saying that the best way to achieve reform, is to stop the cronyism—you don’t know how to stop this, just that it is the best way?… Then sir, you ramble on to announce yet another unknown-- how can we stop presidential candidates from spending hundreds of millions of dollars in their quest for that office, and suggest that this can be eliminated by giving them a raise! Are you serious? Just how much of a pay raise would you suggest it take, to offset those hundreds of millions of dollars you so referred. Now, you want my vote for giving the judiciary a raise! You have got to be kidding me, you are going to have to do much better than that! you again make no cents...

You are absolutely right here Sensible, I have no idea what it takes to be a good crony. As I am sure you could provide all the training in that area, as for me… I am not interested. As for this being a good side or not, we will leave that up to others to decide. I am not at all impressed in your definition of what it means to be a good lawyer, I further suggest however, making great sums of money are far from any of my definitions or trademarks of being a good lawyer. Then God forbid you mention… yet again the 800K pay cut… just how on God’s green earth did our country get in such shape? And no, that is not a question! for I am sure that would result in yet other questions, equally as interesting.

Sir, I find nowhere, Lisa aka Bombsquadron6 (you still don’t have her screen name correct) asked for your guidance in her case, if I were Lisa… I would consider myself very lucky and fortunate, in that she did not end up in jail as a result of your council and or legal advice, not even to mention being represented by you. After some of your comments regarding my post, I ask who is in the maze of tunnel vision. If you want my vote, you are going to have to earn it, and not spin your way to bliss…

I ask again, How do you suggest reform for the judiciary? Respectfully…. hawk

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bombsquadron6
07-22-2008, 05:13 PM
The reform must come from within the judiciary. If they are unwilling to police themselves then no amount of legislation will change a thing. If the Supreme Court decides to take a stand and hold federal judges to the highest ethical standards then yes, Americans should consider a pay raise. But that has not happened. Americans can only demand reform. The judiciary itself must implement it. Perhaps some of the readers of this thread might consider sending this link to their representatives in Congress. Whether or not you agree with me is not the point. This debate has been informative and both sides presented their cases, well I hope. Thank you to all who have stayed with this and my best wishes go out to every man and woman serving this country in the military.

hawk71049
07-22-2008, 05:29 PM
.
Ma’ma,

while my last post may have hinted toward a little sarcasm…
by nature that is not me… i was just frustrated…
getting a straight answer is well… most difficult…
so please consider my humble request out of ignorance…
you told us where it must come from…
my question remains…
how do you suggest reform for the judiciary?
how will we the people recognize this when it happens…
i did catch the demand part as well…
Or..
if you will, what will or should be the judiciary approach look like…
how will they accomplish the major undertaking?

thankyou both for your professionalism in presenting your view point’s…
happy trails… hawk

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bombsquadron6
07-22-2008, 06:57 PM
The mechanisms are already in place. Each circuit court has a judicial council that reviews judicial misconduct complaints. The councils are made up of other judges from within the same circuit as the judge being complained about so there is an obvious conflict of interest. They all know each other and are often friends. The councils should be made up of attorneys, judges or law professors who have no contact with those being complained about. As you can guess, the current system rarely finds that complaints have any merit. But the best and most effective way would be for the U.S. Supreme Court to start policing the judiciary. Cases such as ours, in which the district court judge committed egregious abuses, and the circuit court of appeals allowed it, should be flagged by the Supreme Court and used as a warning to other judges. While Chief Justice Roberts has spent much time demanding a substantial raise for the judiciary, he spends little time addressing the need for an ethical judiciary or enforcing those ethics. Reform starts at the top. As a quick footnote, we have used this case over and over to demonstrate that the judiciary is out of control and must be reformed before a raise can be considered. You may be sure many people in Congress have looked it over and no one has disputed our claim that is was gross abuse of the judicial process. Further, the district court judge resigned soon after. All we can do is be informed politically and make it clear to our representatives in Congress that we do not tolerate dishonesty and corruption by public servants. They actually do listen to their constituents, especially now. It is an election year, the economy is tanking, there is a seemingly endless war and Americans have a very, very low opinion of Congress. Contact them!

hawk71049
07-22-2008, 08:26 PM
.
ok, now we are getting somewhere, if truly the most effective way for policing the judiciary is through the (SCOTUS) Supreme Court of The United States then why would we (the people) accept anything less than, which would be undesirable, as you have so stated, anything else would simply not make any sense.

We share similar interest in that we seek resolve to issues of the day that affect our great nation and our peoples. While I am far from mastering the English language, like you, I/we (I have another young lady that is assisting me, however she is currently with her b/f friend that is going back to Iraq for yet a 4th tour) normally get their attention, through correspondence. Yes, I am sure my Congressman and Senators just love receiving my letters, and emails regarding such subjects, as I will mention later on in this post. I on many occasions have collected many signatures in support of these issues, and very much agree we truly can make a difference. I comment you on your plight, and if there is anything I can do to assist you please let me know, via E-mail, or PM.

That issue being (PTSD/TBI) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and or Traumatic Brain Injuries sustained our service members, while in Combat or otherwise. Simply put… our service members are either not getting appropriate care, or the disease/disorder is being all but ignored, in that adequate facilities are not available, including properly trained personnel, or those affected are being diagnosed with something entirely different, in order to dissolve the members benefits for these disorders. It is my opinion that all our Military Branches is in effect brushing this under the rug or not giving it the attention it deserves, due to the ever increasing demands the war effort has put on our fine young men and women, who have served 3—4—and even 5 tours in the far East such as Iraq or Afghanistan.

Many Senators, Congressman and on up the COC are turning their heads. I have heard so many debates on the floor, in the house it is not funny, they have all but discussed the damn thing into the next century, while those affected are falling through the crack, ending their lives through suicide, or taking a life or lives with them due to not receiving proper medical attention. Headlines through our country are full of such stories. I have documented these stories here on this forum, through the many--- journals, magazine and newspaper articles, and nationally recognized studies, such as the Rand Research Origination, to and including the many postings here on this forum, feel free to visit this thread if you so desire, the thread is titled…. Re: "Is Uncle Sam Brushing this Under the Carpet?"
http://www.militarytimes.com/forum/showthread.php?p=100132&posted=1 ...hawk


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Sensible
07-23-2008, 04:15 AM
Hawk -- there is no spin here. You talk as if it is an easy question to answer. In the first place, one has to accept the premise that the judiciary AS A WHOLE needs reforming. It does not in my opinion, although I am sure there are instances of abuse. As you know, there are isolated incidents of improper conduct among every profession. The only domestic groups I know of that consistently abuse their positions are the mafia and Congress!

Putting aside all levity, let me say this. Let''s assume for the sake of argument the federal judiciary at the district and circut court levels as a whole is indeed corrupt and needs reforming. Well, you are absolutely incorrect in thinking this is an easy question to answer. You see, even the Supreme Court has very limited power over the lower court judges. From a constitutional perspective, all Roberts and Company can do is order a lower judge to stop hearing cases and enter and publish an order embarrassing the lower court judge. In extreme cases, they can order judges to relocate. This is basically all the boards of judicial misconduct can do. The SCOTUS does not have the constiutional power to stop a lower court judge's pay or lower that pay or compel a lower court judge to resign. Its not the judiciary's fault. They are not bodies of unlimited authority and they have not been granted that authority by Congress or the Constitution. Frankly, I think that even if Congress were to pass such a law it would be struck down as unconsitutional. So, you see what you have here is an issue of constitutional dimensions. If you want that kind of reform, you will need to do something extraordinary: convince the country that it should amend the Constiution to grant the SCOTUS that type of authority. Given that that is a very, very difficult thing to do, the better way to go is to prevent abuses from ever happened. This is done by making sure that the judges confirmed by the Senate have impeccable credentials and morals, which by the way is why I advocated in an earlier post that these lifetime appointees all be subject to rigorous psychological testiing as a condition to getting the job.

Now, perhaps I was inarticulate in my last post about lawyers who make gobs of money. It is not the trademark of a great lawyer. However, if you line up the lawyers making the big bucks with the average joe lawyer, you will find that as a group the former generallly possess more legal talent than the latter. Is that a surprise? This is true whether you are talking about lawyers or any other profession. That is why Denton Coley in the height of his career as a heart surgeon in Houston was makiing more than $25 million annually. He is brillant and extremely gifted and thus, demands more from the market place than ordinary surgeons. That is why Joe Jamail made more than $400 million dollars off one case in the 1980's, when he sued Texaco on behalf of Pensoil. In his prime, he has a talent for arguing cases before juries that was far, far beyond the ability of the average lawyer. That is why another lawyer I know, Rusty Hardin, can demand a $1million dollar retainer. In his 20 years as a DA he never lost a single case in a trial to a jury. He speaks incredibly well, and he knows how to persuade juries in criminal cases better than any lawyer I have ever seen. Bottom line: as a general rule the more talented get rewarded financially more than the less talented, although of course there are exceptions.

On the issue of cronyism, that has been a problem since the beginning of civilization. How do you stop Senators from nominating lawyers who are their friends or closely connected to their friends so long as the nominee is qualified for the job? It cannot be done, so get just accept it. And really, the private sector operates no differently. Just see who gets promoted in any organization: its the person who the boss likes. You can call it what you will, but the bottom line is that it is all based on connections and using those connections to win people over with one's personality. I am open to your suggestions or anyone elses suggestion about stopping cronyism in this world,

Sincerely and respectfully,
Sensible

bombsquadron6
07-23-2008, 07:30 AM
Dear Hawk71049,
Your last post breaks my heart. The thought of these young men and women returning to Iraq and Afghanistan over and over is terrible. The military is exhausted and this cannot go on much longer. I do worry about all the servicemen and women who have been wounded, many greiviously. I work in public transit and our trains go very near the Salt Lake V.A. hospital. I am seeing more and more returned wounded vets who are by now somewhat able to travel on public transit but they are struggling and it tears me up inside. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitiude. We are at war, just or unjust, and those who make the decision to join the military are the ones who deserve our resources. Thank you.

Sensible
07-23-2008, 01:05 PM
Hawk - I am totally with you on the issue of how our country is not taking proper steps to insure our vets receive proper medical care. For several years back in the 90's one of my jobs as an Asst. US Attorney was to defend the VA on its malpractice claims. I have seen unbelieveably poor care that agency has given our veterans. Its just pitiful. Well, all I can say is there is no excuse, ever, for not giving them the best. But for these outstanding men and women we would not even have a nation. God bless them all.

hawk71049
07-24-2008, 08:01 AM
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Since the Court system is made up of human beings, the system represents the very best and worst of human nature. The judicial system is not going to be any better unless practices of overseeing the rulings of judges are fair and balanced. Yes, there most certainly are incidents of improper conduct, but to go on and say these incidents are minimal or isolated, would be… to some extent… well… you know… somewhat misleading. Unless of course, you were to substantiate your claim based on unbiased research by an organization far removed from the situation. That may prove to be most certainly difficult, I suggest you are destined to continue to sugar coat the results, with the issues remaining much the same, corruption within the judicial system, remaining mostly unchecked.

You suggest one has to accept the premise that the judiciary AS A WHOLE needs reforming; nowhere will you find such a statement from me, or implication of such. How does a body create reform for those that abuse the judiciary, you don’t, it’s just that simple, so reform must be for the whole of its body, that being said… does not mean the whole body is corrupt, it simply means that the whole is under the same reform, does that make sense?

A very cursory search on the internet will show that almost every group in America has faced, or claims to have faced, real or perceived abuse from the America system of justice; this includes both race and gender, does that surprise you considering the topic at hand?

As a Marine (discharged, having served over 8 years AD) I have read many articles regarding, the injustices of the military UCMJ or JAG, here on the Military Times Forum… are all JAG members corrupt, absolutely not… our JAG seems on the surface to me to be somewhat self cleansing, (can I present any research reflecting this, sorry not available) I wonder if having set pay rates, based on earned entitlement has any merit… as to success of the military UCMJ and or its JAG members.

While you addressed this, let me add my 2 cents as the saying goes… you suggest… and rightfully so that we find corruption in many other professions, of which we both agree. As you have suggest the judiciary are in positions of making decisions where the outcome is in the millions and millions of dollars. You have also mentioned other professions where individuals pay exceed the millions; off the top of my head, Scientists, and Athletes also come to mind. In thinking back over the last few months I recall a bill where law suits for the injured, due to alleged malpractice (made headlines for weeks) would cap or minimize the settlements. If salary caps were placed on professions where exuberant amounts of monies were made, as the salary caps are being placed on the law suits of the injured, this might have some effect on the profession and their standards, is it not about balance and fair play? Just how can these other professions even come close to those professionals that serve as judiciaries, due we not hold the judiciaries to a higher standard, as opposed to other professions? And rightfully so!

Sensible, please understand here Sir, I am but a simple man… with simple ways… Like many, I didn’t make the laws, it was very intelligent attorneys such as you that designed these laws and set them into motion, making them all but understandable, for the common man, needing yet again… equally intelligent attorneys to represent their client and present his/her case… using these laws to define the case and convince the jury accordingly. So when you come to me and inform me my question has no simple answer, (twice mind you in the same post) I assure you, I completely understood you the first time. Let me ask you this, you present the Doctor, Denton Coley… making more than $25 million. Joe Jamail… as an attorney, who was a DA for over 20 years, and never lost a case. Rusty Hardin… whom made over $400 million on one case. I know that you are not suggesting… that all of good old Joe’s cases he tried during his 20 year rain… were innocent! Then the example where… Rusty Hardin made over $400 million on one case… I mean Sensible, you relate their earnings to their abilities (you said “far beyond the ability of the average lawyer”) doesn’t something truly STAND out here…

I ask you this… is it that… Jamil or Hardin were far beyond their ability as lawyers, or could their possibly be flaws within the laws? How many criminals were released back onto the streets, or what did it cost the consumer in petroleum premiums when Hardin won his case? Paying such Doctors fees as you have noted, what impact has that had on medical insurance rates? The poor? You suggest these attorneys shine in their intelligence; I suggest due to our ignorance… thousands of Americans have suffered finically. Many Americans may have potentially lost their lives as the result of these fine professionals and their knights in shining armor, their attorneys. Who were the losers here?

Brings to mind the… NASA Apollo 13 disaster… when… LOVELL (CDR) alerted the SWIGERT (LMP): Okay, Houston— LOVELL (CDR): I believe we’ve had a problem here. CAPCOM (CC): This is Houston. Say again, please. LOVELL: Houston, we’ve had a problem. “We had a pretty large bang (Oxygen tank explosion) associated with the caution and warning [alarm] here.

Keep in mind, Apollo 13 was outward bound from earth, more than 205,000 miles in space, are the solutions to our issues 205,000 miles in space? I suggest the warning signs are there… is anyone listening? Must we wait for the big bang?

The simple fact is that there are injustice in every aspect of life whether in the community, business, at the bank, at the office or in the home. Judges, attorneys, court officials and litigants are no exception. Can we really compare the affects of the injustices in these two entirely different worlds? or their impacts on common man? Are we then ignoring the founding fathers principles, substituted by our beliefs that by allowing a minority of its whole to continue its practices in ill fate. How then does that reflect on us as keepers of justice when we reward those that knowingly permit and continue falsely in their practice, whether that is lawyers or judiciaries? To expect anything else… but the immediate removal of those in the judiciary… for any infraction of the law… however minor it may be… must then be the standard and never the exception… of the judicial system.

Summary:
For just a moment let’s look at the service members in our military. The military members serve our great nation, fight for all our freedom, and are deployed to all parts of the world. The service members are governed by both the civilian justice system and the UCMJ, not to mention the rank and file within each unit, or the unit within the division and so on. We are; trained in hand to hand combat…proficient with various weapons, all our branches have special forces… we are skilled rifleman, foot soldiers, sailors, para troopers, mechanics, cooks, truck drivers, radioman, admin clerks, pay specialists, military police, K9, JAG, pilots, and special agents… you can find us, on the ground, in the air, on ships and submarines… on or in the water, or in coastal waters around the world. When one of our members steps out of place, there is one waiting to provide guidance… verbally, emotionally or physically if necessary. Our character, bearing, life style, military occupation, where we eat sleep and drink many times are not governed by free choice… but that of the calling of our country or our President. We are taught…we are as strong as only the weakest link, to respect and honor, those above us, by rendering a salute to not only our flag, but our Officers, Doctors, Chaplains and others that may be deserving. Our work hours are 24/7-- 365 days a year… many of our holidays are spent in hostile fire zones, on foot, in all kinds of climates, away from our loved ones and families… in foreign countries, on ships or in submarines. Many of us suffer from all kinds of wounds to the body… the brain… both seen and unseen; we have scars from the known and the unknown. Many of us when discharged… don’t have the same body parts we began with… our minds are fractured… our hearts are heavy… and our souls may be weary. Many of us don’t get the medical attention we need and deserve, for physical as well as mental and brain injuries… we are discharged without benefits that will provide for our well being… or are mistreated and forgotten, after we are discharged we may come to realize we are severely depressed or suffer from what has been recently called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Our Wives, girlfriends, boyfriends and family suffer more than we will ever know or understand… We are Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Air man, and Coast Guardsmen… Many of us have given our lives in the service of our country; we love and honor... When we are cut we bleed, when we are shot we fall, when we hurt we cry in private. Please don’t forget about us…

When judiciary are punished while in office and are removed from office, you might find it interesting they maintain their honorary title. When a service member is discharged for other than honorable reasons… they receive a dishonorable discharge, many have difficulties finding employment… many live on the streets… many more suffer from PTSD, and or TBI… many receive no pay and allowances, pension or compensation, or medical attention whatsoever. Very few receive any monies on discharge. In fact there was a time when these members did not receive bus fare home.

Sincerely and respectfully,
hawk

.

bombsquadron6
07-29-2008, 07:53 AM
Dear Sensible,
You have stated repeatedly that it would require a Constitutional amendment to change the way the judiciary handles misconduct complaints. That is nonsense. All they really need to do is abide by their own recommendations which are included within the Implementation of the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 A Report to the Chief Justice which was issued in 2006. Here is the link:
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/publicinfo/breyercommitteereport.pdf

The committee that prepared the report was chaired by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer who also oversees the Tenth Circuit. His own office wrote to me and said that there was nothing they could do in our case. Virtually nothing that they recommend in this report was done for us. They would not even answer us when we demanded evidence that a ninety year old, seemingly senile senior (retired) judge was competent to hear the case. The chief judge (at the time) of the Tenth Circuit, who permitted the corruption that I have identified, would not even recuse herself from judging the merits of the complaints against the district court judge and the panel judges, despite the fact that I also filed a complaint against her. She had no problem with the clear conflict of interest.

Sensible, you will be delighted to know that Congress will likely pass the Judicial Salary Increase bills although the American public will have no say in the matter. "According to the Congressional Research Service, 94 percent of bills passed by this Democratic-led Congress passed without votes, debates or amendments. This practice, known as “unanimous consent” or “hotlining,” was traditionally reserved for minor bills, such as naming post offices and honoring sports teams." However, today it is used for important bills when Congress wants to avoid public scrutiny. This is one of the reasons that less than one in ten Americans view Congress favorably. Please see the link below. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2008/07/24/ldt.sylvester.secret.congress.cnn

My suggestion for everyone who still cares whether Congress represents the will of the American people is to send the link of this debate to their Congressional delegation and state that arguments made in this debate should be thoroughly explored in public hearings prior to the passing of a pay raise for federal judges. Congress should be a deliberative body and not a rubber stamp for the wishes of corporate America and the large law firms that desire a big pay raise for their handpicked judges and justices.

Sensible
07-29-2008, 07:33 PM
Well, in my mind what I have told you is not nonsense when you look at it from the prospective that with any right there must exist a remedy. In that case, what I had hoped was communicate to you was that the courts lack the constitutional authority to impose the remedies that really have teeth. Namely, they do not possess the right to impose a pay cut on a judge nor can they on their own remove a judge from office.

Let's turn the tables. Since the judges have been given annual pay "raises" far less that the amount of inflation, can I have the name and address of the CEO of the company you work for? I will then ask every one of our readers to ask him or her to do the public and shareholders a favor by saving them money. Every transit worker for that company should get an annual pay raise less than the amount of inflation for 16years in a row. I think that, after those years, the people working for those companies would be more empathetic with the judges' position on the issue of their pay. I am sure they would then be saying the same thing to their employer, namely, that they are really not seeking a raise. What they want is to be restored a portion of what they have lost.

hawk71049
07-29-2008, 08:58 PM
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Well, you speak of nonsense, the prospects of right with relationships to remedy. The courts inability to impose the will of right. If the courts would just gum it to death once in awhile… it might mean something to the American people. Hell, they have been faking it and making it for so long now, lining their pockets with unseen monies, no wonder the American people are feed up… it’s no wonder the American people are feed up with all the slick talk and false promises.

You say let’s turn the tables, I suggest they have been turned for a long time now, in fact that is part of the problem, tables are turned… cards are shuffled… dealt from the bottom of the deck… and when a point is made… it’s like children sometimes, holding the last piece of the puzzle, (and of course at election time) only to play it at end game, as if to say, see… I did it, it was me… ok let’s use your scenario.. Let’s take every Judges, attorneys, court officials and put their name, and addressee on a piece of paper, and place it in a hat, then we can do the public and tax payer a favor by saving them money. When those names that were drawn to serve our country and have served only honorably… come back home… start acting funny… are of (or in) fear for asking for help… we will send them back into combat, drug them up to keep them in theater, reduce their rank when they step out of line, at the end of their tour if they make it, discharge them, hold back their benefits for PTSD or TBI, do that for the next 16 years, and keep it under the cover… as it has been done for the last 16 years... You see your talking money here, pay raises, I’m talking benefits (medical insurance for those military members that are injured) that would save lives, many lives… think about it.

You see, as it would appear to me everyone has a hidden agenda… everyone. Me, I’m just a member of the Military Times that sees a great injustice before my eyes… happy trails… hawk

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Sensible
07-29-2008, 09:28 PM
Well, I don't of any Article III judges lining their pockets with unseen monies. If any are, they should be prosecuted.

Hawk - this is not an either/or situation. Judges should not get shafted with annual de facto pay cuts. Those who serve should receive their benefits as allowed by the law. Period.



.
Well, you speak of nonsense, the prospects of right with relationships to remedy. The courts inability to impose the will of right. If the courts would just gum it to death once in awhile… it might mean something to the American people. Hell, they have been faking it and making it for so long now, lining their pockets with unseen monies, no wonder the American people are feed up… it’s no wonder the American people are feed up with all the slick talk and false promises.

You say let’s turn the tables, I suggest they have been turned for a long time now, in fact that is part of the problem, tables are turned… cards are shuffled… dealt from the bottom of the deck… and when a point is made… it’s like children sometimes, holding the last piece of the puzzle, (and of course at election time) only to play it at end game, as if to say, see… I did it, it was me… ok let’s use your scenario.. Let’s take every Judges, attorneys, court officials and put their name, and addressee on a piece of paper, and place it in a hat, then we can do the public and tax payer a favor by saving them money. When those names that were drawn to serve our country and have served only honorably… come back home… start acting funny… are of (or in) fear for asking for help… we will send them back into combat, drug them up to keep them in theater, reduce their rank when they step out of line, at the end of their tour if they make it, discharge them, hold back their benefits for PTSD or TBI, do that for the next 16 years, and keep it under the cover… as it has been done for the last 16 years... You see your talking money here, pay raises, I’m talking benefits (medical insurance for those military members that are injured) that would save lives, many lives… think about it.

You see, as it would appear to me everyone has a hidden agenda… everyone. Me, I’m just a member of the Military Times that sees a great injustice before my eyes… happy trails… hawk

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hawk71049
07-29-2008, 09:43 PM
.

Well, I don't of any Article III judges lining their pockets with unseen monies. If any are, they should be prosecuted.

Hawk - this is not an either/or situation. Judges should not get shafted with annual de facto pay cuts. Those who serve should receive their benefits as allowed by the law. Period.

Well, if they were unseen monies you would not know about them, now would you. Please understand I truly am not trying to be unprofessional with that statement. How can you sell the American peoples pay raises when we have member of the judiciary doing underhanded things, and not be able to prosecute them? As you have so stated and I believe bombsquadron6 has also stated a great injustice. These high level folks within our judicial system must police their own with fair and balanced justice, and we MUST make sure laws are being upheld. Period!

Sir, it just don’t pass the taste test…. hawk


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Sensible
07-29-2008, 11:44 PM
With all respect, Hawk, all this talk of unseen monies is just that. These are mere allegations. Not only that, but we don't really know what happened in Lisa's case. I mean, every lawsuit has two sides. You would have to hear the other side's evidence and we are just hearing her side. Which is also why people don't like judges -- 50% of all people who appear before judges lose. Like I said, one side has to win, the other has to lose. That is no doubt one reason why so many people do not seem to have trouble giving these jurists de facto pay cuts year after year; clearly a lot of people have an animus towards judges because a lot of people have lost lawsuits.

Now, would you like me to tell you things that are not true? Would you like me to say the courts can fire Article III judges because they are found by higher courts to be incompetent or unfair or even corrupt? I will if you want, but it would be a falsehood. For that, you have to have an impeachment proceeding. Remember, these are courts of limited authority. They can only do what they have been authorized to do by the laws passed by congress and the constituion. Don't get me wrong -- these judicial misconduct boards can do some things -- all aimed at shaming the judge. But these things lack the teeth of the type of discipline you see when folks in the private sector act improperly or those in the military violate the law. Its not the fault of these boards -- all they can do is all they can do.

I agree with you -- laws should be upheld. Period. That is the point. In this situation, there is no law that would allow a federal court give another federal court a pay cut or terminate another judge. You have to go another route to achieve that result.

gruntdoc91
07-30-2008, 02:15 AM
well speaking of the house and senate....they only need serve 5 years and get 15,000.00 a month for the rest of their lives.the same liberals lowered retirement from 50% to 35% after at least 20 years of military service.instead of the roman senators voting fat raises for themselves they should take of those who ensure their very survival.and its not the judges, lobbyists, or multi-billion dollar pac's its the men and women of the military.they can only take so much from the defense of this nation before the house comes crumbling down around them.but theyll have their fat savings to help them continue their cushy lifestyles.

Sensible
07-30-2008, 02:55 AM
You will get no argument from me on your post, Gruntdoc. The whole reason we have this incredible deficit is because those folks want to keep perpetuating their power. Rather than acting for the good of the country, all too often they act in order to please certain voter groups and special interests who keep giving them campaign contributions and votes that keep them in power.

bombsquadron6
07-30-2008, 08:17 AM
Sensible,
The names of my employer and the general manager are on the judicial misconduct complaints. Please don't pretend not to have noticed. My pay, after thirty years of employment, is less than $18.00 per hour. This is for operating light rail trains where I am responsible for the lives of thousands of people each day. My pay is the same as the employees who drive city buses. This same transit company just opened a commuter rail system that pays locomotive engineers, who must meet all Federal Railroad Administration standards, the same as the bus drivers. The raises we all get amount to about ten to twenty cents per hour about every six months or so. We have not kept up with the rate of inflation for longer than the judiciary. Our wages are so low now that the company is unable to attract qualified people and so I work ten to twenty hours of overtime a week.

Why does the company do this? Because we do not have an honest union that represents the workers. What passes for a union here is an entity that is completely controlled and dominated by the company. Although there is a state statute that requires a transit union to have a majority of members from the bargaining unit (eligible employees) to be a legitimate union, this union does not have a majority. (This is easily verified because this is a right to work state and union membership is voluntary.) The company is supposed to have a decertification election when the membership is so low but they have never done so because the union agrees to anything the company wants. This corrupt union (and its overpaid officers) depends on the company for its very survival. Hence, our wages are low, the working conditions are tough and safety issues are ignored.

We went to federal court to assert our right to select our own bargaining representative and not have one forced on us by the company. The district court judge prevented us from having discovery and proving that the present union is not a legal union. He ignored all established labor law that mandates that the workers, and not the company, can choose who represents the workers. He ruled against us on everything, ignored all case law and just made up his own legal standard that had no basis in law. The decision handed down by this judge stripped transit workers nationwide of the right to choose their bargaining representative. My name is on that case. From the district court judge, to the entire Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, to the U.S. Supreme Court, not one federal judge or justice considered the rights of blue collar, working class Americans to be worth protecting. But you want me to feel bad because they might not get a raise? There is a serious disconnect here, Sensible.

There are three agendas at work on this thread. My agenda is to protect the rights of working class Americans. Hawk's agenda is to provide better medical care for wounded war vets. Your agenda is to give the judiciary a large, no-strings-attached pay raise. I would suggest that of the three, Hawk's is the most critically important right now. Thousands of injured and traumatized soldiers are returning home to find little or no care available to them. These same soldiers have been fighting a thankless war in the middle east ostensibly to give Iraqis and Afghanis democratic rights that are being denied Americans here at home by an elitist judiciary. (I doubt that many sons or daughters of federal judges are over there.) I would gladly donate my meager pay raises if it would help these soldiers. Would the members of the judiciary do the same?

Sensible
07-30-2008, 06:59 PM
My so called agenda is only to give fair pay increases to all federal employees, including the judges. As noted by Ex-Fed Chief Paul A Volker in the Wall Street journal (see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117107297874404462-search.html), the National Commission on the Public Service has pointed to judicial pay as "the most egregious example of the failure of federal compensation policies." None who work for the federal government should be annual pay raises less than the amount of inflation, so that Congress can use that money on the little pet projects its members use to secure reelection. Period.

Sensible
07-30-2008, 09:06 PM
To see what the ABA has to say about the issue of judicial pay and the dire need for reform (the ABA report also references the Volker Commission's report), see http://www.manningmedia.net/Clients/ABA/ABA261/ABA261_FactSheet.htm.

bombsquadron6
07-31-2008, 07:49 AM
Sensible,
This has become tedious. I have made my argument and you have made yours. Let the readers decide.

Sensible
07-31-2008, 11:44 AM
I agree. Happy trails! Sensible.

hawk71049
08-02-2008, 05:06 AM
.

Sensible,
There are three agendas at work on this thread. My agenda is to protect the rights of working class Americans. Hawk's agenda is to provide better medical care for wounded war vets. Your agenda is to give the judiciary a large, no-strings-attached pay raise. I would suggest that of the three, Hawk's is the most critically important right now. Thousands of injured and traumatized soldiers are returning home to find little or no care available to them. These same soldiers have been fighting a thankless war in the middle east ostensibly to give Iraqis and Afghanis democratic rights that are being denied Americans here at home by an elitist judiciary. (I doubt that many sons or daughters of federal judges are over there.) I would gladly donate my meager pay raises if it would help these soldiers. Would the members of the judiciary do the same?

There are three agendas being discussed here, two of them are legislated by the one, I would not say one outweighs the other to resolution; both must be on the forefront and resolved. I say cure the cancer and resolve them both. The struggle for control, power, greed, and corruption are in the path of both these agendas as a log would lay across the road to oncoming traffic.

It would appear... Sensible, however believes by throwing gobs of money at the judiciaries through pay raises these agendas will melt like lemon drops.

Resolve the control, power, greed, and corruption…(would be like getting the cart behind the horse) they are at the root of ALL injustices… solving these first… may provide a framework to all our solutions… happy trails… hawk

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Sensible
08-02-2008, 11:28 PM
Hawk - I am compelled to respond to your latest post because it distorts reality. You say that I want to throw "gobs of money" at judges. Do you personally know any federal judges? I can tell you, they work very, very hard. Did it occur to you that they have earned the pay they seek?

There is a reason why so many of the top students at every major law school in the country wants to clerk for these people. Remember, most of these students who are judicial clerks are foregoing major bucks just to serve a year in a clerkship. As Justice Burger noted, this is such a complex job it takes about 5 years to get up to speed. This is not the sort of job in which an average joe lawyer would succeed -- its just too complicated and requires exceptional intellect. Further, it takes strong people skills as well if if the job is to be done correctly. These types of qualities are exactly the traits you would expect to see in an attorney making many, many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year if he or she were in the private sector. So these people are giving up a lot to serve on the federal bench. They should not on top of everything else have been given raises less than the amount of inflation 16 years in a row (and in some of those years, they received no cost of living raise, or any raise for that matter, at all).

The bipartisian National Commission for Public Service (the Volker Commission) noted that the pay policies pertaining to federal judges is the most eggregous example of the failure of federal pay compensation. Translation: for what these people do they should be paid more because they are paid so little in comparison to what their peers in the private sector make.

I am disappointed by the tone of your response. Its as if you begrude people who prehaps earn more than you do. Well, unless you are a Gates or a Buffet there is always a bigger fish, so get over it. I am all for your agenda to better care for our veterans. Remember this -- where do you think veterans claims end up? Before a federal judge. Wouldn't you like the judge who hears those claims to have been selected from a huge pool of top quality applicants so that it is more likely that he or she knows what he or she is doing? Fair compensation for judges and members of the military and veterans are not mutually exclusive.

hawk71049
08-03-2008, 09:26 AM
.

Hawk - I am compelled to respond to your latest post because it distorts reality.
It may be possible that you are wearing blinders, and to close to the seeing that the Judiciaries get a raise that you have tunnel vision….

I submit to you sir, you are entitled to your opinion… I also have on several occasions questioned your thoughts… regarding reality… and how the general public perceive our judicial judges, true the minority but still… corrupt, none the less… and as you have so stated more than once… if you are not happy with my opinion… (side note; my tone here is soft spoken) accept it... or get over it…


You say that I want to throw "gobs of money" at judges. Do you personally know any federal judges?
I know two… well make it three… two are just as you have noted… The third IMHO, is one I would associate with being the butt end of some of the jokes flying around… something about cement galoshes…

I can tell you, they work very, very hard. Did it occur to you that they have earned the pay they seek?
Did it occur to you that there are also those that do not earn the pay they seek? Are life time appointed, with retirements and benefits that might be considered outrageous in some circles…

There is a reason why so many of the top students at every major law school in the country wants to clerk for these people. Remember, most of these students who are judicial clerks are foregoing major bucks just to serve a year in a clerkship. As Justice Burger noted, this is such a complex job it takes about 5 years to get up to speed. This is not the sort of job in which an average joe lawyer would succeed -- its just too complicated and requires exceptional intellect. Further, it takes strong people skills as well if if the job is to be done correctly. These types of qualities are exactly the traits you would expect to see in an attorney making many, many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year if he or she were in the private sector. So these people are giving up a lot to serve on the federal bench. They should not on top of everything else have been given raises less than the amount of inflation 16 years in a row (and in some of those years, they received no cost of living raise, or any raise for that matter, at all).

Some things I did not know about Chief Justice Burger ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_E._Burger)...

What a man….

In 1969, President Richard M. Nixon nominated Burger to the Chief Justice position. Burger had first caught Nixon's eye, in which he compared the United States judicial system to those of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark:

Chief Justice Burger father… joined the Union Army when he was 14, fought and was wounded in the Civil War, and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

He graduated in 1925. That same year, Burger also worked building a bridge in Saint Paul that still exists. Concerned about the number of deaths on the project, he asked that a net be installed to catch anyone who fell, but was rebuffed by managers.

Overall, Burger avoided controversy while in the Court. He often wrote only straightforward and uncontroversial opinions and avoided those in which the court was evenly split.

Burger was the subject of internal controversy on the Supreme Court throughout his tenure. Woodward and Armstrong's The Brethren depicted Burger as a weak chief justice who was not seriously respected by his colleagues due to alleged personal eccentricity and lack of legal acumen. Woodward and Armstrong's sources indicated that some of the other justices were annoyed by Burger's practice of switching his vote in conference, or simply not announcing his vote, in order that he be able to control opinion assignments. "Burger repeatedly irked his colleagues by changing his vote to remain in the majority, and by rewarding his friends with choice assignments and punishing his foes with dreary ones."[2]

Burger was not seen as the best leader of the Supreme Court
----------------

My hats off to those students… and all that make them who they are… the bullets they face will not… however, be life or career threatening… remember too that these students are fully aware of the salary & benefits situation, there must be other reasons these top students pursue these challenges… maybe they too see it as a way of serving their country in such an honorable position… let’s HOPE the honor and integrity remains upon their receiving raises & their appointments… if such be so…

Once again here… money is yet the topic of YOUR above paragraph. The use of the all mighty word “if” , not by me… therein lies the problem. What happens when the job is not done properly? We, all know the answer here, we see it whenever we open the newspaper of hear the new reports… So, I subject the real question is… what are WE giving up? I’ll let the readers answer that one…

Sir, until yourself and bombsquadrin6 (God Bless her) entered into this discussion… I personally knew very little pertaining to the salaries of Judges, Federal or not… this I have learned...

An overwhelming majority of cases before the federal courts at the district court level are decided before the case ever goes to trial… The federal district courts handled over 250,000 civil cases in fiscal year 2003. However, only 4,206 cases, or 1.7 percent, were decided through the trial process. Only 2,674 cases went to a jury, with 1,532 cases heard as bench trials. About 40% of the cases that went to a jury trial involved alleged civil rights violations. ( http://www.catea.gatech.edu/grade/legal/district.html)

Their minimum pay is somewhere above $160,000. And that is on the conservative end… I am certain they have expense accounts… and other benefits such as health care, paid vacations… and I suggest many more that probably don’t meet the eye of the general public…

The bipartisian National Commission for Public Service (the Volker Commission) noted that the pay policies pertaining to federal judges is the most eggregous example of the failure of federal pay compensation. Translation: for what these people do they should be paid more because they are paid so little in comparison to what their peers in the private sector make.
This is some of what I have found regarding your translation… If you’re referring to the… The Volcker Commission, also known as the Independent Committee of Eminent (Eminent is a synonym for "distinguished," )Persons…

The Volcker Oil-for-Food Commission: Is It Credible?
It has been almost six months since United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the appointment of the U.N.’s commission of inquiry, headed by Paul Volcker, into the Oil-for-Food scandal. ( http://www.heritage.org/research/internationalorganizations/wm569.cfm) .[1] So far, few details have emerged regarding the Commission’s modus operandi, its staff, or its overall effectiveness.
NOTICE OF CLOSING OF THE OFFICE OF THE INDEPENDENT INQUIRY COMMITTEE ( http://www.iic-offp.org/closing.htm)

The Independent Inquiry Committee into the United Nations Oil- for-Food Programme (“IIC”) closed its office effective December 31, 2006.

I am disappointed by the tone of your response. Its as if you begrude people who prehaps earn more than you do. Well, unless you are a Gates or a Buffet there is always a bigger fish, so get over it.

I am most humble at your vision of my tone… and your thoughts of my putting money at the top of the charts… I am not jealous of your position at all… Well now… if that don’t just take the bark of the tree… while on active duty, integrity and the honor of serving my country by far outweighed the money scale. as a civilian in the private sector my pay including benefits, vacations and bonuses equaled those of your judiciaries… and hours of service while on AD and as a civilian were exhausting to say the least, AD it was 24/7/365—as a civilian many weeks I struggled with over 100 hours… and yes, I enjoyed every minute of it, and never complained…. not once… NEVER…


I am all for your agenda to better care for our veterans. Remember this -- where do you think veterans claims end up? Before a federal judge.

1) U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
2) U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Services
(side note: my tone has not changed) this is where veterans claims end up at, and for months and months on end… truly scary… frightening might be a better word for it, and we have only seen the tip of the iceberg… from a distance at that…


Wouldn't you like the judge who hears those claims to have been selected from a huge pool of top quality applicants so that it is more likely that he or she knows what he or she is doing? Fair compensation for judges and members of the military and veterans are not mutually exclusive.

What I would like to see (knowing this is not even remotely possible) is these Federal Judges that serve the Veterans Claims… be judges with a history in the armed services, having served in combat, on multiple tours… and I will stop there, I think my point has been made…

.

hawk71049
08-03-2008, 10:43 AM
.
Sensible,
I found this while searching for unanswered questions that remain… does this make any
sense (http://www.judgesabovethelaw.com/)... hawk


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WHY THIS CASE MATTERS SO MUCH - TO SO MANY

Imagine one day you or someone you love, find yourself wrapped up in some unexpected litigation, whether civil or criminal. (Statistically speaking, everyone in America will, at some time in their life, be a party in a lawsuit.)

A little background.

Until three years ago,Michael Kathrein truly believed courtrooms were places where judges listened to the facts carefully and decided cases honestly.

Then he got the lesson of his life.

A judge in his case could, and did, cheat. Opposing counsels could, and did, cheat. And once they coordinated their cheating, no fact, law or procedure could save him. He was set up to lose.

When you think of a “corrupt” judge, you may think of one who trades rulings for cash. As far as we know, that obvious sort of corruption is rare. You must appreciate however, that corruption may take subtle but equally destructive forms.

Among other things, a dishonest judge can ignore evidence, twist rules and procedure, obstruct the record, retaliate, manufacture facts or ignore others, allow infirm claims or dismiss valid ones, deny admission of evidence prejudicial to the favored party, suborn perjury, mischaracterize pleadings, engage in ex parte communication and misapply the law.

When he or she does these things intentionally, (motivation is a separate issue) he commits a crime. Petty or grand, the acts are still crimes. It takes surprisingly little to “steer” a case.

After the American Revolution, our Constitution was conceived and adopted as the mechanical foundation of our government. For ordinary citizens, the independent grand jury was the only tool of salvation from judicial corruption. Without this critical tool of redress, American civil rights exist only at the will of a judge.

That tool (unfettered access to a grand jury) has been taken away.

Judges simply snatched it from us. They did it by enacting “judicial legislation,” i.e., by “ruling” that private citizens had no right of access to the grand jury. They took the grand jury from us and they gave it to themselves, and they use their "gatekeeping" power to protect themselves (from accountability) all the time.

Who decided, “What will be the law?” Judges did.

Who is supposed to decide, “What will be the law?” Congress is.

Right under Congress's nose, the entire judicial branch of our government placed itself out of reach. They eliminated all means to be held accountable to the public for their actions.

Judges are now, above the law.

Federal judges and federal prosecutors routinely block the access common citizens are supposed to have to the federal grand jury.

There is a logical but not legal, reason for this.

If you have ever seen someone hustled through the courthouse cattle chute, you will understand that “equity” and “justice” have little to do with the process. Judges can be determined to make things turn out the way they want them to and naturally, prosecutors are always determined to get convictions. In many ways, equity, justice, facts and law, interfere with the process.

Have you ever stopped to consider that public defenders (the poor man’s lawyer) don’t investigate anything? Public defenders do not have police or detective resources at their disposal…only prosecutors do. Your defense will rely almost entirely upon the evidence the prosecutor decides to “share” with your lawyer. If the prosecutor “forgets” or “loses” evidence that would help your case, or decides to ignore an important lead, he will win and you will lose.

That is not merely misbehavior, that is criminal behavior. The very last thing a prosecutor (or judge) wants is a properly operating, independent grand jury.

The ONLY recourse that remains now, against a corrupt judge, is to respectfully "request" that the judge evaluate himself for honesty.

What criminal wouldn’t desire the power to block an investigation of their own crime? It is hard to imagine a more fundamental or structural conflict of interest than that.

Human nature takes over.

To protect the sanctity of the judiciary, otherwise honest judges are driven to shield the misdeeds of their crooked brothers at the bar. Perfectly understandable human nature, yes... but when this behavior is at the expense of the public trust, it is utterly unpardonable. The courtroom is no place for situational ethics.

A judge who is honest 99% of the time is useless to the people. If this judge is your judge, his 1% of corruption equals your 100% of conviction. Your right to a fair trial does not go away just because nine out of ten people did get one. And your right to challenge a man for criminal behavior should not go away just because that man wears a black robe.

Justice cannot tolerate exceptions. Just like a cop, a priest, or a bank teller, if they cross the line once, they have to go. Dishonesty is extremely difficult to detect and prove. External, independent, unbiased inquiry is the only solution.

It wasn’t always like this.

Judges have taken control of the “right” to assert your guaranteed rights, i.e., they are no longer inalienable as guaranteed in the Constitution. You have them only when a judge feels like letting you have them. If he doesn’t, you don’t. There is nothing you can do.

Effectively, judges “dispense” our rights at their whim and pleasure with total impunity.

Unfortunately, ordinary citizens have no other means to enjoy or enforce their civil rights except through that same court system. What this means is that without a mechanism for remedy, (the court) you have no rights. If a judge refuses to order relief, then you don’t get any. Therefore, citizens have no choice but to (literally) pray to a judge for leave to assert their rights. Where their prayers are denied, their rights are denied.

This type of abuse is exactly why our forefathers granted ordinary citizens the right to access the Grand Jury directly. It is a centuries old system of checks and balances imported from England, installed in America to protect ordinary citizens against judicial tyranny.

Direct access to a grand jury is the victim’s path (us) around the victimizer’s (bad judges) roadblock.

In this Petition you will see a perfect example of justice thwarted by the very people (judges and the U.S. Attorney) who are supposed to ensure that justice is done.

Kathrein seeks to expose and eliminate this unfair Conflict of Interest.

Why did the Seventh Circuit try so hard to bury his case? Because to allow a common citizen direct access to the federal grand jury is to expose the judiciary's Achilles heel... accountability to the people.

Title 18 U. S. C. § 242 provides that judges are liable for criminal acts committed under “color of law” meaning that judges may be immune from prosecution for civil misbehavior, but they are NOT immune from prosecution for criminal behavior.

The only way to make a judge answer for criminal behavior is to bring criminal charges against him. The ultimate irony here is that the only way to bring criminal charges against a bad judge is to ask another judge for permission to pursue the bad judge. As noted above, that will never happen.

As long as the subjects of the investigation (judges) are the gatekeepers of the investigation, there will be no investigation. Therefore, judges have rendered Title 18 U. S. C. § 242 unenforceable.

If Kathrein cannot win this fight to bring evidence of judicial misbehavior directly to a grand jury, then all Americans who are victims of § 242 crimes are denied their civil rights. It will become forever impossible to get a complaint against a judge, past a judge.

This is why his complaint matters so much to so many... because you never know if the judge on your case is going to do his job.

If he decides to steer the proceedings against you, you will wrongly lose your property, your liberty and perhaps your life. You MUST have a way to protect yourself.

ReadRKathrein'slBooklet to understand how this barricade affects all of us...in ways you would never suspect.

Call your Congressman, TODAY...

Tell him, to tell the Supreme Court, to answer this question.
QUESTIONS PRESENTED TO THE SUPREME COURT


I. Does an American citizen have a Constitutional right to petition the federal grand jury to investigate crimes committed against him?
II. Does an American citizen have a statutory right to petition the federal grand jury to investigate crimes committed against him?
III. Do members of the executive or judicial branches of government have the authority to block access to the grand jury?

.

Sensible
08-03-2008, 03:42 PM
Here is the bottom line, Hawk. You and others on this board basically think 16 years of "raises" less than the amount of inflation are not enough. You want 32 years. Or 50 years. Given this never ending trend of de facto pay cuts, eventually the judges who have been entrusted with the authority to invalidate a law passed by Congress or order the arrest of a top executive in the federal government or invalidate a treaty or decide multibillion dollar cases will end up getting the same pay as a postal carrier. Then you will be happy.

bombsquadron6
08-05-2008, 07:50 AM
This morning someone uploaded hard core porn to this discussion. I was pretty shocked by it and wondered if this particular debate was being targeted. The Community Editor, the wonderful Miss Alice, removed it shortly after being notified. I thank her for that. I was also told that the same creep or creeps has done this to numerous others. I hope that any of you who saw the pictures will understand that we had nothing to do with it. Thanks again to Miss Alice who apparently has her work cut out for her keeping this whole board fit for polite society!

hawk71049
08-06-2008, 10:11 PM
.
26... Judge Defends Corrupt Mayor At Sentencing ( http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2008/jul/judge-defends-corrupt-mayor-sentencing)...

27... Thoughts on the Law Addressing Bad Federal Judges:Self-Policing Isn't Working, But Is There a Good Alternative? ( http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20040813.html)...

28...50-70% of All Mexican Federal Judges Corrupt Says U.N ( http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/mobile.html?view=article&article_id=104)...

29... American Legal System Is Corrupt Beyond Recognition, Judge Tells Harvard Law School (http://www.massnews.com/2003_Editions/3_March/030703_mn_american_legal_system_corrupt.shtml )...


30... Corrupt, Incompetent, and Unethical Judges JUDGE THOMAS JAMES (Federal Court)Judge Thomas James was paid and he accepted a bribe of $6,700 ( http://www.clr.org/corruptj.html)...

31... Corrupt judge Manuel L. Real ruled on Plaintiff's fraudulent claims that our founder's logo ( http://justiceusa.info/#pribich_v_real)...

32... see for yourself how Judge Walter Rice cares more for fellow lawyers than the law or the United States Constitution ( http://www.perjury.org/judgerice.html)...

33... Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan, of the United States District Court in Washington, D.C., has decided to make a whore out of justice, and to "fan the flames of the growing discord across this country against government corruption" ( http://www.vetsforjustice.com/JudgeHogan.htm)...

34... MOVES IMPEACHMENT OF JUDGE HANFORD; Berger Declares Oleson's Papers Were Annulled on a Frivolous Charge ( http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9B06E3D7103AE633A2575BC0A9609C946396D6CF&oref=slogin)...

35... Corrupt federal judge denies motion for extension not knowing what year the case was filed ( http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Misc/misc.legal/2008-02/msg00161.html)...

36... Federal Judge, Citing Indictment, Disses Milberg Weiss ( http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/03/16/federal-judge-citing-indictment-disses-milberg-weiss/)...

37... Judge Letitia Clark Corrupt bankruptcy Judge makes herself and Trustees Rich Houston Texas ( http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/250/RipOff0250722.htm)...

38... Money is neither problem nor solution of corrupt judges—morality is ( http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/32698)...

39... Corruption in U.S. federal courts includes forgery of judges' signatures, Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S., Obstruction of Correspondence, Obstruction of Proceedings, Intimidation etc ( http://justiceusa.info#pribich_v_real)...

40... Help is needed to challenge corrupt practices in the state of Arizona ( http://www.corruptarizonacourts.com/)...

41... Federal judge tosses out almost all of supermarket tycoon's claims against tribes ( http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096416287)...

42... Corrupt Judge Hunter in New Orleans Corrupt Court System ( http://creoleneworleans.typepad.com/creole_folks/2006/10/token_judge_hun.html)...

43... Alaska political corruption probe ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_political_corruption_probe)...

44... Corrupt IRS Officials Face Exposure In Dope Bust ( http://www.rense.com/politics6/exposure.htm)...

45... They have called in more than twenty judges on us, usually out of county, plus the seven federal judges who would not touch our federal Complaint. All of this is in the Ninth Circuit and the Oregon Supreme Court. We recused the Oregon Chief Justice two years ago, and he signs off "CJ Carson not participating"…How To Deal With A Bad Judge…"I can state with certainty that if you go against the status quo in Rhode Island and point out wrongdoing of the judiciary they will ruin your legal practice and make it impossible for you to win a case." …The United States Supreme Court recently acknowledged the judicial corruption in Cook County, when it stated that Judge "Maloney was one of many dishonest judges exposed and convicted ( http://www.caught.net/caught/recuse.htm)...

46... The Judicial Accountability Initiative Law, J.A.I.L., is a single-issue national grassroots organization designed to end the rampant and pervasive judicial corruption in the legal system of the United States. J.A.I.L. recognizes this can be achieved only through making the Judicial Branch of government answerable and accountable to an entity other than itself. At this time it isn't, resulting in the judiciary's arbitrary abuse of the doctrine of judicial immunity, leaving the People without recourse when their inherent rights are violated by judges ( http://www.jail4judges.org/)...

47... Judge Hughes, in his ruling, found that FDIC officials lied about the reasons for bringing the 1995 suit against Hurwitz.Hughes said FDIC officials and lawyers, in depositions, "ranged from manipulative evasiveness to plain perjury." He cited records of two years of communications, including extensive discussions of legal strategy and political matters, between the FDIC and environmentalists over the proposal to use a banking-practices lawsuit as pressure on Hurwitz to give up the redwoods ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/24/AR2005082402238.html)...

48... HEADLINE: CORRUPT UNIONS TO BE THE TARGET OF JUSTICE DEPT ( http://www.thelaborers.net/lexisnexis/articles/corrupt_unions_to_be_the_target.htm)...


49... Marilyn Petal (U.S. District Court, San Francisco). One of the most vicious of all the federal judges in the obstruction of justice tactics, Petal's enlarged on the prior judicial misconduct, again charging Stich with criminal contempt of court in 1990. Information provided to Stich by CIA sources indicated that Petal was deeply involved with CIA activities ( http://www.freewebs.com/corruptjudges/)...

50... Justices' Supporting Corruption in Government, and Judicial Obstruct of Justice Tactics ( http://www.defraudingamerica.com/letter_list_supreme_court.html)...
Eighteen years ago, Democratic Rep. John Conyers came to believe that Alcee Hastings, at the time a federal judge in Florida, was guilty of impeachable offenses (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZjhiODMwNDA0ZGEwMGI3ZGExOGFjYmIzNzQzZjhjYjc=).. .

51... The truth is unbelievable! ( http://www.perjury.org/)...

52... Fraud Of Federal Adjudication: Dirty Tricks Of The Trade ( http://www.amatterofjustice.org/amoj/flier.htm)...

53... Corrupt GOP Judge Gets Exposed in Paul Minor Case ( http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/7/7/163048/7776/350/547831)...


.

hawk71049
08-06-2008, 10:57 PM
.


The only domestic groups I know of that consistently abuse their positions are the mafia and Congress!
Sincerely and respectfully,
Sensible


Well, I don't of any Article III judges lining their pockets with unseen monies. If any are, they should be prosecuted.


With all respect, Hawk, all this talk of unseen monies is just that. These are mere allegations.

1... Judge gives sex-offenders lighter sentences, again (http://www.ktka.com/news/2008/jun/27/judge_gives_sexoffenders_lighter_sentences_again/)...

2... Wannabe Judge Attorney Writes About Ethical Dilemmas SHE Failed to Report... It was reported in The Westchester Guardian (“Carvel Niece Fights Westchester Judicial Machine”, May 17, 2007) that Manhattan attorney Eve Markewich had “itemized in a New York Law Journal article how many different violations of professional ethics and disciplinary rules the attorneys in the Westchester Carvel proceedings inflicted on Agnes Carvel. CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY ( http://exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com/2007/05/wannabe-judge-attorney-writes-about.html)...

3... Former NY State Chief Court Clerk Sues Judges in Federal Court... CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY (http://exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com/2007/06/former-ny-state-chief-court-clerk-sues.html)...

4... 3 Judges Covered Crony's 9/11 Donation Fraud…. CLICK HERE FOR STORY ( http://exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com/2007/09/3-judges-covered-pals-911-donation.html)...

5... Tuesday, May 29, 2007 Hope Against Court Corruption Has Arrived. Her Name is Ann T. Pfau. CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY ( http://exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com/2007/05/hope-against-corruption-in-our-courts.html)...

6... Concealing the Truth at the Attorney Ethics Committee... With no accountability, you get the brazen bedlam that is our New York court system. “Bring in the Feds.” New York needs the appointment of a federal monitor to oversee the affairs of the New York court system. CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY (http://exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com/2007/10/secreting-truth-at-attorney-ethics.html)...


7... NY Ethics Scandal Tied to International Espionage Scheme
Rumors had been Circulating Linking the NY Bar Scandal to International Corporate Espionage Ops Using Satellites More, CLICK HERE (http://exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com/2008/04/ny-ethics-scandal-tied-to-international.html )…

8... Brooke Astor Court Attorney Living in Dead Lady's Home - Surprise to Family Members... CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY ( http://exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com/2007/09/brooke-astor-court-attorney-living-in.html)...

9...How 80% of the Federal judges violate their sworn oath before GOD and before the people of the United States (http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/corrupt_employees/corrupt_employees/currupt_judges/judges_violate_their_oathes.htm)...

10...The names of less than 1% of the corrupt Federal judges that violate their oath, the laws and their sworn duty to the people of the United States depicting exactly what each one did (http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/corrupt_employees/corrupt_employees/currupt_judges/federal_judges_names.htm)...

11...A federal judge has only "one agenda," to uphold their oathes, "Sworn to God" (http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/corrupt_employees/corrupt_employees/currupt_judges/a_fed_judge_has-1agenda.htm)...

12... Richard A. Lazzara; District Federal judge, Tampa, Florida and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds ( http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/rigged_convictions/james_t_kimball.htm#Lazzara
)...

13... J. L. Edmondson; Chief Judge, 11 th Circuit Court of Appeals, Atlanta, Georgia and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds ( http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/rigged_convictions/james_t_kimball.htm#Edmundson)...

14... Judge Carnes; Judge on the 11 th Circuit Court of Appeals, Atlanta, Georgia and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds ( http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/rigged_convictions/james_t_kimball.htm#Carnes)...

15... Charles A. Wilson; 11 th Circuit Appellate Court judge, Atlanta, Georgia/Tampa, Florida and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds (http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/corrupt_employees/corrupt_employees/currupt_judges/federal_judges_names/charles_a_wilson.htm)...

16... James D. Todd; Chief District Federal Judge, Jackson, Tennessee and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds (http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/rigged_convictions/robert_d_treadway.htm#Todd)...

17... Judge Moore; Federal appellate court judge for the 6 th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds ( http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/rigged_convictions/robert_d_treadway.htm#Moore)...

18...Judge Clay; Federal appellate court judge for the 6 th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds ( http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/rigged_convictions/robert_d_treadway.htm#Moore)...

19... David M. Lawson; District Court judge for the Eastern Michigan District Court system and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds (http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/rigged_convictions/robert_d_treadway.htm#Moore)...

20...Ruben Castillo of Chicago, Illinois is a Federal judge for the Northern District of Illinois and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds (http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/corrupt_employees/corrupt_employees/currupt_judges/federal_judges_names/ruben_castillo.htm)...

21...William K. Sessions, III of Cornwall, Vermont is Chief Federal District Court Judge for Vermont and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds (http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/corrupt_employees/corrupt_employees/currupt_judges/federal_judges_names/williamksessions.htm)...

22...Ricardo H. Hinojosa of McAllen, Texas. Is a Federal District Court judge for the Southern District of Texas and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds (http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/corrupt_employees/corrupt_employees/currupt_judges/federal_judges_names/ricardohhinojosa.htm)...

23...Rudi M. Brewster of California. Is a Federal District Judge for the Southern District of California and a sampling of his corrupt evil deeds (http://www.discoveryexperimental.com/corrupt_employees/corrupt_employees/currupt_judges/federal_judges_names/rudi_m_brewster.htm)...

24... Someone actually screwed up and appointed an honest Federal Judge! Being one of the thousands of Veterans that had their VA Claim File illegally destroyed by VA Attorneys, many times, and having gone to the Courts, many times, in my quest for justice, I KNOW just how dishonest, and rotten America's Court System really is. ( http://www.vetsforjustice.com/)...

25... Our Congress Doesn't Work Because Our Courts and Judges Are OUT OF CONTROL We Need A Congressman Who Will: Clean Up Our Corrupt Courts, Impeach Our Corrupt Judges, and Protect Our Rights The A B C's of Why Congress Doesn't Work by Michael H. Brown ( http://home.earthlink.net/~dlaw70/campaign.html)...

.

hawk71049
08-06-2008, 10:58 PM
.

Here is the bottom line, Hawk.

uh huh.. those famous last words…the bottom line…

Gates' bottom line: They'd done nothing wrong. They'd made no mistakes. In the end, they'd be exonerated: "Every action that's been attacked in this case was Microsoft working on behalf of consumers." In a word, everything at Microsoft was A-OK. ( http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.11/microsoft.html?pg=45&topic=&topic_set=)...


You and others on this board basically think 16 years of "raises" less than the amount of inflation are not enough.

A judge who is honest 99% of the time is useless to the people. If this judge is your judge, his 1% of corruption equals your 100% of conviction. Your right to a fair trial does not go away just because nine out of ten people did get one. And your right to challenge a man for criminal behavior should not go away just because that man wears a black robe (http://www.judgesabovethelaw.com/)...


You want 32 years. Or 50 years.

Now you ask what I want… ok, this is what I want… I want those students (reference your post #59) who are judicial clerks that are foregoing major bucks just to serve a year in a clerkship who clerk for these people, to know that beyond a shadow of doubt that should they ever have an opportunity to serve as judiciaries that the Constitution, and its amendments, are followed to the letter of the law, as written, and will still be followed, in tact upon their passing the bar and their assignment to these honorable positions.


Given this never ending trend of de facto pay cuts, eventually the judges who have been entrusted with the authority to invalidate a law passed by Congress

And have been entrusted to uphold the laws of the land…


or order the arrest of a top executive in the federal government or invalidate a treaty or decide multibillion dollar cases will end up getting the same pay as a postal carrier.

Just what makes a judiciary or top executive in the federal government any better than you or I? Should they not be held to the same standards, or even higher, than you or I? Should they not be held accountable or fall under the same laws? When we allow the standard to slip, we have in effect set a new standard! Where does it stop? It don’t!... we have… what we see today. Corruption throughout the judiciary…. There must be checks and balances! If the judiciaries can’t police their own, bring in Federal Monitors, and yes they too should be monitored or checked!


Then you will be happy.

You ask what makes me happy… I’ll tell ya… it’s the rescue of an injured Red Tail Hawk… and her training me… it’s getting up in the morning on a crisp fall day and putting her to wing… the mighty Red Tail Hawk, not as a pet… but as a full wild species of the bird of prey… in her natural state and glory. Knowing that she could take to the wind at any moment, any day… but yet she returns in all her statute… to fly yet again… me being a part of her… if even only for a short spell… as she is the order of things… THAT my friend makes me happy, and what makes me even happier is hacking her back into the wild… as she turns, to look back… she knows this is her day, without me… yet with me... what she has been working towards… both know justice has been served... knowing that she is better having know me… and me her.

Now, let me tell you what I think makes folks unhappy, which is probably our & hopefully your concern, as well… reference my post #60… of the 250,000 people in 2003… ask the nation how THEY feel… How many will commit a crime again? How many had or faced a corrupt attorney or judge? How many were properly represented? How many killed?~ Raped?~ Robbed?~ How many got away scot free… due to a corrupt attorney or judge… of the 250,000 thousand~

1. 98.3% or 245,750 people ended up plea bargaining their day in court…because they had an excellent attorney…
2. 1.07% or 2,674 people that stood trial by jury…
3. .613% or 1,532 people that stood bench trial…

Now are you happy? ...hawk

side note: the following two post are a few of alleged injustices i have encountered thus far...

.

hawk71049
08-06-2008, 11:25 PM
Page 3


The branch of government that is endowed with the authority to interpret and apply the law, adjudicate legal disputes, and otherwise administer justice. ( http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/judiciaries)...

Special Courts Not all lawsuits begin in an ordinary court. Both the state and federal governments have established Special Courts that are expressly designated to hear specific types of cases. For example, at the federal level, the U.S. Court of International Trade handles cases involving foreign business dealings, and the U.S. Tax Court handles disputes between taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Examples at the state level include special courts that hear cases involving juveniles (i.e., juvenile court) or cases involving domestic issues (i.e., family courts). Specialized courts have also been created to hear appeals. For example, the Court of Military Appeals was established in 1950 to review Court-Martial decisions.

Alternative Dispute Resolution and Administrative Agencies In certain areas of law, litigants are prohibited from beginning a lawsuit in an ordinary trial court unless they first exhaust other methods of dispute resolution through an administrative body. Since the mid-1930s, state and federal governments have created elaborate administrative systems to dispose of certain legal claims before a lawsuit may ever be filed. For example, at the federal level, administrative agencies have been created to oversee a number of disputes involving LABOR LAW, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, ANTITRUST LAW, employment discrimination, Securities transactions, and national transportation.

Administrative agencies are created by statute, and legislatures may prescribe the qualifications for administrative officials, including ADMINISTRATIVE LAW judges, who are appointed by the executive branch; courts of law; and heads of government departments. These agencies are charged with the responsibility of establishing, developing, evaluating, and applying policy over a given area of law. The body of rules, principles, and regulations promulgated by such agencies and their officials is known as administrative law.

Laws created by state and federal administrative bodies, including adjudicative bodies, are considered no less authoritative than laws enacted by legislatures, decreed by the executive branch, or issued by the judiciary. However, litigants who first exhaust their administrative remedies through the appropriate agency and are dissatisfied with a decision rendered by an administrative law judge, may appeal the decision to an ordinary court of law.

State and federal governments have passed formal rules that set forth the procedures that administrative bodies must follow. The rules governing federal administrative adjudication are provided in the
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C.A. § 551 et seq. [1988]).

Further readings

Kozlowski, Mark, and Anthony Lewis. 2003. The Myth of the Imperial Judiciary: Why the Right is Wrong About the Courts. New York: New York Univ. Press.
MacDowell, Douglas M. 1978. The Law in Classical Athens. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press.

.

hawk71049
08-06-2008, 11:49 PM
Page 2


The branch of government that is endowed with the authority to interpret and apply the law, adjudicate legal disputes, and otherwise administer justice. ( http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/judiciaries)...

Cross-references

American Bar Association; Code of Judicial Conduct; Elections; Term Limits.

among its members. Many early societies chose a private system of revenge for dispute resolution. As civilization gradually evolved, and the system of revenge was perceived as counterproductive to society, communities began designating individuals to resolve disputes in accordance with established norms and customs. These individuals were usually leaders who were expected to exercise their judgment in an impartial manner.

The origins of judicial action, judicial power, and judicial process may be traced to the first communities that relied on neutral third parties to resolve legal disputes. Judicial action is any action taken by a court or other judicial body to interpret, apply, or declare what the law is on a particular issue during a legal proceeding. It is also the action taken by a judicial body to settle a legal dispute by issuing an opinion, order, decree, or judgment. Judicial power is the authority of a court to hear a particular lawsuit or legal dispute, and take judicial action with regard to it. Judicial process is the procedures by which a court takes judicial action or exercises its judicial power.

Ancient Greece, one of the earliest known societies in Western civilization, employed a combination of judicial procedures. Greek rulers, known as arkhons, were empowered to hear a variety of disputes, as was the agora, a group of respected elders in the community. A court known as the Areopagus heard murder cases, and direct retaliation by private citizens was still permitted in many civil disputes. The judicial powers of these institutions were gradually replaced by the Ekklesia, an assembly of six thousand jurors that was divided into smaller panels to hear particular cases.

Juries played an integral role in the development of the English judicial system. As more legal disputes were submitted to juries for resolution, this system became more self-conscious. Concerns were expressed that both judges and juries were rendering biased decisions based on irrelevant and untrustworthy evidence. Litigants complained that trial procedures were haphazard, Arbitrary, and unfair. Losing parties sought effective remedies to redress erroneous decisions made at the trial court level. Each of these concerns has manifested itself in the modern judicial system of the United States.

The blueprints for the U.S. judiciary were laid out in 1789. During that year the U.S. Constitution was formally adopted by the states. Article III of the Constitution delineates the general structure of the federal judicial system, including the powers and obligations of federal courts. The Judiciary Act of 1789 (1 Stat. 73 [codified as amended in 28 U.S.C.A.]) fleshes out many details of federal judicial power that were not addressed by the Constitution. The blueprints for the state judicial systems were created similarly by state constitutional and statutory provisions.

The U.S. judicial system has three principal characteristics: it is part of a federalist system of government, it has a specific role under the federal SEPARATION-OF-POWERS doctrine, and it is organized in a hierarchical fashion.

Federalism

The judiciary is part of a federalist system in which the state and federal governments share authority over legal matters arising within their geographic boundaries. In some instances both state and federal courts have the power to hear a legal dispute that arises from a single set of circumstances. For example, four Los Angeles police officers who were accused of participating in the 1991 beating of speeding motorist Rodney G. King faced prosecution for excessive use of force in both state and federal court. In other instances a state or federal court has exclusive jurisdiction over a particular legal matter. For example, state courts typically have exclusive jurisdiction over matrimonial law, and federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over Bankruptcy law.
Separation of Powers

Under the separation-of-powers doctrine, the judiciary shares power with the executive and legislative branches of government at both the state and federal levels. The judiciary is delegated the duty of interpreting and applying the laws that are passed by the legislature and enforced by the Executive Branch.

Article I of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress its lawmaking power, and Article II authorizes the president to sign and Veto legislation and to execute laws that are enacted. Article III grants the federal judiciary the power to adjudicate, among other things, lawsuits that arise under the Constitution, congressional law, and treaties with foreign countries.

Federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, are not elected to office. Instead, they are appointed to office by the president of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate. Once appointed, federal judges hold office for life, unless they resign or are impeached for "Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors" (U.S. Const. art. II, § 4).

The lifetime appointment of federal judges is controversial. On one hand, the federal judiciary runs the risk of growing out of touch with popular sentiment because it is being immunized from the electorate. On the other hand, it is considered necessary for the judiciary to remain independent of popular will so that judges will decide cases according to legal principles, not political considerations.

In many states judges are elected to office. Nonetheless, each state constitution similarly delegates powers among the three branches of government. Accordingly, judges are still expected to decide cases based on the law, not the political considerations that the executive and legislative branches may take into account in executing their duties.

Hierarchy

The U.S. judiciary is a hierarchical system of trial and appellate courts at both the state and federal levels. In general, a lawsuit is originally filed with a trial court that hears the suit and determines its merits. Parties aggrieved by a final judgment have the right to appeal the decision. They do so by asking an appellate court to review the decision of a trial court.

The structure of state court systems varies by state, but four levels generally can be identified: minor courts, major trial courts, intermediate appellate courts, and state supreme courts. Minor courts handle the least serious cases. For example, municipal courts handle city ordinance violations, such as speeding tickets and parking violations. Cases that involve state constitutional issues, state statutes, and Common Law are dealt with by major trial courts. For example, felony cases, such as murder or rape, would be handled in a major trial court. Trial courts are called by different names in different states. For example, in Pennsylvania they are called courts of Common Pleas.

Intermediate appellate courts, called courts of appeals, review cases that have been decided by trial courts. They do not hear new evidence; they decide whether the lower court (the trial court) correctly applied the law in the case. State supreme courts review cases that deal with state law. The decision of the court is final since the state supreme court is the ultimate arbiter of state laws and the state constitution. Supreme courts are called by various names depending on the state. For example, West Virginia calls its state supreme court the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Federal cases, including civil and criminal, are handled by federal district courts. There are 94 district courts, with at least one in each state, as well as a district court for the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The number of judgeships appointed to each district is laid out in Title 28, Section 133 of the U.S. Code, which is a compilation of the permanent laws of the United States.

The 94 districts are divided into 12 regional circuits. Each of these circuits has a U.S. court of appeals, also called a circuit court. U.S. courts of appeals were created by the Evarts Act of 1891 (28 U.S.C.A. § 43); the central location of each court is determined by statute (28 U.S.C.A. § 41 [1995]). Each federal appellate court has jurisdiction over a certain geographic area, and may hear appeals only from federal district courts within that jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, however, has nationwide jurisdiction to handle certain kinds of cases, including patent cases and those that involve trade with other countries.

The Supreme Court is the nation's highest appellate court. It is sometimes called the "court of last resort" because once the Court reviews a case, and renders a final judgment, further appeals cannot be made.

The nine justices who sit on the Supreme Court review cases that begin at either the federal or state level.

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hawk71049
08-07-2008, 12:03 AM
Page 1


The branch of government that is endowed with the authority to interpret and apply the law, adjudicate legal disputes, and otherwise administer justice. ( http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/judiciaries)...

The U.S. judiciary comprises a system of state and federal courts, tribunals, and administrative bodies, as well as the judges and other judicial officials who preside over them.

Every society in human history has confronted the question of how to resolve disputes

The Politicizing of American Jurisprudence

An old saying goes, "A judge is a lawyer who knew a governor (or senator or president)." The inference is unavoidable: judges are political creatures. From many of the nation's law professors to leading members of its foremost bar association, some legal experts think this assertion is regrettably all too true.

Only federal judges and a handful of state judges are appointed for life, barring Impeachment. In all other states and in local governments, most judges are elected by popular vote for a specific term. Voters tend to elect persons who share their views. The same is true for most gubernatorial appointments, although in many states this tendency is tempered by senatorial confirmation. Inescapably, the development of platforms that represent the most popular, prevailing, or promising views is a political process.

In the words of John Adams's Massachusetts constitution, it has always been the desire to make judges "as free, impartial and independent as the lot of humanity will admit." In a political system where party politics are defined by social issues and where Jurisprudence affects those issues, however, party alignment of judges seems inevitable, either by default or by declaration. The extent is arguable, but few would deny that judges assume the bench based on how others perceive they will run the court: conservatively or liberally.

Ostensible checks and balances exist, of course. All judges are expected to follow ethical standards requiring disinterested and unbiased opinions, which most do. Most states have a Code of Judicial Conduct and/or ethics for this purpose, generally fashioned from that of the American Bar Association (ABA). These codes proscribe many instances of campaign conduct for prospective and current judges. Judges cannot personally solicit or accept campaign funds and often are prohibited from identifying themselves with any political party. Typically, they must run on a non-partisan ticket.

But nothing prevents POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES (PACs) from making campaign contributions to judges. Some scoff at the imposition of limits. "If PACs are limited, people go out and create more PACs," explained Dick Wilcox, president of the Business and Industry Political Education Committee in Mississippi. "If wealthy individuals are restricted, they give money to their secretaries, wives, or children to contribute." Contributions add up: Michigan spent $16 million on judicial elections in 2000 alone. In Georgia in 2002, races for two Supreme Court seats garnered more than $700,000.

Electing judges, however, is unnecessary. As an alternative, some point to the pioneering Missouri system. Under this system a governor appoints all state trial and appellate judges with the advice and consent of the legislature. :( Still another variation seeks to further depoliticize such choices by requiring a governor to select among nominees submitted by a selection panel or special nominating committee.

Support for reform is growing. In Michigan, Senator Ken Sikkema introduced a bill in 2001 for a Constitutional amendment allowing the governor to appoint justices to a single 14-year term, an idea favored by state supreme court justice Elizabeth Weaver. :rolleyes: More dramatically, the ABA has called for a sweeping overhaul of the current state system. In 2003, the ABA Commission on the 21st Century Judiciary warned that partisanship over the courts was escalating to crisis levels. Among 23 recommendations, the commission called for limiting judges to service of either one long term or until a specific age, without eligibility for retention or reelection. :D Such limits are needed to "inoculate America's courts against the toxic effects of money, partisanship and narrow interests," the commission declared. (Justice at Stake Campaign. "ABA

Commission Warns: State Court Systems at Risk." March 2003.)

Advocates of reform say it may cure other ills and weaknesses, too. Reform might eliminate so-called "negative campaigning." Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Maura Corrigan believes negative campaigns create perceptions among voters that justices are "bought" by special interests. Moreover, judges may lose independence out of fear that certain opinions will be used against them in negative campaign ads.

Another blemish that might be cured is that of real or perceived lawyer Lobbying. For years, attorneys—particularly plaintiffs' lawyers—have outspent the largest oil and automotive companies in judicial campaign contributions. The ABA has spoken out sharply against attorneys contributing to campaigns of judges before whom they do frequent business or from whom they wish to gain court-appointed business.:D :D Yet just like other campaign contributors, attorneys are exercising their speech rights under the First Amendment:( .

Concerns about politicization of the judiciary soared during the unusual 2000 presidential election. When Florida circuit judge Nikki Ann Clark, an African American and a Democrat, was assigned one of the election cases seeking to invalidate as many as 15,000 absentee ballots from Florida's Seminole County, candidate GEORGE W. BUSH's attorneys requested that she Recuse herself from the case. Just weeks before, Bush's brother, Republican Florida governor Jeb Bush, had bypassed her for a state appellate court vacancy. She refused to recuse herself, issuing a decision unfavorable to Bush and favorable to Florida's African–American voters. After her decision was upheld by both the appellate court and the Florida Supreme Court, critics complained that their justices had been appointed by Democratic governors.:D

Both sides, in fact, found much to complain about. After a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Florida Supreme Court and halted the manual recount of votes (Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 121 S.Ct. 525, 148 L.Ed.2d 388 ), critics of the decision scathingly denounced it as politically motivated. In fact, 524 U.S. law professors at 120 American law schools took out an ad in The New York Timescriticizing the majority for "acting as political proponents for candidate Bush, not as judges." (People for the American Way Foundation. "524 Law Professors Say" 2001.) Other critics seized upon an alleged remark by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, reported in the January 1, 2001, issue of Newsweek. "This is terrible," Justice O'Connor is supposed to have said upon learning that Gore was ahead. Only a Bush victory would have allowed her to retire knowing that a conservative replacement would be found for her on the Court.

Further readings

"ABA Commission Warns: State Court Systems at Risk." 2003. Justice at Stake Campaign. (March). Available online at <www.justiceatstake.org/contentViewer.asp?breadcrumb=3,358> (accessed July 15, 2003).

"Bush v. Gore and the Conservatives: Gary Rosen & Critics." 2003. Commentary 113 (March).
Ezzard, Martha. 2002. "Money Can't Buy Judicial Elections Yet." The Atlanta Journal and Constitution (August 18): G3.

Law Professors for the Rule of Law. 2001. "524 Law Professors Say by Stopping the Vote Count in Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court Used Its Power to Act as Political Partisans, Not Judges of a Court of Law." Advertisement. Available online at <www.the-rule-of-law.com/archive/supreme/viewad.html> (accessed July 15, 2003).

These cases usually focus on important issues involving the U.S. Constitution and federal law. [U]The Supreme Court receives its authority from Article III, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution, which states that "[t]he judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish."

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bombsquadron6
08-09-2008, 11:06 PM
The Friday edition of the Wall Street Journal (08/08/08) features an article by Nathan Koppel entitled "For 'Maverick' Federal Judges, Life Tenure Is Largely Unfettered License." It addresses some of the issues that have been discussed and debated on this blog. The article can be viewed by going to this link:
http://www.knowyourcourts.com/FedJD/docs/2008-08-08_lifeTenure-isLargelyUnfetteredLicense.pdf

It is worth noting that of 2,108 complaints filed against federal judges from 2005-2007 only 36 were found to be valid resulting in "corrective action" against the judge. Since complaints are filed with the coresponding Circuit Court's "Judicial Council," made up of judges who likely know, and may even be friends with, the judge being complained about, is it any wonder so few are ever found to have merit. These judges protect their comrades at the expense of justice. In our case, they were shameless about it. Obviously, the problem needs to be addressed and pretending that it doesn't exist merely allows federal judges to continue to deny honest citizens justice. Giving them a pay raise is the last thing we should do.

Sensible
08-10-2008, 08:10 PM
I was wrong about the letter carrier. Gee. Lets keep cutting their pay till we get to the level of a fry cook at McDonald's. Boy that will accomplish a whole lot.

If I had the time, I could come up with opinion writings setting forth all kinds of innuendo about everyone who works in every occupation. Remember, these judges are in a unique position. When there is a trial, 50% of everyone who appears before them loses. Thus, there are likely thousands and thousands of sore losers around America. The highly emotional sound of some of the writers on this board clearly reflects that. Put simply, there are obviously alot of people with axes to grind.

Bombsquadron6, please post the judge's decision, and without any editorials. Then, let the reader decide if it had no basis after they read what the judge in your case had to say.

Sensible
08-10-2008, 10:27 PM
I might add, Bombsquadron6, that the spin you place on the statistics you cite is striking. How do you know that more than 36 of the 2100+ complaints had any basis? Of course you don't. The reality is probably many of the complainants were disgruntled because they lost their case in court.

Your argument assumes that judges stick together like NYPD's supposed blue wall of silence. You have no basis for making this assertion. After all, a judge is only an attorney empowered by the government to hear and decide cases. Intuitively, you should know that there is no reason for these judges to conspire to cover up for each other. To do so would be a crime. Why would a life time appointee risk impeachment for another judge? Why do you assume they would not do the right thing? Also, remember many of these judges have vastly different political alliances (depending on the party that was in power when they received their appointments). Are you a conspiracy theorist? You arguments sound like the things one hears from the mouthpiece of a political campaign: spin, spin and then more spin.

bombsquadron6
08-11-2008, 04:22 AM
Sensible;
The judges' orders, as well as many of our filings from both district court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals have been available to you and everyone else who reads this debate. I am surprised you never bothered to look at any of them. They are available for your review at http://utahtransitworker.org/id11.html They are on the same website as the judicial misconduct complaints and are easily found in "The Lawsuit" section. Did you read any of it?

If you want any more of the filings I am sure that you have access to PACER and I suspect you can get them for free. If not, I can post any of the filings that are not online. They are all PDF's from the courts. The filings from the transit district are not on our website but I will provide those as well if you want. For the record, the transit district spent a fortune on this case, all public money, of course. The transit district even hired "K" Street (Washington, D.C.) attorneys, in addition to very expensive local attorneys.

You are right, though. There are many, many people in this country who have an axe to grind with the judiciary. But you state that they are only sore because they lost. Nonsense. They are angry because they were not on a level playing field and they knew it. It may come as a surprise to you but those of us who do not have advanced degrees or work in high paying fields are not stupid. We know when the deck is stacked against us.

Because so few attorneys are willing to torpedo their careers by going after corrupt judges there is little that average Americans can do when they find themselves in this situation. You suggested in an earlier post that if I had evidence of corruption I should seek to have the judge/judges prosecuted. And who exactly is going to do that? Can I demand an independent grand jury? Not likely. For more info on grand juries and their intended purpose go back to Hawk's post #61.

The district court judge in our case never ruled on the merits of our case. Because our case was so strong he shut it down procedurally. Of course, this meant denying us all ability to present our evidence, denying us a jury trial which we had requested, denying our request for an injunction and then refusing to sign the order so we couldn't appeal (he thought) and ignoring clear case law precedent. The judge, as well as the opposing counsel, ignored all the modern labor law cases that hold that the workers and not companies or existing unions get to pick the union representative. They all used cases that were, in some instances, fifty or more years old, to argue that the workers do not have the right to select their representatives. They simply ignored very recent case law that our attorney cited to which supported us. They also ignored a very well established labor law test that is used to determine appropriate bargaining units. The judge refused to apply it. All of this is in the complaints, Sensible.

At one of the hearings (there were three) the judge tried to rule on our claims against the U.S. Dept. of Labor before our attorney had even received the response brief from the Labor Dept. attorney. The Labor Dept. attorney was clearly quite disturbed by this and actually had to tell the judge that it would be unfair to us to rule on the issues when we hadn't even read his response. The judge reluctantly backed down.

During the third and final hearing, on the request for summary judgment by the company and union, the district court judge conspired with the attorneys for the transit district and the union right in front of us. He actually had the audacity to ask the attorneys to give him additional grounds to rule against us. He said he wanted a "belt and suspenders." We sat there in stunned disbelief. After this hearing, our attorney, who did an incredible job on this case, knew that the judge was never going to rule for us no matter how strong the law was in our favor. So he told me that he was going to file an amended complaint which is permitted. By this time there had been developments that strengthened our case and we incorporated them into the amended complaint. His intent was to smoke out the judge and determine if he was ethical or not. He explained to me that an ethical judge would consider the amended complaint and rule on it. However, our attorney was sure that the judge would rule against us and grant summary judgment as soon as we filed the amended complaint. (This would allow us to appeal to the circuit court.) Our attorney believed the judge would pretend he did not see the amended complaint. Our attorney was living in Flagstaff, AZ at the time and I was down there while he prepared the amended complaint. (I live in Salt Lake where the case was filed.) It was on a Sunday and he instructed me to go back to Salt Lake and file the amended complaint before midnight so that the filing date would be that Sunday. (There was a 24 hour filing box outside the court that stamps the filings with the time and date.) I was told that it was extremely important that the filing show a Sunday filing date rather than Monday. I got back to Salt Lake (a distance of 525 miles) at about 11:30 that night and called the other named plaintiff on the case, Mike Carper, and told him that our attorney had insisted that the amended complaint had to be filed before midnight. I drove by Mike's house to get him and we drove up to the courthouse. We filed it at 11:48 p.m. Sunday night. It was docketed at 9:17 a.m. Monday morning and the judge granted summary judgment, closing the case, at 2:13 p.m. Monday afternoon, less than five hours after he received it, just as our attorney had predicted he would. The decision was identical to a draft he had passed out at the last hearing. It did not even address issues raised at that hearing. We waited one week, in case the judge decided to do the ethical thing and rule on the amended complaint, which he didn't, and filed an appeal. The attorneys for the transit district and the union went nuts.

The appeal was filed and accepted by the Tenth Circuit. At the hearing in Denver, all of the attorneys for the defendants; the company, the union and the U.S. Dept. of Labor, argued that the district court judge had not seen the amended complaint. One of the judges on the panel, a district court judge from Oklahoma, who was invited to be on the panel although she is not a circuit court judge, yelled at our attorney because he had demonstrated that the district court judge was biased. She was not even interested in the labor law aspects of the case. Her only agenda, it appeared, was to protect the district court judge. To make a long story short, rather than remand the case back to district court and order the judge to rule on the amended complaint the Tenth Circuit ruled that the district court judge had acted properly. Of course, to uphold the decision, the panel had to alter critical facts of the case and ignore the law. We filed a request for an en banc rehearing but no judge on the Tenth Circuit voted to rehear it. They were O.K. with the decision. So was the U.S. Supreme Court. This is what happens to average Americans when they challenge the powerful and politically well connected. But federal judges don't protect one another? We have a difference of opinion on that one.

It seems your only agenda is to protect the elite. Why is it that during a time of war, Congress will pass a pay raise for the military that does not even keep up with inflation but sponsor a pay raise of more than 30%for judges? I have not advocated that judges earn McDonald's raises but I see no reason why a judiciary that refuses to reform itself should get a pay raise ten times that of the military. Moreover, I have to question why this is more of a priority than doing what Hawk suggests and improve health care for veterans. Over the last five years only the top 1% of Americans have kept ahead of inflation and the proposed judicial pay raise appears to be rewarding a judiciary that protects this 1%, often to the detriment of the other 99%. There is no reason to widen the salary gap between the average American and the judiciary. They should receive a pay raise percentage no larger than the military receives. In fact, they are clearly less deserving and thus should be grateful for that much of a raise.

Finally, why is it that members of Congress demand accountability from the military and have effectively convicted Marines, without a trial, for alleged actions in Iraq (only to have the charges later proved untrue), but will do nothing to reign in the judiciary? Is it because corporate America controls Congress and is quite happy with the judiciary? Major brokerage firms were bailed out by Congress very quickly, with the government potentially on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars. But adequate pay for the military and adequate health care for disabled veterans? Well no, we can't afford that. But $50 billion for health care in Africa over the next five years? That we can do. Of course, that will help open Africa up to major corporations.

Taking back America begins with taking back the courts. Granting a large pay raise for the judiciary without demanding any accountability will only harm us. None of your posts counter that.

bombsquadron6
08-11-2008, 04:29 AM
Sensible;
Before I even had a chance to finish the previous post, you posted another rant about the stats that appeared in the Wall Street Journal article (Friday edition) which I cited to in my last post. Excuse me, but those figures came from the article. The WSJ is not exactly a left wing, rabble rousing rag, you know.

You don't find it questionable that of 2108 complaints filed against judges in a two year period, only 36 were found to have merit? My complaints were among the 2072 (minus the 21 that were withdrawn) complaints that were dismissed for lack of merit.
http://www.knowyourcourts.com/FedJD/docs/2008-08-08_lifeTenure-isLargelyUnfetteredLicense.pdf

Sensible
08-11-2008, 12:55 PM
Bombsquadron6's allegation: "But you state that they are only sore because they lost. Nonsense."

Reply: how would you know that? Have you taken a survey of the hundreds of thousands of people in this country who lose lawsuits every year?

You earlier said that your agenda was to advance the interests of working folks. Hawk's agenda was to promote veteran's rights. In this context of this thread, a person would have to blind to see that this is not true at all. Both of you have an agenda to screw the judges. Due to a deep seated animus against judges arising as a result of losing a lawsuit, you take a partisian, one eyed view of the matter and want to punish the judges no matter what. You make universal statements that are not based on logic or common reason but on your world view. From statements made by Hawk, he as well as a deep animosity towards judges. I would bet that a probe of his background would likely yield a similar highly personal reason for disliking judges as your posts clearly show. Like I said earlier, its easy to hate judges becomes someone has to win, and someone has to lose. As a result there are hundreds of thousands of persons in our society who have lost lawsuits and thus, naturally, would likely have an axe to grind against judges. You are a prime example of one.

















[

hawk71049
08-12-2008, 06:32 PM
.

Bombsquadron6's allegation: "But you state that they are only sore because they lost. Nonsense."

You take text out of post to fit your quest… the above text, you have quoted, is your own assumption, and not that of bombsquadron6, see below…

You are right, though. There are many, many people in this country who have an axe to grind with the judiciary. But you state that they are only sore because they lost. Nonsense. They are angry because they were not on a level playing field and they knew it. It may come as a surprise to you but those of us who do not have advanced degrees or work in high paying fields are not stupid. We know when the deck is stacked against us.

So then, the question you have presented bombsquadron6, should then be answered by yourself… and why would you limit the survey to those that have lost… lawsuits? If one wants to understand… (the many, many people in this country, as you put it) how the general public feels about the justice system, in receiving justice… as assured by the constitution, in that it… being fair, and judged by… honest Judiciaries… why not ask just that? Why, would one even consider those that might, have an “axe to grind” as you have so put it.


Reply: how would you know that? Have you taken a survey of the hundreds of thousands of people in this country who lose lawsuits every year?
How would you know that, have you then taken a survey of the losers?


You earlier said that your agenda was to advance the interests of working folks. Hawk's agenda was to promote veteran's rights. In this context of this thread, a person would have to blind to see that this is not true at all. Both of you have an agenda to screw the judges. Due to a deep seated animus against judges arising as a result of losing a lawsuit, you take a partisian, one eyed view of the matter and want to punish the judges no matter what. You make universal statements that are not based on logic or common reason but on your world view. From statements made by Hawk, he as well as a deep animosity towards judges.

Before entering this forum, and this thread… I had no idea as to the wide spread injustice due to corruption in the courts and within the judiciary. If my view as presented appears focused on screwing justices, I humbly apologize, for that truly was not my intent, or objective. My post #65 & 66 was to simply present all that I had discovered regarding corruption within the justice system, through my research on the internet. I am sure a lot of those that presented their cases were due to losing their cases, and in losing their cases it would appear to me there were underlying causes as to their loss. Sensible, I have a deep animosity towards injustice, not at all towards the Judges, only those that are corrupt.


I would bet that a probe of his background would likely yield a similar highly personal reason for disliking judges as your posts clearly show. Like I said earlier, its easy to hate judges becomes someone has to win, and someone has to lose. As a result there are hundreds of thousands of persons in our society who have lost lawsuits and thus, naturally, would likely have an axe to grind against judges. You are a prime example of one.

This is one bet and probe you would lose… Sensible, unless you were one to present my background to one of those judged as presented on my post #65 & 66. I am sure something could be dug up in my past that would fit you premise.

My “axe to grind” as you have put it… is with fair play, justice for all, fair and balanced, period. I will respond to your other ASSUMPTIONS later… hawk

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bombsquadron6
08-13-2008, 08:10 AM
Dear Sensible;

According to you I am merely a sore loser. According to you both Hawk and I have animosity for all judges. What nonsense. I will take the liberty of speaking for him as well as myself when I say that this debate is about integrity and ethics in the judiciary and it always has been. If federal judges turn a blind eye to misconduct and corruption then yes, I have a serious problem with that. You keep trying to bait me with inflammatory assertions but I assure you I will not bite.

When I first filed the lawsuit in late 2004, I had the utmost respect for the American judicial system and thought that we would find justice. We merely wanted to exercise the established labor right to choose who would represent us. We had long suffered with a totally corrupt union that was nothing more than a bloated bureaucracy feeding off the dues paid by honest, hard working transit workers. This union had done little for the workers but the company wanted to retain it for the simple reason that it controlled the union. The company and the union acted together to fight us in court and both refused to try to negotiate it out of court. The law was overwhelmingly on our side so what does the judge do? He makes up a labor standard that has no basis in law, never tells our attorney what that standard is, denies us discovery and all due process, cites to labor cases that are over half a century old to back him up and rules that the union is an appropriate union for us because it had represented transit workers in Salt Lake City since 1904, as though the union has some sort of birthright. It was so corrupt it was off the charts. For the record, we also pointed out the union has ignored serious safety problems at the light rail division. The primary responsibility of a union is to protect the safety of the workers. In the case of public transit, protecting the safety of the workers also protects the safety of the public. But the judge and the attorneys for the company and the union just ignored us.

Sensible, I have a hunch you have looked over some of the filings and you have yet to dispute my allegations. You just claim that I am a sore loser. Yeah, I guess when an American goes into court she expects that she will be on a level playing field and have an impartial judge. She doesn't expect to find the sort of corruption that is common in third world countries. By arguing that the judiciary is undeserving of a raise until they make an effort to reform I am challenging very powerful people. The only tools I have to protect myself are the truth and the First Amendment. I get the feeling you would deprive me of the latter if you had the ability.

Sensible
08-13-2008, 09:14 PM
No, Lisa, I do not want to deprive anyone of his or her 1st Amendment rights. I am sure that you feel mistreated by the judicial system. What I dispute, however, is any claim that there is widespread corruption in the federal judiciary. I know this is not true because I have handled so many federal cases over many years. I feel for the judges because so many made big financial sacrifices to take their position. Most successful lawyers who are not already independently wealthy will not take these jobs because the pay is so low in comparison to what they are now making.

You asked me earlier if I felt something was amiss with there only being 36 complaints found to have any basis. Not really, and I will tell you why. What I have observed is that in virtually ever case there is someone who does not tell the truth. Most of the time, circumstances are such that these persons are probably intentionally lying - a felony under Title 18 that is punishable by a prison term of up to 5 years and a $250000 fine. With hundreds of thousands of lawsuits tried in this country every year, what does this tell you? This tells you that many many thousands of people are willing to commit serious crimes to obtain money or avoid having to pay out money or avoid jail. This happens every day in courtrooms across America. You would just have to be associated with this system for a few months to see that we truly live in a fallen world. Its enought to make you sick. That is just America today -- the same nation where we have leaders who cheat on their spouses and act as if its no big deal. Likewise, its the same America where management for large companies cook their books to cheat thousands of hard working souls out of their life savings. The same America where our elected representatives seem hell bent on spending our country into economic oblivion just so they can win reelection. Its sad, but it tells you one thing: with so many willing to commit a crime as serious as perjury, it would hardly be a surprise that there would also be a throng of people willing to make frivilous allegations against a judge. Of course, I know nothing about your case other than what I have read here, so please do not take this as an attack on you -- your case may have been different and your judicial complaint may have been totally rightgeous. I am just speaking generically here. Sensible.

bombsquadron6
08-17-2008, 02:33 AM
Sensible,

Every allegation contained within our judicial misconduct complaints was backed up by the record and by the courts' own transcripts. I have supplied these complaints to many members of Congress so if I had I lied or even misrepresented any of the facts I would have been challenged by now. No one has done so. I stand by everything that I have said. Until federal judges hold rogue judges accountable then they have no right to ask for more money. When they start enacting the recommendations in the Breyer report (see post #45) they will have an argument, but not until then. When Chief Justice John Roberts spends his entire "State of the Judiciary" speech on the need for judicial reform rather than on the need for higher salaries then perhaps Congress should pass S.1638 and H.R.3753. But so far, Chief Justice Roberts has made no effort to address corruption within judiciary. Reform starts at the top and he has displayed no courage or leadership in this area.

You stated in post #41 that attorneys who make the most money are generally the most talented attorneys. Being talented is not synonymous with being ethical or having integrity. Would you argue that none of the attorneys you cited to as examples has ever committed an unethical act? We both know better. In the same post you point out correctly that judicial nominations are rewards for cronyism and are not based on merit. You state that those nominated for judgeships are friends with the Senators who nominate them. Are we really to believe that Senators such as Ted Stevens of Alaska, who is clearly corrupt, has nominated to the bench wholly ethical judges? In an era of record earmarks by both parties to cronies, does anyone believe that Senators would not nominate those who will protect their interests? Or that Senators would not nominate judges to higher judicial posts who have already done so? The Senators are corrupt but their judicial nominations are largely free from corruption? No Sensible, your argument is not logical or consistent. Please review my post #12 which describes the relationship between the federal district court judge in our case and the Senator from my state who nominated this judge to the bench. It speaks volumes about the alliances formed between Senators and judicial nominees.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have scheduled debates on their respective bills to raise the salary of the judiciary. However, neither has set a date for these debates. It is becoming clear that Congress is eager to pass this judicial salary increase without debate, however, it is essential to have open hearings and debate this issue on the Senate and House floors. I have notified all sponsors and cosponsors of these bills that the attorney who handled our case should testify at these hearings and I ask readers of this blog to contact their Senators and Congressman/woman to demand that debates be held. A debate on a judicial salary increase must include testimony from those who have been wronged by the judicial system. Following the trail of corruption may lead back to corrupt members of Congress. If citizens are to take back their government then they must demand this debate and they can start by sending this link to their representatives in Congress.

Variable Wind
08-17-2008, 05:10 AM
It just sounds to me like Congress is giving the Judicial members a lot more money than they were making.

hmmm....crooks paying off the judges? Man I enjoy the irony.

Sensible
08-17-2008, 08:08 PM
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."

Sensible
08-17-2008, 08:44 PM
"You point out correctly that judicial nominations are rewards for cronyism and are not based on merit. You state that those nominated for judgeships are friends with the Senators who nominate them. Are we really to believe that Senators such as Ted Stevens of Alaska, who is clearly corrupt, has nominated to the bench wholly ethical judges?"

Hopefully, you realise that the nomination is based on a degree of cronyism. However, the judge must be confirmed by the whole Senate, and that I would hope those 100 souls would at least consider merit. If not, they should be thrown out!

No, I do not believe that it is logical that Senators appoint corrupt judges. Remember, these jurist must go through a very, very rigorous FBI background check. Also, I believe my point was, given the low pay, it is getting to the point where the Senate almost exclusively does appoint very wealthy lawyers to the bench. Reason: lawyers making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year or more would not take a job that pays at the level of a federal judge unless they no longer need money. That is the problem we have here. The disparity between what financially successful lawyers make and what federal judges make has become so huge that its getting harder to find a successful lawyer who is not already fabulously wealthy who will take the job. This is especially true since the gulf between the two is getting wider and wider every year. So, with the system of low pay as it now stands, what we are going to end up with is a judiciary that is primarily full of very rich people who view their federal salaries as pocket change. If that is what you want, just continue to give annual pay increases less than the amount of inflation. In terms of lawyers who do not make a lot of money (e.g., public service lawyers) forget about them getting hardly any of these high level appointments. It would be unlikely for those types to have the political connections needed to get the nod. Hey, that is just life in America's democracy and is no different than other high level appointments. Just look at the types who serve in the Cabinent. For example, Robert Gates, our Defense Secretary, took a $2.3 million dollar pay cut for the job. Similarly, Mr. Clinton's former treasury secretary was the head of a large brokerage firm and took a $40 million plus pay cut for his job.

Believe me, without this raise you are more likely to end up with jurists who care nothing about the common folk. The reason I say this is that, even without the raise, there will still be lawyers who will be offered the job and will take it. However, the ones you will end up with will be the super rich. Remember, it is a huge finanical sacrifice for most successful lawyers to take this job. However, the ones with at least some money (but not drenched in it) will be less likely to want the job as the disparity between their earning potential and that of a federal judge becomes greater and greater. I for one do not want a federal judiciary comprised almost exclusively of the ultra wealthy who would not really care about the pay raise we are talking about here anyway. Also remember, all these judges want is to get back a portion of what has been lost as a result of decades of annual pay increases less than the inflation rate.

Incidentally, do you know any other group in the classic professions (law, medicine and certified public accounting) who have been given raises less than the amount of inflation 16 years in a row? Your position is nonsense and reflects what should be obvious to any reader of this thread. You wish to exact revenge against the judges who ruled against you in your case by keeping the entire federal judiciary on a path where they continue to recieve annual pay raises less than the inflation rate.

bombsquadron6
08-18-2008, 04:35 AM
“Believe me, without this raise you are more likely to end up with jurists who care nothing about the common folk.”

Gee Sensible, the district court judge was condescending, too. We common folk are at least as smart as a dog who knows the difference between being tripped over and kicked. Similarly, even common folk know the difference between losing a case on the merits and losing due to a biased decision by an ambitious judge willing to serve the interests of the politically well connected over the interests of the common folk. How better to advance in the judiciary than hand down decisions that a Senator, who has the power to nominate, likes? No pay raise, no matter how large, will instill integrity in such judges. In fact, a large raise will only entrench judges who value advancement over public service.

The military is held accountable for their actions and the judiciary is not. But you argue that unless the judiciary receives an immediate raise of 30-50% we will end up with judges who care nothing about the common folk. Well, the judiciary stopped caring about the “common folk” some time ago.

Sensible, this seems to be more than an abstract argument for you. Shouldn’t you disclose if you will benefit from a judicial salary increase?

Sensible
08-18-2008, 11:01 PM
There is nothing condencending about what I said. If we continually erode these judges' pay to the point where their pay is ridiculously low in comparision to what they could make as attorneys, you will end up primarily with only those who are ultra wealthy being nominated for job. Its just common sense.

No, I have no personal stake in the outcome of the pending legislation.

It has become clear to me that you have a personal vendetta against federal judges because of the case you lost. Thus,no matter what I or anyone else says will cause you to be deterred from your quest to gain a degree of vengance against the federal judiciary, Even if the judges were to receive 100 years of pay raises less than the inflation rate, in your view that would not be enough. All this business about comparing judges to members of the military is just a smoke screen you are using to achieve your real objective: extract a degree of vengance against the judges who ruled against you by sticking it to the entire federal judiciary. In light of these facts, it is really pointless to continue our discussion.

Sensible
08-19-2008, 02:02 AM
Common Sense tells us that the Perfect Formula for Creating an Unjust Federal Judiciary would be to:
demoralize those serving on the bench by dramatically eroding their pay by giving them annual pay increases less than the amount of inflation over a period of several decades.

Incidentally, the same practice would ultimately ruin the morale and effectiveness of the members of any other occupation under the sun.

hawk71049
08-19-2008, 09:33 PM
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No, Lisa, I do not want to deprive anyone of his or her 1st Amendment rights.
Not unless he could get away with it, that is, and then you think Sensible is going to admit to it, come on….


I am sure that you feel mistreated by the judicial system.
I seriously hope that was sarcasm… “Mistreated”… WOW… that is a flame out, if I ever saw one… how about… screwed and tattooed… And that’s just Lisa’s case… what about the safety violations that allegedly occurred? What about the safety of the general public and the employees? How long has this been going on? What happens when an innocent bystander is killed? More lawsuits! I suggest, Sensible… this may just be the tip of the iceberg! Pandora’s box if you will.


What I dispute, however, is any claim that there is widespread corruption in the federal judiciary.
You know what… you can dispute it all you want… That sir, does not change the facts whatsoever, you are also entitled to your opinion… I ask you to support your dispute with facts! Your personal connection explains your very strong feelings, and claims. I have strong feelings about some issues as well, but in matters such as corrupt judiciaries, I/we presented evidence of corruption. “Claims” or feelings have no place here. Only critical thinking or logic prevail… it’s these darn pesky facts of corruption, that keep getting in the way, that you’d be committing a great injustice by avoiding the plain cold, hard facts, that keeps slapping us in the face with continued... case after... case after... case of corruption.


I know this is not true because I have handled so many federal cases over many years. Stating this to be true does not make it fact, nor does longevity make it true or a fact… it only expresses your long time connection to these federal cases. Back this up with facts and figures and we will listen…


I feel for the judges because so many made big financial sacrifices to take their position. I get it… because of the way you started this sentence out... with “I feel”... the implication is that many of the judges that accepted these positions were in financial need of a higher salary. If these Judges are of the many, and truly needy of higher salaries, then why does your next sentence go on to say... just the opposite? Which way is it, you can’t have it both ways! You apparently represent the many! So, exactly what was… or is their position? It most certainly is not money! It was their choice, their election; (not yours, or was it? Is this a SMOP? have promises been made?) money obviously was not the trigger! If many of the judiciary are already independently wealthy, what is throwing pocket change at them going to do? I suggest nothing… possibly add insult to injury?


Most successful lawyers who are not already independently wealthy will not take these jobs because the pay is so low in comparison to what they are now making.
So, then our judiciary is full of the independently wealthy!? Now, as stated above… “I feel for the few underpaid judges” that are going to be controlled by the many wealthy judges, do something about that, along with the corruption, and you will have truly accomplished something!


You asked me earlier if I felt something was amiss with there only being 36 complaints found to have any basis.
This is going to be a good one Lisa, get yourself a bag of popcorn, and let’s kick back and enjoy the ride, if he can’t beat us with his general observations, it will be that they are going to pull the smoking clover routine... or the dog and pony show, the smoke and mirrors will certainly be an attraction we will not want to miss…


Not really, and I will tell you why.
Lay it on us, Sensible… give us your Spin on this…


What I have observed is that in virtually ever case there is someone who does not tell the truth.
Is this just a general observation, as you stated in your closure, or can you back this up with research, statistics, or case history? So, what the hell did you do about it? Not a damn thing, and why? Because like you said in the statement following the next… there are hundreds of thousands of lawsuits… Let me ask you this Sensible… how do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time!… I guarantee you if you start setting examples, or even example after example… even the smartest attorneys will get the hint eventually…


Most of the time, circumstances are such that these persons are probably intentionally lying - a felony under Title 18 that is punishable by a prison term of up to 5 years and a $250000 fine. With the most eloquent words here… “Most”… and “probably”… I assume, once again this is a general observation… one that is not supported through research, statistics or case history… Because if they were, our judiciaries would prosecute, Right? I mean it’s the law Right?


With hundreds of thousands of lawsuits tried in this country every year, what does this tell you?
With some of the above and below statement or general observations made by you, our courtrooms are plugged up with plain and simple crap! That our Congress/House/Senate/judiciaries have allowed frivolous law suits and or these conditions to worsen to what it is today, so the question becomes… who did it?... Only the shadow knows!


This tells you that many many thousands of people are willing to commit serious crimes to obtain money or avoid having to pay out money or avoid jail.
That’s our Congress/House/Senate/judiciaries or State for you… at some point the people are going to rise up, and see through all this bull shit…



This happens every day in courtrooms across America.
This is our judiciary for you, it’s called job security!


You would just have to be associated with this system for a few months to see that we truly live in a fallen world. Is this the attitude we get from “Top Notch” Judiciaries… the… SNAFU principle? [Google it] No sir, I would NOT have to associate with this system, not for one day! Forget about a few months; no wonder we have freaking problems! This is another one of those… Houston to ground control… I think we have a problem here… < BIG BANG >


Its enought to make you sick.
For those weaklings I agree… for those with integrity, ethics~ spirit and determination … well it’s another story, one I think the American people demand gets played out!


That is just America today –
I say grow some… gonads… That is your America! Not mine…


the same nation where we have leaders who cheat on their spouses and act as if its no big deal.
That’s our Congress/House/Senate/judiciaries or State for you… Hell, you can mix business with pleasure, Right!?


Likewise, its the same America where management for large companies cook their books to cheat thousands of hard working souls out of their life savings.
That’s our Congress/House/Senate/judiciaries or State for you… anything goes Right!?


The same America where our elected representatives seem hell bent on spending our country into economic oblivion just so they can win reelection.
I get it now, we blame it on the government, it’s a communist plot right?


Its sad,
Hell, I thought you were going to say… It’s enough to make you sick….


but it tells you one thing:
I think this tells us alot! Not just one thing but many, as previously mentioned….


with so many willing to commit a crime as serious as perjury, it would hardly be a surprise that there would also be a throng of people willing to make frivilous allegations against a judge. And a throng of judiciaries willing to commit a crime as well, for the same reasons…


Of course, I know nothing about your case other than what I have read here, Don’t you think it is about time to properly grasp it so it is not transverse to the pedal/cephalo line and then remove it past the sphincter rectal with a quick and forceful outward motion, as in similar statements made on this subject?

so please do not take this as an attack on you –
Nah, now why would Lisa ever believe that, I mean you have done everything but review her case, and probably for good reasons…


your case may have been different and your judicial complaint may have been totally rightgeous. blah…blah…blah…. This is justice by Sensible?... it's sadism, and it has no place in a democracy that seeks to enact sound law, as opposed to avoidance, or hit and run tactics, such as this. Step up to the plate here Sensible, how many times have you avoided this topic, how many more posts will you continue to avoid this?


I am just speaking generically here. Sensible.
Yes, I know, that seems to be your platform…

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hawk71049
08-19-2008, 09:34 PM
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Sensible,

Getting appointed to the judiciary is not a measure of competence, skills or even merit but of popularity and or cronyism. It would appear that integrity, ethics, spirit and determination have nothing to do with it. You seem to desire that the judiciary get their pay raises without accountability, and that is a recipe for abuse. Pay now and ask questions later. Furthermore you clearly "feel" the issues are about pay raises, but have provided no evidence that states that actual pay raises will improve or eliminate the corruption, only generalizations. It might be out there, but I'm not going to find it for you if it is.

I'll wager your philosophy is very popular with your peers. Aren't you really telling us basically that us general folks have no actual facts to refute what you are saying? Looks and sounds like sour grapes to me. Where are your facts to back up your position? You have totally convinced me that you believe in the "election process of the judiciaries.” What you have failed to do is provide any evidence… showing these methods of pay increases truly work, you simply want to throw the taxpayers' hard earned money at the problem. If this debate is about whether or not you believe in your feelings… then you win! Congratulations~ you have proven to me that you know better what your inner heart feels than I do. But you have failed to provide any proof that your beliefs are grounded in reality and actually work. Lisa and I however, have provided substantial evidence on the contrary, So, please tell us you have something based in fact to rebut that, other than general observations.

Seriously- Sensible, get a grip… I realize you're the "Judicial Internet Sentinel" and all, but if someone posts a injustice that has been carried out, and you stand on the ground, that there are no corrupt justices, without even so much as a review of Lisa’s case, (other than what she has stated here on this thread) where does that leave us common readers of the thread?… You rant on and on about the justice within the judiciary and setting before your eyes is an apparent wrong, are you blind? If you want to debate, you have to use logic and critical thinking; otherwise you're just posting your "feelings" and "beliefs". I'm happy to acknowledge that you feel and believe exactly as you say you do, but that has no bearing on the real world efficacy of these corrupt judges and their practices.

Perhaps you'd like to gain at least a rudimentary grasp on history before returning to this discussion? I pointed out in two posts names of judiciaries (ok, some were state judges) that were allegedly corrupt; I could easily have posted several pages of such alleged corruption…that is so obvious within our judicial system,(Lisa pointed out even further proof) am I stating all judiciaries are corrupt? Hell, no, you know that. The point was rhetorical- none the less an attempt to open your eyes or show you that if you're "accepting no corruption exists” and rewarding the judiciary through pay increases, you better be willing to continue to use hard earned tax payer dollars… (and be prepared to stand the line when confronted) to pay out the ass when wrongful convictions continue to be discovered, or suits such as Lisa’s are dismissed. Who do you propose be held responsible for the additional erroneous executions that will undoubtedly occur? What about the deaths of the general public, or the employees, through safety violations that have allegedly taken place? Or those that are found innocent and released, that are truly guilty? Who will be held accountable? The arresting officer?... The prosecutor?... The Judge?... The People?... And how do we punish them for their error? One dead innocent=freaking pay raises… It’s only fair, right? I mean look how long they have gone w/o a pay raise. What makes me stop and think here is that the criminal justice system may be turning a new corner, and be free to oppress people in ways you and I haven't even imagined yet! Stop and think about it!

Sensible, it truly is a cancer… cut it out… treat it with chemo… but please tell me you have a solution… other than awarding pay raises! If you want to produce substantial evidence such as research, statistics, history which reflects that by providing pay raises with no strings attached will improve or eliminate the corruption and reduce the case load within the courts, and then we can begin to debate whether or not your methods justify the monetary gain for the judiciaries. Want me to help you get started here?

You see Sensible, this is where you and I will come to terms,

It isn't the fact that a government acts solely in the interests of its own country that I find objectionable - it is the pretence that it doesn't.


Lisa, it is obvious that Sensible has a steak in the outcome of these pay raises, by some of his comments on this thread… hawk

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Sensible
08-20-2008, 02:01 AM
Hawk, a steak is a piece of meat. :-)

Look, your post seems to think I should go out and research corruption in the judiciary on the Internet. Well, forget it. I would no more do that than research corruption in the military or in corporate America on the Internet. Are you one of those types who sees a commentary on NBC about a political candidate and says, "wow, if NBC says that that, it must be true. I am going to vote that that guy."

I have been around for many, many years in this business. I bet half of what I read on the Internet and in the papers and 75% of what I hear on TV is probably either false or a half truth. These sources are full of false innuendo. I am not going to accept what these articles say as fact. That is why I am not reading too much into Lisa's allegations. Don't you know that if we had the opposing lawyer on this board that that person would be painting an entirely different picture of what happened in her case? Call me a doubting Thomas, but I have been involved in too many cases and been given too much false information by witnesses over the years -- only to ultimately find out that what I was initially told by these persons was in reality bunk.

Do you really doubt I could come up with a giant number of pieces about corruption in the military? Just google "military" and "corruption" and you will get over 54 million hits! You get more than 28 million hits if you google corruption and church. I am sure you will get similar hits if you google corruption and any one of thousands of socio-political-economic-governmental institutions. Bottom line: a huge amount of this "information" is trash. If I were to base my decisions about pay raises on this type of garbage, no one in any occupation would ever get a raise. Innuendo is a dangerous thing.

You and Ms. Burke are clearly collaborators. No one with any sense of justice would say decades of de facto pay cuts is the right way to treat anyone.

You say I have a "steak" in the outcome of these pay raises. Well, I don't. However, would it really surprising that I would be close to someone who does, and I feel for that person as I see her pay endlessly eroded away year after year after year. This close friend, whom I have known since law school, is a U.S. Magistrate Judge. No other occupation gets this type of shaft. Its not right. Neither members of the military, nor transit workers nor federal judges nor any other occupational group under the sun should get this type of treatment when it comes to pay.

bombsquadron6
08-20-2008, 08:33 AM
Sensible,

I have provided all the documents you said you wanted to see plus offered any others you might care to look at. I am still waiting for you to refute, dispute or even challenge a single one of my allegations. No one in Congress has and I am sure that their attorneys have looked over the complaints. Do you think that the Senator I spoke of would not challenge me if this were not true? Your tack now is to dismiss me as a sore loser, not worthy of your consideration. Fine.

This debate has always been about corruption in the judiciary. My case is an example of flagrant and shameless abuse of power by federal judges who were more concerned with their own ambitions and protecting one another than with justice. I say it happens far too often. You seem to suggest it doesn't happen at all. Actually, I'm not sure what you say about it. You're pretty vague. We argue that federal judges should earn a raise by cleaning up the judiciary. You say they should just get the raise and its business as usual. You criticize me for contrasting the military to the judiciary. Well, we will let the readers decide if I have exploited the military for my own purposes. I come from a military family and was taught integrity by example. It's easy to talk about it but much harder to live it. Tell me, Sensible. How many judges do you know of that have ever served in the military or made any real sacrifice for their country? And accepting a judgeship that pays at minimum $165,000 per year, no matter how much they made before, is not making a sacrifice.

You are free to diminish my argument and dismiss me as a quarrelsome sore loser. But keep in mind that it was not just me who lost that case. It was thousands and thousands of public transit workers across the country who now have no ability to select who represents them. Their representation will be chosen for them by the companies and corrupt unions who now work together.

The military is fighting a ferocious war in the middle east and one of the reasons given for that war is to bring democracy to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. But back here in the USA we have federal judges taking these same rights away from honest, hard working Americans. When the judiciary decides to get a backbone and care more about justice than money I will change my position, but not until then.


P.S. If you plan to critique Hawk's posts and point out grammatical or spelling errors, I will highlight the many mistakes you have made throughout your posts. Don't think I didn't notice them.

Sensible
08-20-2008, 12:16 PM
Well, I have been at this business for a long time I can think of dozens and dozens of judges who have served. In fact, for a number of them it is their military pensions that keep their families' financies afloat in the face of annual de facto pay cuts. Moreover, most of the 1000+ federal administrative law judges are veterans because the veterans preference gives them an advantage in the job application process (which it should in my view).

Your arguments are dishonest. You paint a broad brush of corruption based on your case and a whole lot of innuendo. This threat has never been about judicial corruption as you aver. It has always been about you getting a degree of revenge. You do not care who you hurt in the process. You do not care about the fact that your crusade would, if successful, hurt many, many veterans who serve on the bench.

Why don't we do the fair thing, since you are the all-knowing seer of justice and equity. Let's start giving the military the same annual percentage pay increases we give the judges. Then, let's do it for 16 years.

Sensible
08-20-2008, 12:50 PM
Well, I apologize. Dozens and dozens is an overstatement made in the heat of the moment. -- but I can think of 10 off the top of my head who are veterans. Of these, I am closely acquainted with two whom I know rely heavily on their military pensions.

No matter. No group - judges, transit workers, military officers, doctors, lawyers or anyone else should be forced to go so many years in a row with pay increases less than the inflation rate. That's all I am saying.

I agree that one could reasonably argue that the proposed one time judicial pay raise is excessive. I for one would not have a problem with cutting the amount of that - provided there was some provision in the law that required their annual raises in the future to be equal to the amount given to non-capped GS workers. Such a provision would put a damper on the endless judicial pay erosion that has been going on for years.

hawk71049
08-21-2008, 11:01 AM
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Page 2


Do you really doubt I could come up with a giant number of pieces about corruption in the military? Just google "military" and "corruption" and you will get over 54 million hits! You get more than 28 million hits if you google corruption and church. I am sure you will get similar hits if you google corruption and any one of thousands of socio-political-economic-governmental institutions. Bottom line: a huge amount of this "information" is trash. If I were to base my decisions about pay raises on this type of garbage, no one in any occupation would ever get a raise. Innuendo is a dangerous thing.
Sensible, I have no doubt, none what so ever… see the difference between you and I, is that I believe!

Corruption in the military, church, socio-political-economic-governmental institutions, where do you think I received my information from, you seem to think I checked out resources of 250 million hits, where there is smoke there is fire… Like I said I selected those that had, a base, a foundation, some truth, evidence I felt was well documented. Have I errored? Sure there are some that have been falsely accused…

But, Sensible~ using the data you provided… for God’s sake man… of the 250 million hits of alleged corruption, surly you must consider the odds that even a minute of .01 percent have great odds of being corrupt.. And that behind this corruption you will probably find those of the professions you so wish to provide pay raises to, with no string attached. If only .01 % of this goggled 250 million are in fact true cases of corruption... those corrupt cases would be what…2,500,000…

Since you have now favored us calling you one of the twelve apostles, referring to days of old when empires were ruled by the evil, the wicked and corrupt. Live by your calling, Sensible… Let me also refer you to another story, one about the total destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The full story starts with Abraham, in Gen 18:20… and continues through the end of the 19th chapter… You may wish to review these verses.

So the Lord told Abraham, I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are extremely evil, and that everything they do is wicked. Well, Abraham pleaded with the Lord, about not destroying these cities, and said oh Lord, if there are 50 innocent will you destroy all in the city, the Lord said if there are 50, i will not destroy them… So then Abraham asked, but Lord, if there are 45, then 40 then 30 then 20~Well to spare you all the details~ Abraham pleaded with the Lord in trying to spare all these peoples of these two cities... and the Lord said... if there are 10 in these cities I will not destroy them.

Well, like I said this is a long story, but to make it short... all that lived in these two cities were found to be very evil, and corrupt, both these cities were destroyed, all their peoples were destroyed NOTHING was left! Nothing!

Do as doubting Thomas did, Sensible… check out Lisa’s case… if you find no sufficient evidence to support her claim, present that data here on the forum. Hell, we can allow the guest of this forum to decide if the evidence you have so discovered is enough to discount her claim. I will go one step further, if you find only 10 % of her claims in error, we can consider that enough to disclaim her case. But, if that is not the case, and Lisa claim stands, we will still bring this evidence to a poll for the member to make the final decision. If the poll is in your favor, you win... if not no raises until the powers to be in the judiciary clean up the mess.
What have you to lose here Sensible… it’s win win win win for you. Unless of course you fear there is more than just merit to her case, which I am sure you are much aware of this… the reason for your staying away from this case!


You and Ms. Burke are clearly collaborators. No one with any sense of justice would say decades of de facto pay cuts is the right way to treat anyone.
Also, please let it be known, I have not discussed my wager with Lisa. Prior to this thread I had never hear of Lisa… but there are thousands of Lisa’s in this world, with similar cases, it is truly sad… none I might add were created from her mold.
Such would appear to be the case with HER your U.S. Magistrate Judge friend that you would defend to the end… with no regards for the many... I salute you in your effort….


You say I have a "steak" in the outcome of these pay raises. Well, I don't. However, would it really surprising that I would be close to someone who does, and I feel for that person as I see her pay endlessly eroded away year after year after year. This close friend, whom I have known since law school, is a U.S. Magistrate Judge. No other occupation gets this type of shaft. Its not right. Neither members of the military, nor transit workers nor federal judges nor any other occupational group under the sun should get this type of treatment when it comes to pay.
They do Sensible; pays raises within many organizations/institutions are controlled by the same individuals the same process. Is it fair no! Let’s do something about it…

So, shall we now refer to you as doubting Thomas Sensible, one of the twelve apostles’ The ball is once again in your court, what say you… hawk

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hawk71049
08-21-2008, 11:03 AM
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page 1

Hawk, a steak is a piece of meat. :-)
Yeah, it’s called shock therapy… lmao….


Well, I have been at this business for a long time I can think of dozens and dozens of judges who have served. In fact, for a number of them it is their military pensions that keep their families' financies afloat in the face of annual de facto pay cuts. Moreover, most of the 1000+ federal administrative law judges are veterans because the veterans preference gives them an advantage in the job application process (which it should in my view).

Dozens and dozens, 1000 + federal judges, come on…. Did you research this on the internet?
Prove it!


Your arguments are dishonest. You paint a broad brush of corruption based on your case and a whole lot of innuendo. This threat has never been about judicial corruption as you aver. It has always been about you getting a degree of revenge. You do not care who you hurt in the process. You do not care about the fact that your crusade would, if successful, hurt many, many veterans who serve on the bench. .
Dishonest you say, the Burdon of proof is on you my friend, you have had 80 some posts to disprove one case and you have fail, miserably.

You know, you can refer to several of my posts, should you wish to understand the merits of hurt and pain.



Why don't we do the fair thing, since you are the all-knowing seer of justice and equity. Let's start giving the military the same annual percentage pay increases we give the judges. Then, let's do it for 16 years.
That has already occurred; they are playing catch up on the raises, until 2013,



Look, your post seems to think I should go out and research corruption in the judiciary on the Internet. Well, forget it. I would no more do that than research corruption in the military or in corporate America on the Internet.
Nah, don’t watch much TV, now at the library checking out my sources, and posting to this thread has been very educational… and what say you say regarding this subject?


Are you one of those types who sees a commentary on NBC about a political candidate and says, "wow, if NBC says that that, it must be true. I am going to vote that that guy."
Nah, I hawk, one of them type is breakfast…


I have been around for many, many years in this business.
Sir, I see you should count your blessings…


I bet half of what I read on the Internet and in the papers and 75% of what I hear on TV is probably either false or a half truth. These sources are full of false innuendo. I am not going to accept what these articles say as fact. That is why I am not reading too much into Lisa's allegations. Don't you know that if we had the opposing lawyer on this board that that person would be painting an entirely different picture of what happened in her case? Call me a doubting Thomas, but I have been involved in too many cases and been given too much false information by witnesses over the years -- only to ultimately find out that what I was initially told by these persons was in reality bunk.

Dang, sound like you read a lot in the papers, and watch a lot of TV, tell me, do you read the papers while listening to TV, because you didn’t include what you saw in your quotes, interesting did you survey yourself? You actually think the opposing lawyer would even consider posting on this thread. Hell, he wiggled out of everything presented, and besides he would not have the support of his cronies. You know why right! Because of our readers and posters, they would tar and feather his ass… Back this statement up Sensible! That’s not a question… that’s a challenge! You can’t your amusing yourself by passing air over your vocal cords, while putting it to ink.

Nope, can’t call you a doubting Thomas… until you truly understand what it is that you request… the meaning here, after this understanding… well, it will be up to you. We will see at the end of this story. So, let’s explore your new calling.

You see… one of the twelve, Thomas, was not with the 12 apostles when Jesus came. So the disciples told Thomas, We have seen the Lord. Thomas said… Unless I see the mark of the nails on his hands, unless I put my finger into the place where the nails were, and my hand into his side, I will not believe it. John 20:24-25

So, as the story goes, off by himself, Thomas hears from his friends that they have seen the one thing that would change everything, the one truly unbelievable thing. "We have seen the Lord," they say. And Thomas, like any reasonable person who knows how the world works, like anyone who has seen hundreds of Jews crucified by the Romans, like anyone who knows that the dead stay in their graves, Thomas says, "I will not believe it. I will not believe it unless I can touch him. Thomas took this stuff seriously. He has dedicated his life to a worthwhile cause; he is trying to walk the talk. He has given his heart to something~ no, to someone, and that one has been brutally murdered, lynched, hung on a tree.

He is on the losing side of history. The Roman Empire, with its armies, with its law, with its culture, its worldly sophistication, with its vicious governor Pontius Pilate, has executed — and not by lethal injection, mind you, not by anything as civilized as Florida's electric chair, but by nails and thorns and hours of unbearable slow asphyxiation on a cross — Rome has executed another Jewish holy man, hoping that his followers will shut up, give up, go away, retreat in despair.

Thomas should learn his lesson and vanish, for the cruel and the powerful — the ones who ask cynically, "What is truth?" — they have taken away his hope. The people who insist that the poor deserve their poverty; that women have their place; that immigrants cannot be equals; that race determines place in society; all of these people who cannot believe in a world more fair than this one, they laugh at poor Thomas. He must be a fool, for the world is as it always has been and always will be, violent and divided and mad, and he is deluded to follow anyone who points out a better way for us to live.

Why tell the story of Thomas, and why I am telling it to you? Have you ever had a dream crushed? Have you ever worked for something that failed? Have you ever despaired in the midst of suffering? Have you ever doubted what you had taken to be true? Have you ever lost a friend? The story may say "happy are they who never saw and yet have found faith," but I think everybody knows what it's like to be Thomas.

Thomas — who has not gone away a cynic but is once again with the others in spite of not knowing — Thomas finds himself in the presence of his Lord, and is invited to touch, to feel, to see, and to know. Why tell the story this way? Thomas is not satisfied with other people's accounts: he wants to know by experience. He wants the story to be known. He wants to touch the truth for himself, and until then, maybe even in spite of himself, he says he will not believe. But Thomas was not an unbeliever. He did not decide that the others were deluded, that Pilate was right, that he had been wrong all along. Thomas's critical instinct did not destroy his concern for the life that might be, but isn't yet.

Sensible, Lisa has given you all the information, the links, names date’s places; we have invited you to touch, to feel, to see and to know. Now you… we call you a doubting Thomas… After reading who doubting Thomas was, do you still feel as if you fit in his shoes? Do you understand the full implication of your request? Do you fully comprehend the meaning here?

Sensible, you are funny; and I laugh, you speak words of which you know not… and have provided much needed entertainment for me over these last few weeks, and I have prospered due to your efforts, not financially, but supporting what I have known all along… air flows over your vocal cords, and untruth follows.

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hawk71049
08-21-2008, 12:41 PM
.

Well, I apologize. Dozens and dozens is an overstatement made in the heat of the moment. –
Yeah, I apologize too; i posted without looking at the thread as you had a double post. Someone left the gate open and the cows got out, I was late posting yesterday, because i spent most of yesterday rounding them up…as I had to complete my thoughts this Morning, before posting.
Yeah, a lot of your comments are made in the heat of the moment, don’t worry we do look over these inconsistencies...


but I can think of 10 off the top of my head who are veterans. Of these, I am closely acquainted with two whom I know rely heavily on their military pensions.
Ok, let me get this right, one, well two, of your arguments for STRONGLY supporting this pay raise is 10 who served, of which two you are acquainted with, plus HER your U.S. Magistrate Judge friend. Just how many judiciaries would be receiving this pay raise? And your rightful concern is over 12...


No matter. No group - judges, transit workers, military officers, doctors, lawyers or anyone else should be forced to go so many years in a row with pay increases less than the inflation rate. That's all I am saying.

You have got to be kidding me here, have you totally lost your freaking mind.

Seems to me like you left out a small group of folks here, the military enlisted, what is the deal here!

A couple days ago, a Basic Training... Battery Commander at Ft Sill, Oklahoma... his forum name mikelentz, a Commander of recruit training at Ft Sill, Oklahoma... entered a thread I had responded to. I responded to his post, and expressed my anger as a result of his lack of responsibility and leadership. I came so close to suggesting we eliminate the officer pay increase on this last bill slated for approval, regarding military pay increases. The Commanders total lack (in my opinion) of properly training recruits of the US Army, was incomprehensible. You may review his comments, since you to have spoken once again off the top of your head and in the heat of the moment. ( http://www.militarytimes.com/forums/showthread.php?p=126640#post126640)...
My post number.. 32 & 33


I agree that one could reasonably argue that the proposed one time judicial pay raise is excessive. I for one would not have a problem with cutting the amount of that - provided there was some provision in the law that required their annual raises in the future to be equal to the amount given to non-capped GS workers. Such a provision would put a damper on the endless judicial pay erosion that has been going on for years.

Well, there goes your two judicial veteran friends that you are acquainted with and HER your U.S. Magistrate Judge friend.

Should I ever be in a position of responsibility or on a board of implementing pay raises for the judiciary, my number one goal would be to institute a method of grading those individuals prior to awarding pay raises, and or termination, with my objective being to root out the corruption.

Sensible, eliminate the corruption through pay raises- leave the current pay raise in effect, those that earned it... deserve it…. hawk


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Sensible
08-21-2008, 10:26 PM
Hawk - I reviewed the Circuit Court's opinion. The case was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Was the dismissal proper? I cannot say because I would have to research the cases cited by the circuit court. I would also have to shepherdize those cases to see if they were the applicable law in September 2006, when the case was dismissed. All that would take many hours and, unfortunately, I do not have the time to spare to do that time of involved legal research.

I will say this: dismissal of claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is common in federal court. It is common because you have to remember that federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction under our system of federalism. Thus, for example, we do not usually hear garden variety murder cases in federal court. Similarly, if a person has been injured by the negligence of a federal agency, that case can only be heard in federal court if the plaintiff follows very specific mandates set forth in the Federal Tort Claims Act. If that person does not follow those specific guidelines required by Congress, then the federal court lacks jurisidction. In short, if a cause of action is not allowed by federal law, then absent a legal basis for asserting a state law claim in federal court, the court has no choice but to dismiss under Federal Rule of CIvil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. This was what happened in Lisa's case because the court felt another preexisting bargaining unit could represent the employees of the rail transit company. Hey, I am not going to say this was right or wrong. I would have to spend many, many hours researching the issue, and I just don't have the time to do that.

Incidentally, according to the appellate court, the reason no discovery was allowed was because Lisa failed to state a claim upon which the court could grant relief. The court felt discovery would be improper, because the claim was was not cognizable under federal law and no amount of discovery would make it actionable. Further, the Court held that the decision not to allow the amendment was proper because by the time the motion to amend had been filed, the appeal had also been filed and thus, juridiction over the case passed from district court to the court of appeals.

If I had a couple of days to research all these issues, I could tell you if the court of appeals acted legally. But again, I just do not have the time to engage in that time of prolonged research project. Sensible

bombsquadron6
08-22-2008, 08:07 AM
Once again, Sensible, nonsense. Spell it out so the average reader can understand it.

The U.S. Department of Labor was released under 12(b)(6). The district court judge said we didn't state a claim. We stated a claim allright, and a very legitimate one. But the district court judge ruled that we should have objected to actions by the DOL three years before the labor dispute arose. Since when is a plaintiff required to look into the future and object to an action before it occurs. That order is online at the utahtransitworker.org website along with the other filings you claim not to have read.

The other two defendants, the union and the company were granted summary judgement. We were denied an evidentiary hearing, discovery and all ability to prove that the labor standard we cited to was correct despite the fact that no one ever introduced any other standard. The company and the union just kept arguing that they had a contract, ratified before the rail division even existed, that mandated that the union would represent the rail workers. Like a contract trumps federal labor law. We wanted discovery to find out exactly how many union members there are because if it was below 50%, as everyone knew it was, then the union is not legitimate. We were denied discovery. Of no value? Irrelevant? No, it cut to the quick of the case. We could have shut it down in minutes if the judge had allowed us to determine whether the union was legit. He refused.

The amended complaint was never ruled on. The circuit court said that the district court lost jurisdiction because we had filed the appeal. You know as well as that circuit court panel that a properly filed motion to amend is supposed to be ruled on. Judges don't get to just ignore stuff they don't like. The circuit panel should have remanded the case back to district court and ordered the judge to rule on the amendment. They gave him a pass on everything-the law be damned. And you know it, Sensible.

You don't have to spend hours researching labor law and sheperdizing the cases. And stop using words that the average reader is unfamiliar with. I know what sheperdizing is and am not impressed that you use it. It is a process for determining the genealogy or origin of a case and the cases citied within it. Since the court shut this down procedurally and we were never allowed to apply the labor law or even the established twelve factor test that is used to determine appropriate bargaining units then just tell us if what was done to us procedurally was proper.

I find it fascinating that you are too busy to read any of our filings but you have found time for the past two months to stalk this thread and respond to anything I post within hours.

For the rest of you readers, I will tell you that I am working 65 hours this week and am dead on my feet. I will be posting another, more detailed explanation of this soon. I will also include a short, very short, explanation of federal labor law as it pertains to this case. Start talking about labor law at a cocktail party and people will be scrambling over each other trying to get away. But it is actually pretty interesting.

Anyway, give me a day or so to put it together and I think it will be worth reading. Sensible has done nothing to refute my allegations. All he has done is regurgitate the order from the Tenth Circuit.

Right now there aren't enough hours in the day. I need some sleep. Later.

Sensible
08-22-2008, 12:22 PM
Lisa- don't take what I wrote personally. I was not taking a position one way or the other as to the validity of your cause of action. I told you I would have to research it and I decline to do so because the work involved is too intensive. You do not need to "refute" anything. All I did was report on the Circuit Court's opinion.

Sensible
08-23-2008, 02:15 AM
Lisa - do you have the motions the defendants filed by the Labor Department, Utah Transit Authority and Amalgamated Transit Local Union 382? Also, do you have the briefs filed by the Appellees in the 10th Circuit? I notice those key documents are conveniently not on the utahtransitworker.org website.

Since you claim such maltreatment by all these defendants and the courts I think it is important for the reader to get the full thrust of the legal defenses that you were unable to surmount. I do not believe the reader will get a complete picture of the defendants' positions without these documents. Defense counsel in that case I am sure wrote as advocates, just as you do, and not in the bland law review format the courts use in writing decisions. Please provide a link to these vital documents for all to see.

Sensible.

bombsquadron6
08-23-2008, 06:47 AM
Sure. I will post the docket and you can select the numbers of the documents you want to review. They are not all on the website for the simple reason that few transit workers are going to muddle through it all. It was easier to just post some of the more comprehensive documents. When you tell me the ones you want to look at I will post those online.

bombsquadron6
08-23-2008, 05:42 PM
Sensible, I have just finished uploading all of the filings from Circuit Court onto the utahtransitworker.org website. If thee are any documents from district court that you would like to see please identify the number and I will provide it immediately. Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to review this case. We will be looking forward to your opinion. Once again, I stand by everything I have asserted.

P.S. If any of the newly added links do not work tell me which ones and I will correct them as soon as I get home from work tonight. But I just tested each one and they all worked for me.

Sensible
08-23-2008, 05:48 PM
The pleadings that need to be posted are: 29, 39, 51, 56, 68, 71.

Incidentally, what was the legal basis for your suing the U.S. Labor Department?

bombsquadron6
08-23-2008, 06:59 PM
Sensible, I really am heading off to work in a few minutes. I will gladly post each of those district court filings that you have requested tonight after I get home. I will also write a short explanation of our claims against the DOL but it is summed up in the Appellants' Opening Brief 05-4222. Later.

Sensible
08-23-2008, 08:18 PM
Also, I had one other thought. Now, I am not a labor lawyer. I am just an old country boy from down south. However, I have belonged to a union before. We all know that there is power in numbers. After all, we all know that is why the AFL merged with the CIO.

So, why did you want to form a separate bargaining unit by breaking away from the other unit? Wouldn't it be better to kick out management for Amalgamated Transit Local Union 382 through union elections? With larger numbers shouldn't you be able to obtain better leverage against management?

bombsquadron6
08-25-2008, 02:51 AM
Sensible,

The first question you asked was why did we sue the U.S. Department of Labor ("the DOL".) They were included in the suit against the transit company and the union because they are supposed to protect the rights of transit workers.

Public transit workers in the U.S. are not protected by the National Labor Relations Act, which only protects the rights of workers in the private sector. Transit workers are supposed to have their labor rights protected by the Urban Mass Transportation Act. Remember UMTA? Well, it is still in effect. It was passed in 1964 to address the emerging public transit agencies that were replacing privately owned companies. Since these private companies were being purchased with federal money the workers were supposed to have rights equivalent to those of workers in the private sector. These rights and protections do not ever "sunset" or expire. Particularly now, since public transit districts get millions, and indeed, hundreds of millions of dollars from American taxpayers via the U.S. Transit Administration. Courts have usually looked to National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") case law when deciding cases involving public transit workers since they have equivalent rights.

A "bargaining unit" is the voting district. The workers who are eligible to be in a union comprise the bargaining unit. The "bargaining representative" is the agent or union that is elected to represent the bargaining unit.

The transit district opened a new light rail division in 1999. According to NLRB case law, we were presumptively a new bargaining unit. When we first asserted our rights as a new bargaining unit in 2004, we presented a petition to the company notifying them that we light rail employees did not recognize the present union. The company ignored us, refused to recognize us as a separate bargaining unit and refused to even sit down and discuss the matter. We wanted a vote to determine if we should keep the old union or form a new one. In the private sector workers would have this right and it would be enforced by the NLRB. We asked for assistance from the NLRB but they informed us that we are public workers and they have no jurisdiction. We asked for unit clarification from the Utah Labor Commission but they informed us they do not handle collective bargaining disputes. (Despite their name they do not handle anything besides EEOC type cases.) We exhausted all administrative remedies before we filed the suit in federal court. Most states have a labor agency that defines, enforces and protects the rights of public transit workers in that state but not here in Utah.

Public transit districts that collect federal money and grants must certify "protective arrangements" with the DOL every time they seek new federal funding. These arrangements spell out the labor protections for the workers that the company agrees to abide by. Our labor dispute arose in 2004. The most recent protective arrangements had been negotiated in 2001. After we filed the suit, the DOL maintained that it had no responsibility to enforce or protect our rights and that it was a state matter. Well, if the DOL won't enforce our rights, the state won't and the NLRB can't, who then, protects our rights?

Our claims against the DOL arose because they certified protective arrangements but did not ensure that there is any mechanism to enforce them. They even went so far as to certify new protective arrangements with the transit district while this case was still in district court. We only wanted a vote to decide if we should get rid of a corrupt union as our bargaining representative. The NLRB has relatively simple procedures in place to determine unit clarifications and hold decertification elections. Our rights would be automatically enforced by the NLRB if we were private sector workers but as public transit workers in Utah we have rights only on paper. No one will enforce them even though the DOL has the responsibility to ensure that our rights are protected. Public transit workers should not have to go to federal court to try to vindicate basic rights. Thus, we do not have equivalent rights and the DOL is not in compliance with UMTA.

The district court judge dismissed the DOL from the case on the grounds that the DOL did not know in 2001 that there would be a labor dispute in 2004. Apparently we should have been able to see into the future and object to the protective arrangements three years before the labor dispute arose. The fact that the DOL never made any effort to determine who would enforce the protective arrangements was, apparently, not relevant to the judge or the Tenth Circuit panel.

Sensible, keep in mind while you review the filings that had we won the case and the transit district was found to be violating federal labor laws, they would have potentially been ineligible for a $480 million full funding grant agreement from the U.S. Transit Administration. This grant was needed to build a new commuter rail system. They received the grant while the case was still in court and the new railroad did, in fact, open this past April. When in doubt, just follow the money trail.

Sensible
08-25-2008, 04:00 AM
Well, in looking at this, I can say one thing for sure. Like a lot of areas of the law, nothing is ever simple. There are exceptions. Then there are exceptions to the exceptions. Then there are exceptions to the exceptions to the exceptions. For example, Amalgamated seems to making a big deal in its pleadings that the TRAX members all originally came from Amalgamated and both the rail and the bus workers served the same purpose -- affording public transportation. Does this make a difference in the analysis? I don't know at this juncture -- I would have to spend a lot of time looking at the case law.

In reviewing the defendants' pleadings and your pleadings, I can see that there are a lot of nuances in this area of the law. Like I said - I have never practiced labor law. Let me ask it this way: Is there controlling precedence that says that a subgroup of transit workers can compel the formation of their own separate bargaining unit when they still work for the same employer/transit authority but are transferred by the transit authority to another area that provides a different mode of transportation?

Putting the law aside and looking at this matter pragmatically, apparently, you and others working in the rail portion of UTA's business did not care for how Amalgamated was conducting its affairs with UTA. However, the number of UTA rail employees is much smaller than the employees working on the busing side of the business. As a separate bargaining unit, because of your relatively small numbers compared to Amalgamated you would likely not have as much leverage in making demands against management than if you worked through Amalgamated instead (assuming Amalgamated would push an agenda favorable to the rail workers). Have you tried to alter Amalgamated's management through the election process? If Amalgamated's leadership were to be more sympathetic to the rail workers' views, you would almost certainly find that the rail workers would have far more clout than if they were their own separate bargaining unit.

bombsquadron6
08-26-2008, 04:09 PM
Sensible,

The cases we cited to demonstrate that when a new facility is created, such as the light rail division, it creates a new bargaining unit. Look at Baltimore Sun and the other cases we cited to in our briefs. If the workers in the new bargaining unit vote to merge with the old bargaining unit (which we never did) then, and only then, are they combined.

Beyond that, my response to your questions about the labor law aspects of our case are contained both in our district court filings and our circuit court filings. Interestingly, you previously requested a number of filings from the district court, all of which were filings by the company, the union and the DOL. You clearly have no interest in reading our filings and actually understanding how the law should be applied. No, Sensible, this is a trap. You are attempting to draw attention away from the many egregious procedural abuses committed by both the district court and the Tenth Circuit by engaging me in a debate about labor law. Our case was prepared by an extremely good attorney who spent hundreds of hours researching the law and writing the briefs. They will answer all your legal questions if you really want to know. I am posting all of our filings on the http://utahtransitworker.org website so that you will be able to review them. I have no intention of boring readers with a debate about labor law.

Since you find it necessary to deflect attention away from the procedural abuses then I must assume you know that what was done to us is indefensible. I am preparing a laundry list of all the procedural stunts that were committed by both the district court judge and the Tenth Circuit panel that reviewed his decision. They are all in the misconduct complaints and I have described many of them on this blog but you skip those and want to trip me up on labor law.

Well, dust off that old copy of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and give us your opinion!

Sensible
08-26-2008, 08:37 PM
No trap Lisa. This is a fairly complex area of the law in which a relatively small goup lawyers spend their entire careers and do little else. In reading your filings and what I have looked at from the defendants, I can tell you this. One: at first blush, both sides present cogent, logical arguments. Two, I do not know if the defense and the court cited incorrect legal principles, just as I do not know if you did in your pleadings. Like I said, I am not a labor lawyer. Three, there is no way I could give you an opinion as to which side was right without actually reading the actual case cited on both sides (lawyers frequently cite cases for propositions that are untrue). So, I would have to read the cases from both sides, then shepherdize them and then try to figure out how the cases cited by both sides meld together. No way. I just do not have the time. That would take hours and hours.

I am puzzled as to why you do not answer the question as to why you would not simply try to replace the oringal union's management through the election process. Some people might say the reason you have not gone that route is because you are trying to build your own fiefdom. I don't know because I do not know you.

So, with all respect, I cannot help out in this discussion any longer and I am afraid we must part ways.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Sensible

bombsquadron6
08-27-2008, 04:30 PM
Although Sensible has apparently left this debate I am still going to post this, if only because I was up all night writing it. He was not expected to make a legal analysis of the labor law aspects of the case, which are indeed, complicated. He was asked to tell us if the procedural aspects of the case were proper. He refused to address them. I will say what I have asserted all along. This labor law case had a predetermined outcome. Had our case not been so strong, and the established law so much in our favor, then these dishonest tactics by the district court judge and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals would have been unnecessary. We would simply have lost on the merits of the case. That is not what happened. Here is a description of the judicial wonderland that we encountered. The abuses began almost immediately after we filed the case.

The district court judge denied us an evidentiary hearing on an injunction and all discovery in the case.

He tried to hold a hearing on issues without notice to us. Even the Justice Department attorney representing the DOL was appalled by this.

In an attempt to prevent us from appealing his denial of a preliminary injunction, he refused to sign his own order, which was nothing more than a minute entry on the docket. Whether an unsigned minute entry can even be appealed is an open question in the Tenth Circuit. Our attorney filed a motion requesting that the judge sign his own order so we could appeal but the judge refused. We had to use the motion in lieu of a signed order to appeal.

At all three hearings in front of this judge he handed out his tentative decision before he had even heard the oral arguments.

He relentlessly prevented us from applying the established and accepted legal test for determining appropriate bargaining units despite the fact that we met nearly all the criteria. He evaluated the merits using the wrong labor law standard but refused to give us the opportunity to evaluate them using the correct standard. In fact, the determination was not even his to make. We had requested a jury trial and he refused.

He prevented us from having access to the DOL records that would explain how the DOL had certified the "protective arrangements" without ever ascertaining if there was a mechanism to enforce them.

He disputed our attorney's assertion that we had exhausted all administrative remedies before our filing of the case. As any attorney knows full well, the judge was required to accept this assertion as truth until discovery had taken place but he challenged our attorney, who then produced evidence that we had done so.

He ruled that the existing union is appropriate without applying any accepted legal standard but when we wanted discovery to find out how many members it has, he refused. By state statute it must have over 50% to be legitimate. Everyone knows it doesn't.

At the beginning of the third hearing he issued another of his notorious tentative orders granting summary judgment to the company and the union. He then asked the attorneys for the company and union to give him additional grounds to rule against us. He did this right in front of us.

He asked the attorney for the union to provide a memorandum outlining contractual remedies we had allegedly failed to exhaust. Apparently, we were supposed to ask the union to resolve the matter despite the fact we were in federal court precisely because we did not recognize that union as our representative. Our attorney provided case law demonstrating that we did not have to ask the union for anything.

It was clear to us that the judge would stop at nothing to shut the case down procedurally. However, for nearly three months he did not actually issue an order, making any kind of appeal impossible. Despite the strength of our case he obviously had no intention of ruling for us. So our attorney decided to test him and we filed the amended complaint which I described earlier. Our attorney told us that if he really was acting inappropriately he would pretend he had not seen the amended complaint and immediately rule against us on the summary judgment motion. He did exactly what our attorney predicted less than five hours after it was docketed. The order was the same tentative order he had issued at the beginning of the third hearing. It contained glaring deficiencies and hadn't even been updated to reflect the issues discussed at the last hearing. He just rushed out the old tentative order and pretended he had not seen the amended complaint. He had a week to revise his order and rule on the amended complaint but he did not.

The judge decided a complicated labor law case, not by use of accepted NLRB tests and case law, but by summary judgment. Not even the NLRB, with all its experience, decides a factually intensive inquiry, such as the determination of an appropriate bargaining unit, without extensive evidentiary hearings. This district court judge, with no labor law background, decided our case without any evidentiary hearings, using a test he created that had no basis in law.

Gee, that was just district court. Then we had to endure the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

bombsquadron6
08-27-2008, 04:34 PM
At the Tenth Circuit hearing we were assigned a panel that only had one active Tenth Circuit judge on it. This judge, like the district court judge, belongs to an extremist organization that opposes the National Labor Relations Act and present day labor standards and protections. This judge also had recently hired the law clerk who had previously been working for the district court judge. We suspect that the same clerk worked on the case in both courts. Also on the panel was a district court judge from Oklahoma whose only role, it appeared to us, was to yell at our attorney during the Tenth Circuit hearing because we had demonstrated that the district court judge was biased against us. She had no apparent interest in the labor law elements of the appeal. The third judge on the panel was a ninety year old senior judge, retired since 1984, that appeared to have cognitive difficulties.

The Tenth Circuit panel did not even remand the case back to district court to rule on the amended complaint as they were required to and as requested by our attorney. Whether the district court judge had seen the amended complaint or not and whether he had jurisdiction to rule on it after we filed the appeal is beside the point. Basic fairness required that the panel should have remanded it back.

The Tenth Circuit panel stated, in their decision, that no objection had been made to the union by the light rail employees. This was incredible given the fact that we presented a petition objecting to the union with the signatures of nearly 70% of the workers and this had been presented to both courts at the appropriate times. Further, the light rail workers had voted down a contract ratified by the illegitimate union, not once, but twice.

The panel stated in its decision that, "We doubt federal labor law doctrine even applies here." They then went on to state that the case is a "severance" case and not an "accretion" case. (Both are federal labor standards.) Well, severance is a federal labor doctrine and requires the twelve factor test to make the determination. That would be the same twelve factor test that neither the federal judge nor the Tenth Circuit would allow us to apply in court.

Like the district court judge, the Tenth Circuit panel relied on cases that were fifty or more years old, ignoring modern day cases that supported us.

The Tenth Circuit panel upheld the district court judge's decision and found no fault with the case despite all the procedural abuses we had identified.

We filed a request for en banc rehearing, asking the entire Tenth Circuit court of Appeals to review this case. According to the clerk for that court, not one single judge on the Circuit voted to rehear the case. I must assume that they are all quite comfortable with this sort of third world justice. The same goes for the U.S. Supreme Court. They turned down our petition for writ of certiorari. One of my coworkers is from Colombia, a country noted for its corrupt courts. He shook his head in dismay and said that this sort of thing happens all the time in his native country. He did point out, though, that Colombian judges are more adept at covering their tracks.

Our subsequent judicial misconduct complaints were reviewed by the Judicial Council of the Tenth Circuit. Three of the nine judges on the council were the same judges we had complained about and we have no evidence that any of them recused themselves. We know that the Chief Judge did not although I filed a complaint about her lack of oversight of her court. The complaints were all dismissed as having no merit.

It is neither Sensible's role, nor that of the courts, to decide how workers can best utilize their union rights. This elitism demonstrates why Ivy League judges do not necessarily make the best judges. The district court judge in our case was a Stanford graduate. This Ivy Leaguer even questioned whether, under the NLRA, workers have any individual rights. This strange view is clearly contrary to the law and is based on his ideological belief that the NLRA is unconstitutional. As I pointed out earlier, he belongs to an organization that does not believe in the NLRA, claiming it ignores individual rights. (I know this is contradictory.) However, he refused to recognize that the NLRA was balanced with amendments, by a Republican Congress in the 1940’s, protecting workers from unions as well as companies. We deserved an impartial fact finder and not a judge who was clearly trying to reach a result to serve the senator that nominated him.

So, I say it again. Unless the judiciary reforms itself, they should not receive a pay raise greater than the military. The saved money should be used to make sure our wounded veterans receive proper care in military medical facilities that are free from mold and our active service personnel have adequate housing for their families.

bombsquadron6
09-06-2008, 05:11 PM
This debate is over and I will leave it to the reader to decide if the federal judiciary deserves a large salary increase. The Senate bill, S.1638, and corresponding House of Representatives bill, H.R.3753, have both been scheduled for debate but neither bill has been assigned a date for the debates. It would appear, at least to me, that Congress intends to wait, probably until after the November elections, and pass these bills without debate. I may be wrong about that but giving an enormous raise to the judiciary, at a time when we are at war, military men and women returning from that war are facing deficient medical and psychological care and American families, civilian and military alike, are struggling economically is bound to have repercussions at the ballot box. Logically, members of Congress will wait and then pass a judicial salary increase bill after the elections. They figure we voters have short attentions spans and will forget before the 2010 elections.

I have written to every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and many members of the House Judiciary Committee as well as the sponsors and cosponsors of these bills, alerting them to the case I described on this blog. I have no illusion that this case is more important than any other or that it is the greatest injustice ever committed by the federal courts. Far from it. I only maintain that we documented judicial abuses in a way that few others have. This case should be examined as an egregious example of judicial abuse and corruption. The unwillingness of anyone in the judiciary to hold the judges involved accountable speaks volumes about the underlying lack of integrity in our court system today and it extends right up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts must be held responsible for U.S. courts no less than a military officer who is held responsible for the actions of those under his command. Further, Justice Stephen Breyer, who has oversight of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, completely abdicated his responsibility to hold the judges in his circuit to the highest ethical standards. It is particularly unconscionable because Justice Breyer was the chairman of the committee that wrote the report entitled Implementation of the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 (which was actually written in 2006 based on the 1980 Congressional act.) This report was specifically intended to address judicial misconduct and disability. Nothing that was recommended in this guide was done for us. In fact, we couldn't even get the Tenth Circuit to provide evidence that the seemingly senile judge on our panel was cognizant. This arrogance on the part of federal judges is the real state of the judiciary.

What can you as an individual do? Well, elections are coming up and your Senators and Representative in Congress are listening. Contact them. At least as far as this blog is concerned, tell them to have debates on the two bills identified above. I have asked each of the Congressional members I contacted to allow the attorney who handled our case to testify about the unscrupulous actions of the judges involved and what happened to us in court. Any real debate on the subject of a judicial salary increase requires testimony from those who have been wronged by the judicial system. So write your senators and representative and send a link to this thread with a request that the attorney representing the plaintiffs in this case be allowed to testify. They are aware of the case and the name of the attorney. You can email the letter, which is at the end of this post, to them.

I did receive some negative feedback throughout this debate. It didn't happen much and I was grateful for the positive feedback, particularly from Hawk. But I do reflect on criticism and take it constructively. The Military Times website and discussion board is a great place to debate issues and connect with wonderful people. I am grateful to have found it and all of you. As my father used to say, "Be of good cheer."

Please send the following to your senators and representative in Congress requesting that the bills to raise the salary for the judiciary be debated. You may consider adding that the money would be better spent helping military personnel and their families.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____________________

Dear (Senator or Congressman/woman);

I ask that debates be held on S.1638 and H.R.3753, The Federal Judicial Salary Restoration Act of 2008. Federal judges must hold themselves and their peers to the highest ethical standards and unless they do so are not deserving of a pay raise. These debates must include testimony from those who have been wronged by the judiciary. I ask that the attorney who represented the plaintiffs in the case referenced below be allowed to testify about their experience in federal district court in Utah and later at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The judicial misconduct complaints that describe the abuses by these courts can be accessed at http://utahtransitworker.org/id18.html. Judges who behave as the judges did in this case, and judges who tolerate this sort of conduct, are certainly not deserving of a raise. The Utah district court case number is 2:04-cv-00985-PGC and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals case numbers are 05-4079 and 05-4222. Further, an excellent debate on the subject of S.1638 and H.R.3753 can be read on the Military Times website (militarytimes.com) at http://www.militarytimes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1564520.

Sincerely, (name or electronic signature)
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____________________

bombsquadron6
09-14-2008, 07:27 PM
Current Salaries for Federal Judges

1.- Federal district court judges make the same salary as members of Congress; $169,300 per year.
2.- Federal appeals court judges earn $179,500 per year.
3.- An associate justice on the United States Supreme Court earns an annual salary of $208,100.
4.- The Chief Justice of United States Supreme Court earns $217,400 per year.
These salaries reflect the 1.7% pay increase that went into effect last year. See http://www.uscourts.gov/salarychart.pdf


Senate Bill 1638 and House of Representatives Bill 3753; The Federal Judicial Salary Restoration Act of 2008

Senate Bill 1638 and House Bill 3753, as currently amended, would raise the above annual salaries by approximately 29%. Further, these bills would allow federal judges and justices to receive cost of living adjustments or COLA's, estimated at between 2.5 and 3.0 percent, each year without further Congressional approval. These bills would also increase retirement benefits for federal judges. My source for these figures is the Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/90xx/doc9092/s1638.pdf

This salary adjustment and the additional benefits might be more acceptable to Americans if there was any effort by the judiciary to hold judges accountable for their actions. The judiciary will point to the Breyer Report and claim that reforms have been enacted but this report was in effect before our appeals were completely over and before I filed the judicial misconduct complaints. None of the recommendations or standards in the report were implemented for us. Reforms on paper do not mean that reforms have been enacted. We found no judge at any level who objected to the abuses we endured so I must conclude that abuse is tolerated by the judiciary, including Justice Breyer and Chief Justice Roberts.

For the record, I am still waiting for someone with knowledge of the legal system and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to tell me that our case was handled properly and without bias. Even Sensible refused to defend the procedural actions of the judges involved. Although our judicial misconduct complaints were ruled to be without merit, no one, of the many people who have been alerted to this within the judiciary and congress, has ever defended the actions of these judges or claimed the case was handled impartially.

Federal judges have incredible power over us and if they choose, can guide a case to a predetermined outcome by using and abusing procedural rules. This is precisely what happened to us and precisely why they should be denied a raise until they place ethics above personal gain or ambition. From my perspective there is no reason to believe that what happened to us was an aberration. If it was then at least some of the judges on the Tenth Circuit would have voted to rehear the case. None did, so the only conclusion that can be drawn is that federal judges turn a blind eye to misconduct to protect one another. Accountability, Reform and then a Raise. Please consider sending the e-letter which is in my previous post to your Representative and Senators in Congress.

This past Friday, September 11, a Metrolink commuter train in Los Angeles apparently ran past an advance approach signal, an approach signal and then a red stop signal. As everyone is aware, a horrific head on collision occurred with a Union Pacific freight train that probably had the priority to be on the section of single track where the accident occurred. Since the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration have not yet issued their final reports I will not speculate about the reasons that this happened. However, I will point out the obvious. Compliance with signals and switches is critically important on railroads. During our lawsuit we pointed out that the company and the union had been ignoring glaring safety deficiencies of a similar nature. One of the reasons we wanted to be able to choose our own representation was to address these issues. None of the judges were interested in our arguments about safety. We were denied the ability to conduct discovery on safety issues and our affidavits were ignored. Protecting the safety and well being of the public and workers should be of concern to the judiciary but apparently it is not.

Sensible
09-19-2008, 04:38 AM
"Even Sensible refused to defend the procedural actions of the judges involved."

That is right, Lisa. Since only those involved in the litigation actually know what happened procedurally, it would be folly for me to comment. If I did, you would come back with a retort based on "facts" that I have no knowledge of and thus could not refute. However, it is equally plausible that your whole thread is nothing more than an effort to get back at the federal judges who ruled against you.

hawk71049
09-19-2008, 06:04 AM
.

"Even Sensible refused to defend the procedural actions of the judges involved."

That is right, Lisa. Since only those involved in the litigation actually know what happened procedurally, it would be folly for me to comment. If I did, you would come back with a retort based on "facts" that I have no knowledge of and thus could not refute. However, it is equally plausible that your whole thread is nothing more than an effort to get back at the federal judges who ruled against you.

Sensible,

Personally, I think you are sooo full of yourself, you have had more than enough time to prove or disprove this case, and you come back with yet… more ambiguous statements!
What do you think?

~ Does Sensible have any facts here, to support his conclusion?
~ Will he continue to display his leadership through his continued bs.
~ He speaks about all his so valued time to do the research in this case… more bs, how much time has he wasted in his continued rants?
~ Is there a reason why he will not research this case kind of make you think.. humm, wonder why?
~ Is it plausible that he may be more involved in this case than he lets on?
~ Sure looks suspicious to me... if it smells like a duck... looks like a duck.. then…
~ You decide for yourself!
~ Will he continue to miss lead the guests here on this forum? and discredit this lady, with his continued rants which go on and on.

~ We will see in the next chapter of~ as this world turns.. by none other than.. Sensible

Lisa has went to the extend to update her web site… provide links, and other documents that support her case.

Then Sensible comes back with this crap!

Who is he kidding?

Get a grip here Mr. Sir, you are quickly losing my respect…

Shit or get off the pot… hawk


.

Sensible
09-19-2008, 07:04 PM
You do not know me, hawk. However, talk about a dunderhead! You accept things people report on the internet as "facts" when you have no idea what really happened. No one would have no way of really knowing what happened without conducting exhaustive research and possibly even hiring an investigator. Ten to one you or someone you are close to lost some case in the past and you want to vicariously take it out on the entire federal judiciary. What a sad case you are.

Sensible
09-20-2008, 12:07 AM
I would add, hawk, that when I talk about research what I mean is that the government and the union and the transit authority put forward cogent arguments in their briefs as to why Lisa's case should be dismissed. So did Lisa. So, the only way I could tell you if the court rules correctly would be to research this area of the law and update it thoroughly. You cannot expect a blogger to do that -- that is bs.

However, on the issue of hiring an investigator, that pertains to another kettle of fish. Lisa's earlier entry refers to what she called the procedural history of the case. Well, that is not really reflected by the court filings. The only way one could really know procedurally the timing that she mentions would be to interview the judge, the Labor Depart.'s lawyer, the union's lawyer, the transit authority's lawyer and Lisa's lawyer. Again, that is bs. In any event, how would I even know who was telling the truth?

By nature, I am a skeptic. I am particularly skeptical of anything I read on the internet. Just google "photos" and "aliens and you will receive millions of hits. So will have links to supposed real photos. That does not mean a single photo that is referenced pertains to a real alien.

A flaw in Lisa's logic is that she thinks the whole federal judiciary should continue to receive is less than inflation pay increases because it needs to be reformed. She says the military has discipline so when abuses happen there, it should not affect the accross the board pay our soldiers receive. Well, that is also arguable. For example, for the Iraqis raped and killed by the marines who went bezerk, do you think the punishment the military imposed was fair? If not, should the whole military be denied a raise 16 years in a row less than the inflation rate. Not that I really want to go down that trail, but I just want to point out that it is never fair to punish thousands of people for the alleged misconduct of a few. That is true whether you are talking about judges, doctors, transit workers or soldiers.

bombsquadron6
09-21-2008, 10:27 PM
There is no reason to begin another debate about the Congressional bills to raise the salary of the federal judiciary by 29%. But I will respond to Sensible's most recent posts suggesting that I am misrepresenting the facts or not revealing certain aspects of the case. At no time did I ever make any allegation that was not backed up by the many court filings or the transcripts from the hearings. I stand by everything I have written in this debate and invite anyone to disprove me. One need merely look at the docket to determine the validity of many of my assertions.

Sensible states that, "No one would have no way of really knowing what happened without conducting exhaustive research and possibly even hiring an investigator." Oh come on, Sensible. The legal system isn't that mysterious. He would like readers to believe that no one but an attorney or a judge could ever understand how the judicial system is supposed to work and that what I claim was misconduct and corruption really wasn't because the judges must have had good reasons for doing what they did. Yet he offers nothing to back this up and won't defend the specific actions of the judges which I have cited to. And in his most recent post he suggests that my claims are the equivalent of UFO sightings.

Sensible reduces the whole debate to this quote from his last post: "However, it is equally plausible that your whole thread is nothing more than an effort to get back at the federal judges who ruled against you." It would be so easy to dismiss what happened to us in court if Sensible could convince readers that I am simply malicious and vindictive. My argument has always been that the judiciary does not deserve a salary increase until they demonstrate to Americans that they will hold themselves accountable. My motive is justice, not just for me, but for every American. Change only comes about when we demand it. It is reasonable that Americans who are being asked to provide a very generous salary increase for federal judges, at a time when we are at war and the nation's economy is precarious at best, should demand accountability from these judges. Sensible seems to argue that the judiciary is above reproach and they owe us no assurance that they will hold themselves to the highest ethical standards. The federal judiciary has little or no regulation. Everyone has seen how well a lack of regulation worked in the business, financial and real estate worlds.

Since Sensible is advocating for federal judges and particularly for his friend, the magistrate, I would ask what any federal judges have done recently to assure the public that the judiciary holds itself accountable and is above reproach? Does the magistrate write letters to the editor? Does she take a stand publicly? For that matter, does Chief Justice John Roberts? I suspect that they like having so little oversight. But they want us to give them a no-questions-asked pay raise.

Hawk has every right to be fed up with Sensible's posts. Sensible dismisses Hawk as a "dunderhead" who believes anything he reads on the internet. Yet Sensible is unwilling or unable to refute a single one of my allegations of misconduct although I have provided all the court filings he requested. I will remind readers that I have made some very serious allegations and if they were untrue I could, and probably would, be held accountable. Can Sensible be certain that this case has not undergone scrutiny of the type he claims would be necessary to determine if the judges acted properly? Belittling Hawk rather than proving me wrong doesn't exactly enhance Sensible's credibility.

He also makes a hypothetical argument that since some military personnel have been known to commit crimes and even atrocities then all military personnel should be denied a salary increase. The difference is and always has been accountability. The U.S. military is under intense scrutiny by the government, the public and the world. When serious mistakes happen it is a foregone conclusion that it will be publicized and those responsible will be punished. Not so with the judiciary.

Senate bill 1638 and House of Representatives bill 3753 are both waiting to have dates scheduled for debates. I have requested that members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees permit the attorney who represented us in court, Daniel Moquin, to testify at those debates. The case would then receive the kind of scrutiny that Sensible insists is necessary to determine if the judges acted improperly. He should have no objection to this proposal. Congress is a deliberative body and should allow the testimony of those who have been wronged by the judicial system when deciding the merits of a pay raise for federal judges. So once again I ask that readers of this debate email the following to their Senators and Representative in Congress.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Dear (Senator or Congressman/woman);

I ask that debates be held on S.1638 and H.R.3753, The Federal Judicial Salary Restoration Act of 2008. Federal judges must hold themselves and their peers to the highest ethical standards and unless they do so are not deserving of a pay raise. These debates must include testimony from those who have been wronged by the judiciary. I ask that the attorney who represented the plaintiffs in the case referenced below, Daniel Moquin, be allowed to testify about their experience in federal district court in Utah and later at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The judicial misconduct complaints that describe the abuses by these courts can be accessed at http://utahtransitworker.org/id18.html. Judges who behave as the judges did in this case, and judges who tolerate this sort of conduct, are certainly not deserving of a raise. The Utah district court case number is 2:04-cv-00985-PGC and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals case numbers are 05-4079 and 05-4222. Further, an excellent debate on the subject of S.1638 and H.R.3753 can be read on the Military Times website (militarytimes.com) at http://www.militarytimes.com/forums/....php?t=1564520.

Sincerely, (name or electronic signature)
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Keep in mind that private citizens are often invited to give testimony at Congressional hearings. Mr. Moquin would be an excellent witness and would be able to give insight into this issue that I am unable to. Demanding accountability from our government is a fundamental right which we, as citizens, should all exercise. Once again, thank you for giving this debate your consideration.

Sensible
09-22-2008, 01:05 AM
Ms. Burke writes: "Sensible dismisses Hawk as a "dunderhead" who believes anything he reads on the internet. Yet Sensible is unwilling or unable to refute a single one of my allegations of misconduct although I have provided all the court filings he requested."

As I mentioned, the court filings provided prove nothing other than that both sides presented cogent legal arguments.

Ms. Burke likes to mix apples and oranges and apply the same "reasoning" to both her positions. Part of her allegations pertain to the procedural history of her case. However, that is not reflected by any official record - just her rendition. Now, I am not going to sit here and call her a liar. However, I will say that there is no way to verify her allegations based on the filings she has provided. Given that fact, and the fact that she obviously has a grudge, then I would ask the reader to be very careful about writing letters on her behalf when the whole premise of her claims is high questionable.

Her 9-14-08 post gives the history of the pay increases provided to the federal judiciary. I ask you, the reader, to look at the link. What you will see is shocking. No pay increases at all for 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997. No increase at all for 1999. No increase since 1991 equal to the inflation rate. What a deplorable situation this is creating for the federal judges, as well as persons whose pay increases are linked to their pay (e.g., U.S. Attorneys, Federal Public Defenders, federal administrative law judges). What any fair minded person would see when they look at those pay increases is a scenario that puts federal judges in the uneviable position where their pay becomes less and less and less relative to the cost of goods and services.

So I ask you, the reader, do not be Ms. Burke's stooge. She wanted to form her own separate union for who knows what reason, separate and apart from the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union she already belonged to. She wants you to believe that the federal district judge, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Labor Department, the Utah Transit Authority, the Amalgamated union and at least one US Senator from Utah are all involved in some conspiracy to prevent her and a group of Utah rail transit workers from breaking away from a longstanding union and forming their own. And based on that, she wants the reader to stick it to thousands of people on the basis of an unverified story. Don't buy it. What she is doing does not pass the smell test.

bombsquadron6
09-22-2008, 02:35 AM
I'm trying to root out corruption in the judiciary. Sensible wants a nearly 30% pay raise for his lady friend, the magistrate, who is already making nearly $170,000 a year. Who has the petty agenda here.

By sending the e-letter and requesting that Congress allow Mr. Moquin to testify about our case, readers are not taking sides. They are simply allowing members of Congress to examine the case and consider our position that the judiciary should make serious reforms before being granted a raise. I am unclear why Sensible is opposed to that.

By the way, Sensible, like most other employees, I dropped out of the union some time ago. It is not even a legitimate union.

Sensible
09-22-2008, 02:55 AM
I will be more pointed by what I mean about Lisa's unsubstantiated allegations regarding the procedural history of her case. Here are some of the points she has made that have not been verified:

"He [the district judge] tried to hold a hearing on issues without notice to us" - not shown by the written record provided.

"In an attempt to prevent us from appealing his denial of a preliminary injunction, he refused to sign his own order, which was nothing more than a minute entry on the docket." -- Again, not shown by the record.

"At all three hearings in front of this judge he handed out his tentative decision before he had even heard the oral arguments." - not shown by the written record.

"At the beginning of the third hearing he issued another of his notorious tentative orders granting summary judgment to the company and the union." - not shown by the record.

"It was clear to us that the judge would stop at nothing to shut the case down procedurally." - not shown by the written record.

"Despite the strength of our case he obviously had no intention of ruling for us." - not shown by the written record.

"He [the district judge] just rushed out the old tentative order and pretended he had not seen the amended complaint." - not supported by the record provided.

"The judge decided a complicated labor law case, not by use of accepted NLRB tests and case law, but by summary judgment." --- Well, I have seen many, many complicated cases resolved by summary judgment, including one I handled involving the cost of removing 60 pipelines that were underneath the Houston Ship Channel (the Army COE wanted to dredge the channel deeper to make Houston a deep water port). You can just imagine the staggering cost of that. The issue in an summary judgement proceeding is not whether a case is complicated. The issue is whether there is a genuine issue of material fact on some point upon which the lawsuit hinges.

Here is the bottom line. Unfortunately, almost everyone who loses a lawsuit feels screwed and blames the judge. That is why we have hundreds of thousands of people, if not more, who hate judges and could care less if they never see a fair raise and see a dramatic drop in their standard of living. Ms. Burke is one of these types. You can see it in the seething emotion she expresses towards the judge in her case. You can see it in the illogic of her position that thousands of people who financially depend on judges (and other federal employees whose rate of pay increase is tied to the judges' rate of pay increase) should be continually financially punished because she was allegedly mistreated in her case.

Sensible
09-22-2008, 03:04 AM
Regarding the $170K, the amont a magistrate receives is about 10K less than that. In any event, whether you are talking about $170K or $160K, what we have to remember is that we need to be careful about plays toward encouraging jealously. My response is, first, that amount is not near as much as it was just a few years ago as a result of inflation. Second, it is far less than the judges themselves were making 15 years ago because of the rate of inflation and their failure to receive fair raises. Third, that amount is peanuts compared to what people with comparable experience make in the legal profession who handle far less substantial matters. Even a junior partner in an average law firm makes far more. You should compare what we pay our federal judges to what they are paid in Western Europe and in Austrailia. We are way, way behind those countries.

bombsquadron6
09-22-2008, 03:20 AM
We made all of these allegations in our written filings to the Tenth Circuit (not the Sixth as you stated.) Opposing counsel never disputed any of them in their filings. The unsigned minute entry was part of the record in our appeal to the Tenth Circuit. It is on the district court docket as well as our motion requesting a signed order. The district court transcripts are also available if you are interested.

Does Sensible not find it curious that the district court judge resigned two months after I sent the misconduct complaints to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees?

What possible reason could Sensible have for not wanting our attorney to testify about the case in front of Congress? If I am wrong about any of this it would be extremely embarrassing for Mr. Moquin as well as myself. But I stand by everything I have said. Have Mr. Moquin testify and let Congress decide.

Sensible
09-22-2008, 03:59 AM
Well, he probably resigned for the same reasons most people do. He probably wanted a job that paid better.

I guess the only issue I have with your lawyer testifying is, again, the illogic of equating mistreatment in one case with the contention the whole federal judiciary is corrupt. Also, the point that withholding fair annual pay increases is the way to root out the alleged corruption. Its not like these people are paid like CEOs. They just want to be treated fairly by getting reasonable annual increases -- just like people in the GS system receive.

I am sure there is some corruption in the federal judiciary -- just like every other institution known to man. From my observation, however, the system in place works. Judge McBride in Fort Worth was precluded from hearing any cases at all for a year by the 5th Circuit due to his unprofessional behavior. From what I hear, he is far more professional now that he was figuratively publicly undressed by his breathern. Likewise, I have an update on the Galveston district judge accused of sexual harrassment by his case manager. He has been indicted!

The best way to deal with any corruption in the federal judiciary is the system we have now. Not as you suggested by the Supreme Court holding hearings, or some body comprised of private citizens or by withholding fair annual pay raises that hurt the innocent. All of those methods would weaken the independence of the judiciary, and would I fear backfire. No, we want a strong and independent judiciary available to handle legal crisis that come our way (e.g., Watergate). The system we have now works if it is implemented. Further, we need to follow the lead the Founding Fathers gave us. Under our system of checks and balances they gave the Executive Branch the power to prosecute. Believe me when I say, from my experience, DOJ plays no favorites in this area. Just ask Sen. Stevens, a Republican, who is being prosecuted by a Republican Administration. Similarly, the Houston Judge is a Republican appointee and he is being prosecuted by a Republican Administration. The other route is, of course, to file articles of impeachment in the Senate, as was done successfully with a New Orleans federal district judge a few years ago. My observation is that most prosecutors look at corrupt judges as trophies and would like nothing better to take one down. I do not know what the problem is in the 10th Circuit, but I have seen the 5th Circuit again and again take action against judges down here by forcing district judges to move and/or precluding them from hearing cases and/or publishing decisions that are intended to embarrass the judge who acted improperly.

Sensible
09-22-2008, 05:53 AM
Let me ask you another pointed question, Lisa. Are you planning on taking another run at your lawsuit? All you would need is a little factual variation to get around the res judicata argument. (For the reader, that means "thing adjudicated," and the law does not allow the exact same case to be adjudicated twice)

I would say this, if you are planning to do such a thing, getting the readers to send a bunch of letters and giving testimony before Congress is a good strategy. My experience is that most federal judges will not care if a litigant has engaged in that kind of activity. However, I do believe that there may be a very small number who would be intimidated -- particularly new appointees. That might give you an edge in winning your lawsuit.

bombsquadron6
09-22-2008, 07:11 PM
Since Sensible has pointed out that he cannot confirm some of my allegations because they happened in the courtroom and are not reflected in the docket or the filings, I am taking the hard copies of the transcripts from the district court hearings to a document company that will turn them into electronic versions. They will be online shortly so anyone who cares to may confirm the veracity of my claims. Then Sensible can read for himself how we were treated in court.

I am perplexed why Sensible is now giving me legal advice in the event that we re-file the case. At present there are no plans to do so but our attorney has made it clear that if there is any retaliation by the company or the illegitimate union we would. Right now there is a truce. Part of the reason we do not re-file is because we have no guarantee that whichever judge is assigned the case would be impartial. This goes for the Tenth Circuit as well.

The case was never closed properly and if the courts were concerned about justice, we maintain that they could re-open the case themselves. The amended complaint was never ruled on as, of course, it should have been. The Tenth Circuit panel knew perfectly well that an amended complaint must be ruled on but to give cover to the district court judge they upheld his decision and failed to remand for a ruling on it. So it is still out there, unresolved. The district court can reopen it if they suddenly care so much about justice.

Sensible
09-22-2008, 07:45 PM
Well, my pervious post was not intended as legal advice. It was a comment on the fact that you are implementing a good strategy if you wish to refile.

On the issue of the amended complaint, what you say is true only if the district court had jurisdiction when you filed the amended complaint. If at the time you amended your complaint jurisdiction had passed to the Court of Appeals, then you are barred from amending your complaint.

bombsquadron6
09-23-2008, 08:07 AM
Sensible,
The amended complaint was filed at 11:48 p.m. on Sunday night, August 14, 2005. It was posted on the docket at 9:17 a.m. the following morning, Monday, August 15, 2005. The district court judge issued his ruling granting summary judgment less than five hours later, at 2:13 p.m. August 15, 2005. We received electronic notification of the docketing and the granting of summary judgement, which is how I know the exact times. It was never disputed by the opposing counsel that the amended complaint was filed before the judge granted summary judgment closing the case. Review the docket, numbers 82, 83 and 84. You have just confirmed what our attorney has told us all along. That amended complaint has never been ruled on and the district court, if they had any ethics at all, would reopen the case and rule on it. But we do not expect that to happen.

We maintain that the district court judge only ruled when he did because of the amended complaint. He intended not to issue a ruling for as long as possible, preventing us from appealing, but our attorney called his bluff. Keep in mind it had been nearly three months since the final hearing and he just happens to rule against us immediately after we filed the amended complaint? What are the chances of that happening randomly? We filed the appeal to the Tenth Circuit one week later, on August 22, 2005.

Reread the Tenth circuit filings and you will see how desperately the opposing counsel tried to convince everyone that the district court judge had not seen the amended complaint. During the hearing in Denver one of the judges on the Tenth Circuit panel was yelling at our attorney because of it. She was howling mad because he had demonstrated that the district court judge was biased against us.

Some justice.

Sensible
09-23-2008, 03:32 PM
Well, there is of course another issue here. Under federal law there is a doctrine of implied findings. Basically, it means that if the court's judgment impliedly encompassed the cause of action alleged, then the court does not have to specifically reference that cause of action in its decision. It is all part of the harmless error rule. I wish I could say this was simple, but its not. Unfortunately, the law sets forth rules, and then there are exceptions to that rule, and then there are exceptions to the exceptions. Its hard for me to say whether the implied findings doctrine applies here because I am not a labor lawyer and, as you say, labor law is a complicated area of the law. In fact, only a small number of attorneys practice it. I am not familiar with this area of the law and I have never had a labor law case grace my desk.

I know its stinks when judges become overly stern in their dealings with lawyers. I have seen that happen at every level -- in fact, when I was a pup I recall vividly a county court at law judge blasting me over an innocent miscommunication. She accused me of lying to her when all I was doing is reporting on what was on a docket sheet (little did I know she had two docket sheets, and one said something different from the other). The judge on the 10th Circuit should have known better, but alas, egos do surface at times. However, to take the leap in logic that all is the result of corruption is a little much. I mean, these district judges get reversed all of the time -- sometimes on unpopular issues. That is just the way the practice of law works -- its much like a contact sport unfortunately.

What you may perceive as corruption sounds like it could be what I have observed many times over the years: a judge leaning towards ruling a certain way based on the written filings alone. The decision has not actually been made, but the judge is leaning a certain way. Then, when counsel shows up in court, the judge verbally takes a position antagonistic towards the side he is leaning against to see if that side has cogent arguments to support its position. Its basically a probing action meant to flush out legal positions. This happens all of the time. Its not corruption -- its just trying to force one side to put forth its best arguments. I do not know if that is what happened in your case, I am just talking globally here -- the way law is practiced at all levels.

bombsquadron6
09-26-2008, 09:44 AM
What you may perceive as corruption sounds like it could be what I have observed many times over the years: a judge leaning towards ruling a certain way based on the written filings alone. The decision has not actually been made, but the judge is leaning a certain way. Then, when counsel shows up in court, the judge verbally takes a position antagonistic towards the side he is leaning against to see if that side has cogent arguments to support its position. Its basically a probing action meant to flush out legal positions. This happens all of the time. Its not corruption -- its just trying to force one side to put forth its best arguments. I do not know if that is what happened in your case, I am just talking globally here -- the way law is practiced at all levels.

Our attorney said the same thing to us after the hearing in the Tenth Circuit. He remained very cool and withstood the belligerence of this judge as she yelled at him. (I am not overstating this.) All she cared about was the amended complaint that we had filed. She knew that we had demonstrated that the district court judge was biased against us. She loudly asserted that judges often make rulings without having seen all the filings. "It happens all the time!," she bellowed at our attorney. Well, no it doesn't although it may be true in her court in the northern district of Oklahoma. (She is a district court judge but was invited to be on the Tenth Circuit panel.) She never asked one question about labor law or anything related to the substance of the case. She was only there apparently, to defend the district court judge.

Of the two other judges on the panel, one was ninety years old at the time of the hearing and had been retired, (senior status) since 1984. He showed not the slightest sign that he knew what the case was about. He had to be helped to his seat and just gazed out vacantly throughout the hearing. In our misconduct complaints we asked for evidence that this judge was cognizant of the issues in the case but the Tenth Circuit just ignored this very reasonable request. We have every right to be suspicious of this judge's placement on that panel.

The third judge on the panel was the only one who was a regular circuit court judge. Of course, he was employing the court clerk who had recently been working for the district court judge. We think this clerk worked on the case both in district and circuit court and we said so. No one ever disputed it. But hey, conflicts of interest don't seem to bother anyone at the Tenth Circuit. As I pointed out earlier, I filed misconduct complaints against the district court judge, the three judges on the panel and the chief judge of the Tenth Circuit for not supervising her court. The Judicial Council, which judges the merits of the complaints, was made up of nine members, three of whom were the same judges we had complained about. The administrative officer of the Tenth Circuit confirmed that the chief judge did not recuse herself from the council even though I had complained about her and the administrative officer would not tell me if the other two judges did or not. The officer was very evasive. So it is pretty clear that the judges I complained about decided the merits of the complaints. No big surprise, they were all dismissed. None of the other judges on the Tenth Circuit seemed to care. So this is what passes for justice in the Tenth Circuit.

If the judiciary were as honest as Sensible maintains they are then what happened to us would not have been tolerated. But it was and we found no one in the judiciary who gave a damn. If they had they would have taken steps to correct it. In fact, they could do that now but it won't happen.

No Sensible. We want our attorney to testify when Congress holds debates on the judicial salary increase bills. Let the judicial booster club explain to the American public why this sort of thing is tolerated and why these same judges deserve a pay raise.

Sensible
09-26-2008, 04:57 PM
I agree that the chief judge should have recused. Did you appeal the judicial complaint finding of no misconduct on that basis?

bombsquadron6
09-26-2008, 08:52 PM
The complaint against the Chief Judge of the Tenth Circuit, by my own admission then and now, did not meet the standards in the Breyer report and I knew it would be dismissed. However, I wanted it on record that we objected to her lack of oversight of her court. Also we wanted to see if she would recuse herself from judging the merits of the other two complaints, against the district court judge and the Tenth Circuit panel. Those did both meet the standards and no, the Chief judge did not recuse herself. She signed both dismissals. What she did when my complaint against her was discussed by the judicial panel I do not know. Another judge signed that dismissal. All I know is that an administrative officer of the Tenth Circuit told me that she did not recuse herself from judging the merits of the other two complaints despite my having filed a complaint against her as well.

By the time we found all this out the complaints had already been dismissed. Do you think I didn't send copies and a letter of complaint to everyone, including the administrative office of the Supreme Court? Of course I did. Do you think anyone cared? Of course not. I just got letters from everyone saying, "There's nothing we can do." The office of the clerk of the Supreme Court wrote back saying I should file complaints with the Tenth Circuit. Yeah, duh. Did that.

Do not try to convince me that these courts care about justice for average Americans. My experience demonstrated exactly the opposite. There is no penalty for these judges and they act accordingly.

Just this morning there is a big front page story about six Air Force Generals, two Army Generals and nine Air Force colonels who have been reprimanded for their roles in the August 2006, mistaken shipment of nuclear missile components to Taiwan from Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah (thirty miles north of Salt Lake City.) One of them, Brigadier General Kathleen Close, is the current commander of Hill AFB. But General Close did not even take command of that base until after the missile parts had been mistakenly sent overseas. Yet she is being held responsible along with the other brass. As every military man and woman knows, this is a career killer. None of them will ever be promoted now and several have already resigned or put in for retirement. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has indicated that others will also be held responsible. Fair? Maybe, maybe not. But that is the military. Accountability even if it is draconian.

Do you see anything like this in the judiciary? Hell, no. I'd like to see Chief Justice John Roberts take some responsibility for misconduct in the federal courts but that is laughable. Justice Breyer? He does have oversight of the Tenth Circuit, after all. Him take responsiblity? No way.

Someone needs to stand up and say these things to Congress. So I ask everyone again to send that e-letter to your Congressional reps asking that our attorney be allowed to testify at the future debates on a judicial pay raise. Liberty and justice for all. Thank you.

Sensible
09-27-2008, 03:42 AM
Lisa, there is a big difference between Generals and federal judges. Judges are supposed to be indepenent. Generals are not. In fact, our world would be a very dangerous place if they were; we need to have Generals accountable to civil authority, so we do not end up with a military junta running things.

Now, on the issue of career killer, lets just say that the judiciary has its own form of that. Do you think Judge McBride or Judge Kent will ever advance their careers beyond the district court? Of course not.

bombsquadron6
10-01-2008, 07:05 PM
I recently posted the transcripts from the three district court hearings on the http://utahtransitworker.org website in the "Lawsuit" section. In the next few days I will address each of the criticisms that Sensible made. He said that certain of my allegations were not backed up by the court filings and to some degree he is correct, however, the transcripts do back up these allegations. I will address each one shortly.

In the meantime, I suspect that no Senator or Congressperson has any intention of pushing for a raise for the judiciary at a time when the nation's economy is near collapse. But at least federal judges have job security which is something that few of the rest of us have, including those well paid attorneys and clerks in the corporate world.

THELADYKT
10-01-2008, 09:00 PM
I recently posted the transcripts from the three district court hearings on the http://utahtransitworker.org website in the "Lawsuit" section. In the next few days I will address each of the criticisms that Sensible made. He said that certain of my allegations were not backed up by the court filings and to some degree he is correct, however, the transcripts do back up these allegations. I will address each one shortly.

In the meantime, I suspect that no Senator or Congressperson has any intention of pushing for a raise for the judiciary at a time when the nation's economy is near collapse. But at least federal judges have job security which is something that few of the rest of us have, including those well paid attorneys and clerks in the corporate world.

If they do approve a raise, it definitely shouldn't be any greater percentage than the military got.

Sensible
10-02-2008, 04:30 AM
I have a better idea. A formula should be derived based on the annual rates of increases the judges have received for the past 16 years. That formula should then be applied retroactively to military pay and the amount of military's current pay should then be recalculated.

If you did that, I think you would be astounded at what would happen to the amount of the paychecks our men and women in uniform receive.

bombsquadron6
10-08-2008, 06:42 PM
The following is from Sensible's post #119. He asserts that many of my allegations cannot be proven which is untrue. Several of the following can be proven just by a quick review of the docket for the case, such as my allegation that the judge handed out tentative decisions at the beginning of the hearings. He certainly did this. This particular judge was, indeed, noted for handing out his decision at the beginning of hearings, before he had even heard the oral arguments. Some justice.

So that you do not have to go hunting for the docket and corresponding filings, the links are provided again here.
Utah Transit Worker website; http://utahtransitworker.org/
The Lawsuit section; http://utahtransitworker.org/id11.html
District Court Docket; http://utahtransitworker.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/districtcourtutddocketreport.htm
District Court Transcripts; http://utahtransitworker.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/transcripts.pdf


I will be more pointed by what I mean about Lisa's unsubstantiated allegations regarding the procedural history of her case. Here are some of the points she has made that have not been verified:

"He [the district judge] tried to hold a hearing on issues without notice to us" - not shown by the written record provided.

"In an attempt to prevent us from appealing his denial of a preliminary injunction, he refused to sign his own order, which was nothing more than a minute entry on the docket." -- Again, not shown by the record.

"At all three hearings in front of this judge he handed out his tentative decision before he had even heard the oral arguments." - not shown by the written record.

"At the beginning of the third hearing he issued another of his notorious tentative orders granting summary judgment to the company and the union." - not shown by the record.

"It was clear to us that the judge would stop at nothing to shut the case down procedurally." - not shown by the written record.

"Despite the strength of our case he obviously had no intention of ruling for us." - not shown by the written record.

"He [the district judge] just rushed out the old tentative order and pretended he had not seen the amended complaint." - not supported by the record provided.

"The judge decided a complicated labor law case, not by use of accepted NLRB tests and case law, but by summary judgment." --- Well, I have seen many, many complicated cases resolved by summary judgment, including one I handled involving the cost of removing 60 pipelines that were underneath the Houston Ship Channel (the Army COE wanted to dredge the channel deeper to make Houston a deep water port). You can just imagine the staggering cost of that. The issue in an summary judgement proceeding is not whether a case is complicated. The issue is whether there is a genuine issue of material fact on some point upon which the lawsuit hinges.

Here is the bottom line. Unfortunately, almost everyone who loses a lawsuit feels screwed and blames the judge. That is why we have hundreds of thousands of people, if not more, who hate judges and could care less if they never see a fair raise and see a dramatic drop in their standard of living. Ms. Burke is one of these types. You can see it in the seething emotion she expresses towards the judge in her case. You can see it in the illogic of her position that thousands of people who financially depend on judges (and other federal employees whose rate of pay increase is tied to the judges' rate of pay increase) should be continually financially punished because she was allegedly mistreated in her case.

I have taken each of his points and explained where to find the proof that my claims are accurate. It is actually pretty easy if you just follow the cites I have provided.

1.- "He [the district judge] tried to hold a hearing on issues without notice to us" - not shown by the written record provided.

My response;
See District court docket entry #38 for January 24, 2005 hearing on plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction; Transcripts for that hearing; page 21, lines 1-25 through page 22, lines 1-10. Judge attempted to use the hearing to decide a motion to dismiss although our attorney had not even received the filing by the DOL.

2.- "In an attempt to prevent us from appealing his denial of a preliminary injunction, he refused to sign his own order, which was nothing more than a minute entry on the docket." -- Again, not shown by the record.

My response;
See District court docket #53. It is nothing but an unsigned minute entry.
District court docket #60. Our motion for a signed order. Judge refused to sign his own order as demonstrated by docket. No signed order ever received.

3.- "At all three hearings in front of this judge he handed out his tentative decision before he had even heard the oral arguments." - not shown by the written record.

My response;
See District court docket entry #38 for January 24, 2005 hearing on plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction;
"Minute entry: This matter is before the Court on plaintiff Carper's motion for a preliminary injunction 10. Prior to the hearing, the Court provides counsel it's tentative ruling, which is to deny the motion. After hearing arguments, the Court takes the matter under advisement. A ruling will be issued shortly. terminated deadlines;........(Entered: 01/24/2005)"

District court docket entry #75 for May 20 hearing on defendants' motion for summary judgment;
".......Prior to the hearing, the Court provides counsel with its tentative ruling which is to grant defendants motion for summary judgment, and deny plaintiffs motion for partial summary judgment. After hearing arguments, the Court allows briefing on the exhaustion of contractual remedies issue. Defendants brief is due 06/03/2005. Plaintiffs response is due 06/17/2005. taking under advisement 55 Motion for Summary Judgment, taking under advisement 57 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment......."
See also Transcripts;
January 24, 2005 hearing - Page 4, line 12 through page 5, line 1.
March 9, 2005 hearing- page 33, lines 1-4.
May 20, 2005 hearing- page 75, lines 18-23.

4.- "At the beginning of the third hearing he issued another of his notorious tentative orders granting summary judgment to the company and the union." - not shown by the record.

My response;
District court docket entry #75 for May 20 hearing on defendants' motion for summary judgment; See above.

5.- "It was clear to us that the judge would stop at nothing to shut the case down procedurally." - not shown by the written record.

My response;
District court docket #84. Judge denied discovery after we filed a 56(f) motion identifying numerous points that required discovery.

6.- "Despite the strength of our case he obviously had no intention of ruling for us." - not shown by the written record. also "He [the district judge] just rushed out the old tentative order and pretended he had not seen the amended complaint." - not supported by the record provided.

My response;
The third and final hearing in district court took place on May 20, 2005. Nearly three months went by with no decision by the judge. On Sunday August 14, 2005 we filed out amended complaint at 11:48 p.m. It was docketed (recorded) Monday at 9:17 a.m. The judge issued his order granting summary judgment against us that afternoon at 2:13 p.m. Just look at district court docket entries #75-84.

District court docket entry #84. Order granting summary judgment. it was the same order he issued at the beginning of the third hearing on May 20, 2005. It did not reflect the briefing he had ordered at that hearing, nor did it dismiss the supplemental claims against the union although our attorney had brought that up at the hearing. It was completely silent on the First Amendment violations committed by the company that we had identified in our filings. From this final order you would not even know that the third hearing had taken place.

7.- "The judge decided a complicated labor law case, not by use of accepted NLRB tests and case law, but by summary judgment." --- Well, I have seen many, many complicated cases resolved by summary judgment, including one I handled involving the cost of removing 60 pipelines that were underneath the Houston Ship Channel (the Army COE wanted to dredge the channel deeper to make Houston a deep water port). You can just imagine the staggering cost of that. The issue in an summary judgement proceeding is not whether a case is complicated. The issue is whether there is a genuine issue of material fact on some point upon which the lawsuit hinges.

My response;
This judge simply ignored an accepted 12 factor test for determining appropriate bargaining units, choosing instead to shut it down procedurally without giving us any ability to demonstrate that we were correct on the law. Why? Well, as I have pointed out before, if we had won then the company would have been out of compliance with federal labor law and they would have been ineligible for a $480 million full funding grant agreement from the federal government. Do you really think that the the powerful interests we challenged were going to let a couple of blue collar workers get in their way? I learned a lot about how the system really works from this case. I stand by everything I have written.

Sensible
10-11-2008, 06:42 PM
Let me make a few points. First, it appears the judge handled the motions in a somewhat disjointed fashion. Would I have handled it that way? No. However, that does not necessarily make his actions corrupt. Second, I cannot say he ignored a 12 point test because I do not know labor law. Third, it is suspicious the timing behind the filing of the amended complaint and the order of dismissal. However, I would have to speculate to say he actually saw it and decided to pour you out by pretending he had not seen the filing. Fourth, the implied findings doctrine may well have covered the causes of action in the amended complaint. It is hard for me to say without knowing more about labor law.

I do not blame you for being P.O.ed, Lisa. Therefore, I have something very important I want to share with you. I had an uncle I was very close to. He was almost like a second father to me. This man was a highly successful insurance agent in the Houston area in the 1970's. He had it all: a big home, expensive family vacations and cars. He started talking with a carrier about writing policies for school districts. He had a handshake deal with a national insurer but no signed written contract. Based on the handshake deal, he started writing binders for several school districts and collecting down payments on policy premiums. Something happened in the home office of the carrier, and they ended up denying having any relationship with the my uncle. He was promptly arrested for insurance fraud and put in jail. His face appeared at the top of the news on all three network affiliates. He went from a successful businessman to having to work with his hands in his mid-50's as a home remodeler. His reputation had been destroyed and he lost many of his friends. To make a long story short, He ended up taking the carrier to court for breach of contract and, after a jury trial, won a $10 million dollar verdict in 1981. The case was appealed. He lost the first round on appeal and the case was appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. Years passed and his life became totally consumed with this lawsuit. It was all he ever thought about it seemed. He became a very negative person and difficult to be around. Finally, in 1983 at age 62 he died of a heart attack.

The lesson here is try to distant yourself emotionally from the litigation. Take a lesson from the dead. I am convinced my uncle would have lived another 20 years at least if he had not become so personally embroiled in his lawsuit. It consumed him and ruined his health. Please do not make that same mistake. It is so easy to do, particularly when you feel you have been wronged. The emotional toll is is just not worth it. So, in all you do in your case, my advice is to look at it as a game. Then, tell yourself that no matter what you are not going to let your lawsuit dominate your daily thoughts. Do this by putting the matter in perspective: will anyone really care about this lawsuit 50 or 100 years from now. I think not.

This will be my last posting. I wish you the very best. Sensible

bombsquadron6
12-12-2008, 07:08 PM
This post is an update to the debate and is not intended to start a new debate. The auto bailout bill now in Congress includes language that would give federal judges a 2.8 percent cost of living adjustment for the coming year. Senator Harry Reid, D-NV insisted that the judicial pay raise go into the automaker loan measure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi D-CA, agreed to a request by Senator Reid to attach the pay raise for judges to the bailout bill.

However, this language is being stripped from the bill. Senator Claire McCaskill D-MO, was one of the most vocal opponents of the raise being included in the bailout bill. It became clear that it was impeding the progress of the bill and democrats themselves are removing it.

This COLA for federal judges is less than ten percent of the 29 percent raise contained in Senate bill 1638 and House bill 3753 which have not yet been enacted. I am going to refrain from making any comment on the inclusion of this raise in the auto bailout bill and suggest that the reader review the following links to news stories for more insight into this.

http://www.newstribune.com/articles/2008/12/12/politics_and_elections/news/019news53bailout2.txt

http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200812111637DOWJONESDJONLINE000976_FORTUNE5.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/11/pay-raise-for-judges-tuck_n_150158.html

Sensible
12-17-2008, 01:24 AM
Here is more information on the subject from the Federaltimes:


2.8% COLA for judges in 2009 fails to pass Senate
By STEPHEN LOSEY
December 12, 2008
Republican opposition the night of Dec. 11 killed a bill to bail out the automobile industry, and with it, a provision to give federal judges a 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment in 2009.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had added the COLA for judges to the bill, which passed the House on Dec. 10. The pay adjustment would have equaled the COLA Congress is set to receive next year.

The failure of the bailout bill makes it difficult to get a COLA in place for judges by January.
“This is starkly unfair,” James Duff, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, said in a Dec. 12 statement. “Federal judges should not be the only federal employees denied a [pay adjustment].”

He called on Congress to repeal a public law provision, known as Section 140, that prevents federal judges from receiving annual COLAs automatically, as lawmakers do. The COLA is not a pay raise but an adjustment to judges’ salaries to counteract inflation, Duff said. Judges have not received COLAs in six of the past 15 years, he said.

And although federal employees receive annual pay raises, federal judges have not received a pay raise since 1990, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Despite the occasional COLAs — this year’s was worth 2.5 percent — judges’ overall pay has declined by almost 24 percent since 1969, when adjusted for inflation.

Chief Justice John Roberts has called for Congress to raise judges’ salaries by as much as 24 percent. Roberts said in an annual report released in January that low salaries hurt the courts’ ability to hire and retain qualified judges.

Variable Wind
12-17-2008, 12:32 PM
This post is an update to the debate and is not intended to start a new debate. The auto bailout bill now in Congress includes language that would give federal judges a 2.8 percent cost of living adjustment for the coming year. Senator Harry Reid, D-NV insisted that the judicial pay raise go into the automaker loan measure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi D-CA, agreed to a request by Senator Reid to attach the pay raise for judges to the bailout bill.

However, this language is being stripped from the bill. Senator Claire McCaskill D-MO, was one of the most vocal opponents of the raise being included in the bailout bill. It became clear that it was impeding the progress of the bill and democrats themselves are removing it.

This COLA for federal judges is less than ten percent of the 29 percent raise contained in Senate bill 1638 and House bill 3753 which have not yet been enacted. I am going to refrain from making any comment on the inclusion of this raise in the auto bailout bill and suggest that the reader review the following links to news stories for more insight into this.

http://www.newstribune.com/articles/2008/12/12/politics_and_elections/news/019news53bailout2.txt

http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200812111637DOWJONESDJONLINE000976_FORTUNE5.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/11/pay-raise-for-judges-tuck_n_150158.html

Huffington Post and CNN? Worst sources of news ever.

bombsquadron6
12-17-2008, 04:34 PM
VW, The same news story with the same facts are on all the news wires. There is no spin here. The auto bailout bill contained a provision for a COLA for federal judges. You can decide whether it is appropriate to include that in the bailout. You criticism that CNN and Huffington Post are not credible news sources is probably true but irrelevant. BTW, those news stories are by AP and Dow Jones news writers. CNN and Huffington just picked them up off the wires.

As far as the earlier argument made by Sensible that federal judges make less than many attorneys at major law firms and even the law clerks at these firms is no longer valid either. Many of these firms are laying off or even shutting down. This link is to a story that just appeared. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081216/ap_on_bi_ge/lawyer_arrested

I doubt that the attorneys at this law office will ever again make the kind of dough they were pulling down at this New York firm. Federal judges have life tenure and will never have to worry about being laid off or losing benefits as the rest of us do. And the current pay suddenly looks pretty good in light of what has happened to the nation's economy.

It should also be noted that federal judges who have often ruled to protect the interests of big business over the past few years have some responsibility for the current economic collapse. Had they cared more for the interests of the middle and working classes and ruled to enforce regulation then we might not be in the mess we are in now or at least not as bad. Ironically, the wealthy are now taking the bullet. Fortunes have been lost because the government and the courts pulled all the cops off the beat and let businesses do whatever they wanted. The rich are destroying the rich now.

Although my views are well known here on the subject of the Congressional bills to raise the salary of the judiciary, I don't have a big problem with a COLA. But I don't think that it should be inserted into a bailout bill and apparently many members of Congress didn't either.

ringjamesa
12-17-2008, 06:42 PM
VW, The same news story with the same facts are on all the news wires. There is no spin here. The auto bailout bill contained a provision for a COLA for federal judges. You can decide whether it is appropriate to include that in the bailout. You criticism that CNN and Huffington Post are not credible news sources is probably true but irrelevant. BTW, those news stories are by AP and Dow Jones news writers. CNN and Huffington just picked them up off the wires.
As far as the earlier argument made by Sensible that federal judges make less than many attorneys at major law firms and even the law clerks at these firms is no longer valid either. Many of these firms are laying off or even shutting down. This link is to a story that just appeared. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081216/ap_on_bi_ge/lawyer_arrested
I doubt that the attorneys at this law office will ever again make the kind of dough they were pulling down at this New York firm. Federal judges have life tenure and will never have to worry about being laid off or losing benefits as the rest of us do. And the current pay suddenly looks pretty good in light of what has happened to the nation's economy.
It should also be noted that federal judges who have often ruled to protect the interests of big business over the past few years have some responsibility for the current economic collapse. Had they cared more for the interests of the middle and working classes and ruled to enforce regulation then we might not be in the mess we are in now or at least not as bad. Ironically, the wealthy are now taking the bullet. Fortunes have been lost because the government and the courts pulled all the cops off the beat and let businesses do whatever they wanted. The rich are destroying the rich now.
Although my views are well known here on the subject of the Congressional bills to raise the salary of the judiciary, I don't have a big problem with a COLA. But I don't think that it should be inserted into a bailout bill and apparently many members of Congress didn't either.

Yeah....not so much. I don't necessarily agree with everything you have said but at least you provided support for your beliefs (some more credible than others). I could also say that the creatures at the bottom of the ocean have some responsibility for the current economic situation and I would be just as correct as you. To say that the bulk of the blame lies somewhere other than with individuals, congress, banks, mortgage companies and the like...absurd.

ringjamesa
12-17-2008, 08:05 PM
If the creatures on the bottom of the sea were producing more methane gas, the planet would be slightly warmer and more crops would be produced (maybe only one more grain a year or so but still more). That would equal that much more profit. So, if the little creatures at the bottom of the sea were doing a better job at whatever it is that they do, the financial solution would be that much better-not much but there was no guage set initally so ANY difference=part of the blame.

Variable Wind
12-17-2008, 08:19 PM
I thought global warming was bad [sic]

bombsquadron6
12-18-2008, 08:24 AM
I'm not sure I get the metaphors. Perhaps they are too lofty for me, or too lowly, since they seem to have something to do with bottom feeders.

Anyway, I certainly don't disagree with Ringjamesa about who is responsible for the economic meltdown. Congress, and by that I mean both parties, are guilty as hell. This administration, which can't leave soon enough for me, is guilty as hell. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was the architect of the financial bubble but takes no responsibility, is guilty as hell. And then there are the people who thought that they could buy $500,000 homes even though they made $30,000 a year. That was nothing but greed and dishonesty, made possible by greedy, dishonest mortgage brokers who wrote mortgage loans to anyone; from illiterate people on disability incomes to illegal immigrants. Gee, did we leave anyone out? Oh wait. The federal judges who ruled that the SEC could not regulate hedge funds. http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2006/06/federal-appeals-court-strikes-down-sec.php In 2006, the DC Circuit ruled unanimously that the SEC could not regulate hedge funds. Fast forward to 2008. The renowned hedge fund manager, Bernard Madoff, thought to be a brilliant hedge fund manager, but in reality a pyramid-scheme con artist, is reported to have lost in excess of 50 billion dollars of investment funds. Some of the world's wealthiest people have lost their fortunes because Mr. Madoff was able to continue his con artistry undisturbed by the SEC. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1094208/Superwoman-Nicola-attacks-U-S-financial-regulators-losing-14m-Madoff-funds-scam.html

The role of governmental regulatory agencies in this country, such as the SEC, is to protect us from ourselves. Essentially, their role is to keep businesses honest and keep the citizenry from doing stupid things. In the present financial crisis they were prevented from doing their jobs by the President and his administration, Congress and the federal courts. The courts should have been looking out for us but instead they were looking out for the interests of Bernard Madoff and his ilk.

Just a postscript to this: I live in a working class neighborhood in a 60 year old bungalow house that I bought 15 years ago. It will be paid for soon. I have no home equity loans and drive a 12 year old Hyundai station wagon with dog slobber on the windows. When everyone was living large, buying McMansions and living on home equity loans, I thought the citizens of this country had lost thier collective minds. Turns out, they had. But the government and the courts failed us. They not only allowed it to happen, they encouraged it.

Variable Wind
12-18-2008, 12:25 PM
The role of governmental regulatory agencies in this country, such as the SEC, is to protect us from ourselves. Essentially, their role is to keep businesses honest and keep the citizenry from doing stupid things. In the present financial crisis they were prevented from doing their jobs by the President and his administration, Congress and the federal courts. The courts should have been looking out for us but instead they were looking out for the interests of Bernard Madoff and his ilk.

WRONG! It is NOT the Government's job to regulate things like hedge funds or Wall Street. The biggest reason is how can a dishonest intitution (the US Government) be trusted with keeping business honest? How can the Government be trusted to oversee and regulate business when it is partly the fault of Government oversight and regulation that the government cant seem to get its finances straight. The other reasons include the fact that when you invest in Wall Street or even in a bank, you KNOW that your money is being put in play. What you do with YOUR money is YOUR business, not the Government's. If you invest in hedge funds, there is a good chance you are going to get burned. Does that exhonerate Madoff? No, but it doesnt mean the Government has to come in and make sure it wont happen again. Because it will.

I will congratulate you on living within your means even though all it means is you are being sensible about your money. You should be sitting back watching all of this madness with relative ease. You were smart with your finances and are benefiting from such. Why punish yourself with more government oversight? I can think of two institutions run by the government that are proof that you cant have a successful Government Business Hybrid: Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Ill just throw the post office in there too for good measure.

And Greenspan wasnt the Architect of the bubble, though he was certainly culpable. To look for the Architect, you have to go back to the Carter administration.

ringjamesa
12-18-2008, 01:04 PM
I'm not sure I get the metaphors. Perhaps they are too lofty for me, or too lowly, since they seem to have something to do with bottom feeders.
Anyway, I certainly don't disagree with Ringjamesa about who is responsible for the economic meltdown. Congress, and by that I mean both parties, are guilty as hell. This administration, which can't leave soon enough for me, is guilty as hell. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was the architect of the financial bubble but takes no responsibility, is guilty as hell. And then there are the people who thought that they could buy $500,000 homes even though they made $30,000 a year. That was nothing but greed and dishonesty, made possible by greedy, dishonest mortgage brokers who wrote mortgage loans to anyone; from illiterate people on disability incomes to illegal immigrants. Gee, did we leave anyone out? Oh wait. The federal judges who ruled that the SEC could not regulate hedge funds. http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2006/06/federal-appeals-court-strikes-down-sec.php In 2006, the DC Circuit ruled unanimously that the SEC could not regulate hedge funds. Fast forward to 2008. The renowned hedge fund manager, Bernard Madoff, thought to be a brilliant hedge fund manager, but in reality a pyramid-scheme con artist, is reported to have lost in excess of 50 billion dollars of investment funds. Some of the world's wealthiest people have lost their fortunes because Mr. Madoff was able to continue his con artistry undisturbed by the SEC. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1094208/Superwoman-Nicola-attacks-U-S-financial-regulators-losing-14m-Madoff-funds-scam.html
The role of governmental regulatory agencies in this country, such as the SEC, is to protect us from ourselves. Essentially, their role is to keep businesses honest and keep the citizenry from doing stupid things. In the present financial crisis they were prevented from doing their jobs by the President and his administration, Congress and the federal courts. The courts should have been looking out for us but instead they were looking out for the interests of Bernard Madoff and his ilk.
Just a postscript to this: I live in a working class neighborhood in a 60 year old bungalow house that I bought 15 years ago. It will be paid for soon. I have no home equity loans and drive a 12 year old Hyundai station wagon with dog slobber on the windows. When everyone was living large, buying McMansions and living on home equity loans, I thought the citizens of this country had lost thier collective minds. Turns out, they had. But the government and the courts failed us. They not only allowed it to happen, they encouraged it.

Surely you can't be this stupid. Upholding the Investment Company Act of 1940 is not the same as creating the policy. So, by your logic, the judges are also responsible for the overcrowding of the prisons? The fact that the crimminals commit criminal acts, legislatures create laws that make things illegal and min sentancing guidlelines, and law enforcement officers catch criminals has very little to do with it. The Judges are to blame for enforcing the laws?

Sensible
12-19-2008, 03:54 PM
Who is to blame for the current economic mess? Probably number one on the list is the media. Why? Because through popular TV and advertising they have fueled a desire to "have it now." In essence, they have encouraged a culture that believes its okay to live on credit, because its so important to have things now rather than save.

We have become a society of instant gratification. You can see this in how our government and population conduct their affairs. Millions spending beyong their means so they can keep up with the Jones. Is it therefore not any surprise that our government conducts its affairs any differently and spends hundreds of billions more each year than it takes in. The end result of this will be, I am afraid, our country's economic ruin if it continues.

Now on the issue of the federal judges I have just two points. First, the judges do not make the law. If they interpret the law correctly, even though it is a bad law, that is hardly their fault. They are doing what they are paid to do, and if you want them to make law, then I suggest you have them elected to Congress. Second, on the issue of pay, Lisa correctly points out that many attorneys are losing their jobs because of the economic downturn. However, no one in the private sector at a level of ability a federal judge should possess is losing his or her job. In fact, in bad economic times the legal profession often flourishes because people fight more over debts and contractual disputes. Thus, I would suggest to you that a person who possesses the legal ability that a federal judge should (notice I said "should" and not "does") possess would be making big bucks in the current climate in the private sector because these folks should be among the most highly skilled attorneys in the profession. That said, the quality of the federal judiciary is declining in my view, in part because of all these de facto pay cuts they have been receiving all these years. As a result of these cuts, I would be shocked if the most highly qualified attorneys did not shun these jobs. After all, who wants a $500K plus per year pay cut?

ringjamesa
12-19-2008, 04:25 PM
Who is to blame for the current economic mess? Probably number one on the list is the media. Why? Because through popular TV and advertising they have fueled a desire to "have it now." In essence, they have encouraged a culture that believes its okay to live on credit, because its so important to have things now rather than save.
We have become a society of instant gratification. You can see this in how our government and population conduct their affairs. Millions spending beyong their means so they can keep up with the Jones. Is it therefore not any surprise that our government conducts its affairs any differently and spends hundreds of billions more each year than it takes in. The end result of this will be, I am afraid, our country's economic ruin if it continues.
Now on the issue of the federal judges I have just two points. First, the judges do not make the law. If they interpret the law correctly, even though it is a bad law, that is hardly their fault. They are doing what they are paid to do, and if you want them to make law, then I suggest you have them elected to Congress. Second, on the issue of pay, Lisa correctly points out that many attorneys are losing their jobs because of the economic downturn. However, no one in the private sector at a level of ability a federal judge should possess is losing his or her job. In fact, in bad economic times the legal profession often flourishes because people fight more over debts and contractual disputes. Thus, I would suggest to you that a person who possesses the legal ability that a federal judge should (notice I said "should" and not "does") possess would be making big bucks in the current climate in the private sector because these folks should be among the most highly skilled attorneys in the profession. That said, the quality of the federal judiciary is declining in my view, in part because of all these de facto pay cuts they have been receiving all these years. As a result of these cuts, I would be shocked if the most highly qualified attorneys did not shun these jobs. After all, who wants a $500K plus per year pay cut?

I couldn't disagree more with your first two paragraphs or agree more with your last. To blame the media is a copout in my opinion. Just because someone tells you something is really cool and shiny doesn't mean you HAVE TO BUY IT!! If people had more self restraint, they wouldn't be so far in debt. If banks and mortgage companies didn't lend money they knew they would never get back, they wouldn't be crying for a bailout. Etc..etc...etc... Until "the media" comes asking for a bailout, I will give them a pass on this one. I see it along the lines of the Cris Rock response to the media being blamed for crime "when I am at the ATM, I am not looking over my shoulder for the media."

Sensible
12-19-2008, 04:48 PM
Let me amend my previous response. It is a combination of the media and poor parenting. It is one thing to have grown up decades ago when this "gotta have it now" was not so pervasive in the way the media presents things. However, in more recent times people have grown up listening to this garbage -- in fact they are immersed in it from the youngest age. So, unless they have parents who guide them responsibly, these folks are more than likely going to grow up buying into the lie that saving is not important, and a person should "go for the gusto," even if it means spending beyong what he or she makes.

On another note, I never did understand why any lender would loan money to a person who they knew likely could not pay it back. When I used to represent lenders as their attorney in the 1980's, none of my clients wanted to own real estate via a foreclosure proceeding. In fact, every time they ended up owning property through a foreclosure, that ownership usually came with a host of headaches that they did not want. Thus, these lenders clearly were not loaning money to people who had bad credit so that could take back property in foreclosure. So, you have to ask yourself -- why all these loans to people with poor credit? If someone could enlighten me as to why all these loans were made to those who were uncreditworthy I would appreciate it. Asssuming bankers are rational human beings, It just doesn't make sense that our banks could have gotten themselves into this situation.

bombsquadron6
12-20-2008, 10:01 PM
Surely you can't be this stupid. Upholding the Investment Company Act of 1940 is not the same as creating the policy. So, by your logic, the judges are also responsible for the overcrowding of the prisons? The fact that the crimminals commit criminal acts, legislatures create laws that make things illegal and min sentancing guidlelines, and law enforcement officers catch criminals has very little to do with it. The Judges are to blame for enforcing the laws?

Ringjamesa, I merely showed that the courts did indeed play a role in the current economic collapse. The fact that the SEC and its attorneys believed that they had a responsibility to regulate hedge funds and that it was consistent with the 1940 act, tells me that the SEC probably made a very good argument in favor of regulation. The DC Circuit Court ruled otherwise, thus helping set the stage for what has happened since.

Variable Wind seems to argue that there should be no regulation of Wall Street at all because he maintains the government is incompetent or corrupt. It is pointles to argue with him on that. This thread is about the proposed salary inrease for federal judges. Congress has two bills, a House Bill and Senate bill, that would raise the salary of federal judges by approximately 29%. The bills have not been passed by Congress yet. In the meantime, Reid and Pelosi inserted a 2.8% COLA raise for the judiciary into the auto bailout bill. But so many members of Congress objected to its inclusion in that bill that it was removed. In the meantime, there is a lot of indignation that Congress itself is accepting a 2.8% COLA. Neil Cavuto of Fox News spent considerable time on his program Friday denouncing Congress for taking the automatic raise at a time when millions of Americans are out of work and facing economic devastation.

Ringjamesa, you are free to insult me by suggesting I am stupid. Your opinion of me is not important. But how about telling me whether or not you think federal judges deserve a huge pay raise, especially now when the average American is struggling just to survive. That would be important here.

Sensible
12-20-2008, 11:31 PM
I'll answer the question about "deserving" a large raise, Lisa. The issue has nothing to do with the highly subjective question as to whether they earned the raise. The issue has to do with protecting the integrity of the job itself.

In today's Raleigh News & Observer, they addressed the problem in the editorial section. As the writer correctly pointed out, only the best of the best should have the job of Article III judge. This means the person who takes the job should not only have a near genius IQ, but this person should also be totally incorruptible. Notice I used the word "should" and not "is." These appointees should have these impeccable qualifications because of the magnitude of the cases they handle; they must often address highly complex issues of fact and law and be able to render legally defensible decisions based on those issues. Some of these issues are highly intellectual and impact the livelihoods of thousands of people and can also involve issues of life or death. In other words, you do not want an ordinary Joe lawyer holding one of these positions. Having been in the legal profession for almost 30 years, I can tell you that there are very few lawyers qualified to appropriately performed the job of Article III judge; it is that complicated. I have seen some who were, but many who were not. Add to that the fact that these judges are part of a profession where it is not unusual for people to make a million dollars plus a year and you can easily see the problem that occuring before our eyes.

What do you think happens when you have such a demanding job that is connected with a profession with such high wage earners and this job becomes continually degraded, year after year, with back door pay cuts (due to raises less than the amount of inflation). I will tell you what happens -- you end up with many judges who are not the best lawyers and do not have the sharpest legal minds. That may well have been what happened in your case involving the transit workers union, Lisa. No telling how many "nos" the Utah senator went through from lawyers unwilling to take a gigantic pay cut until he got to the judge who ultimately took the job and ended up presiding over your case. How do I have know this scenario probably unfolded? Because what person in any profession would cut his or her pay by a two thirds or more, and be stuck in a job where he or she continually receives de facto pay cuts, year after year. I will tell you what kind -- one who is unlikely to be the best of the best and one more likely to be a dud.

bombsquadron6
12-21-2008, 12:20 AM
The problem is not a lack of intellect of federal judges but the fact that, over the last few administrations, judges have been appointed for ideological reasons. The district court judge in our case was an example. He was a Stanford Law School graduate but was a known ideologue. As long as both parties insist on leaving their ideological stamp on courts we will have trouble having our cases heard by competent, fair judges. Courts use to be populated by centrist judges that had enjoyed successful careers and then at the end of their careers they gave back by becoming federal judges. Their intellect and integrity had been confirmed over many years. Today, the ideologues try to place on the bench younger individuals so that they may have forty year careers of promoting an agenda. Pay raises, particularly large pay raises, cannot fix this problem but instead may aggrevate it by encouraging young ideologues to stay on the bench. Congress needs to appoint centrist judges. If we start to see 90+ Senate confirmation votes for judges, we will know that the correct judges are being appointed. We use to see such votes but it has been a long time.

Sensible
12-21-2008, 01:53 AM
The problem is not a lack of intellect of federal judges but the fact that, over the last few administrations, judges have been appointed for ideological reasons. The district court judge in our case was an example. He was a Stanford Law School graduate but was a known ideologue. As long as both parties insist on leaving their ideological stamp on courts we will have trouble having our cases heard by competent, fair judges. Courts use to be populated by centrist judges that had enjoyed successful careers and then at the end of their careers they gave back by becoming federal judges. Their intellect and integrity had been confirmed over many years. Today, the ideologues try to place on the bench younger individuals so that they may have forty year careers of promoting an agenda. Pay raises, particularly large pay raises, cannot fix this problem but instead may aggrevate it by encouraging young ideologues to stay on the bench. Congress needs to appoint centrist judges. If we start to see 90+ Senate confirmation votes for judges, we will know that the correct judges are being appointed. We use to see such votes but it has been a long time.



Well, I do agree the issue here is multifaceted. Pay is only part of the problem. I disagree with your position because I believe that the pay should be better so that it is commensurate with the skills and talent that the job should require. If the pay were better, more of top qualified lawyers would want the job, obvioiusly. Nonetheless, you are right about idealogues. This is an issue that is unrelated to the pay issue. Some take the position because they have an agenda other than to interpet the law and do a good job. To prevent those types from ascending to the bench there definitely should be a requirement of at least a supermajority vote in the senate. The problem with that may be, however, that no one ever gets confirmed due to Washington politics.

Variable Wind
12-22-2008, 01:05 PM
Variable Wind seems to argue that there should be no regulation of Wall Street at all because he maintains the government is incompetent or corrupt. It is pointles to argue with him on that. This thread is about the proposed salary inrease for federal judges. Congress has two bills, a House Bill and Senate bill, that would raise the salary of federal judges by approximately 29%. The bills have not been passed by Congress yet. In the meantime, Reid and Pelosi inserted a 2.8% COLA raise for the judiciary into the auto bailout bill. But so many members of Congress objected to its inclusion in that bill that it was removed. In the meantime, there is a lot of indignation that Congress itself is accepting a 2.8% COLA. Neil Cavuto of Fox News spent considerable time on his program Friday denouncing Congress for taking the automatic raise at a time when millions of Americans are out of work and facing economic devastation.


Just had to correct your BS before you continued on. Youre welcome.

bombsquadron6
12-22-2008, 03:23 PM
Variable Wind, Perhaps you confuse rudeness with wit. But do you have an opinion on this topic or are you just interested in being a contrarian? Do federal judges deserve a pay raise?

Variable Wind
12-22-2008, 03:58 PM
Only if the budget allows for it. This year it doesnt, neither does it warrant a congressional raise. Thats neither here nor there in reference to my earlier post. You made an incorrect statement so I helped clarify things.

Sensible
12-24-2008, 08:09 PM
Only if the budget allows for it. This year it doesnt, neither does it warrant a congressional raise. Thats neither here nor there in reference to my earlier post. You made an incorrect statement so I helped clarify things.


The problem the judges have is, when is it a good time? In the mid 90's, the government was fighting over budget expenditures, so no raise. Later, it was the costs associated with 9-11, so no raise. Now its the budget again, so no raise. And so it goes -- there is always a reason, year after year after year after year when there is a reason to not give the judges a fair raise. This can go on just long enough. It will eventually get to point where the integrity of the job itself is jeopardized because the position will no longer attract the best of the best. Instead, it will attract lawyers of mediocre legal ability who go into the job with an agenda.

Sensible
12-27-2008, 05:48 AM
I might add the real question here is not what Ms. Burke asked, that is, whether federal judges deserve a pay raise.

The real questions here are: Do the federal judges deserve not having been given fair pay raises for 17 years in a row? (in all those years, their pay has been less than the inflation rate; in fact, in six of those years they received no pay increase at all).

The next question is: can we afford not to give fair raises to federal judges?

Sensible
12-31-2008, 03:03 PM
[QUOTE=bombsquadron6;168431]..."Courts use to be populated by ... judges that had enjoyed successful careers and then at the end of their careers they gave back by becoming federal judges....


Translation, Ms. Burke - only those who are old and rich should apply for the job of federal judge. No one else should because they will be faced with years and years of de facto pay cuts.

bombsquadron6
12-31-2008, 05:48 PM
It was a system that served us well. Those older judges had, for the most part, a sense of altruism and public sevice and they realized that public service does not often allow one to become rich. Further, those older judges were much less likely to be ideologues, an issue that I addressed in post #152. If young judges today are so concerned with money they should make their fortunes first and then become public servants later.

A recent paper written by Profesor Eric Posner of the University of Chicago School of Law, Professor Stephen Choi of the New York University School of Law and Professor G. Mitu Gilati of Duke University School of Law questions the need and advisability of a raise for federal judges. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1077295# (You have to download the paper from this site. It is fairly long.) Interestingly, Professor Posner is the son of the prominent federal appellate judge Richard Posner. Clearly there are arguments against giving judges a large salary increase and Posner points to many of the same arguments that I have made on this blog including the fact that federal judges face virtually no consequences for poor job performance.

The recent unsuccessful attempt by Senator Harry Reid and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to insert a 2.8% COLA into the unrelated auto bailout bill is not the issue here. This is about a proposed 29% pay raise for federal judges with no strings attached. Those bills in both the House and Senate seem to have stalled for obvious reasons. In my previous post #137 I cited to three articles that reported on the judicial COLA increase in the auto bailout bill. (Apparently, only the AP story by Andrew Taylor is still available online.) Here is a quote from Mr. Taylor's article.

The Senate passed the judicial pay measure as a separate bill in November, but the House never acted. A House Democratic leadership aide said that while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., supports the pay raise, it was difficult for the House to hold a stand-alone vote in the midst of a recession to increase the pay for people making far more than most workers.

I found the measure that Taylor refers to. It is not the main bill to give the judiciary a 29% pay raise. It is a recently introduced bill to give them the 2.8% COLA raise and it passed the Senate by unanimous consent, meaning there was no debate on it. The bill is S.3711. It was introduced by Senator Reid and has six cosponsors. I am not really interested in COLA raises here. However, I don't believe Congress should be accepting their idenetical 2.8% COLA raise considering the state of the economy and the fact that most Americans seem to have a very low opinion of their job performance.

We shall see how this plays out.

Sensible
12-31-2008, 08:18 PM
Well, I have seen young and old idealoges. Age has nothing to do with that. However, on the issue of pay, I find is interesting is that law school professors would write such things when you look at what has happened to their pay in recent years. Along with tuition, it has skyrocketed. Imagine that, people making hundreds of thousands a year (many at public schools) when all they do is sit around and talk and write about legal theory while the judges are making real decisions that significantly impact the lives of real human beings and the future of our society. Meanwhile, their students must live in debt until they reach old age to pay back the tuition costs which fund these outrageous salaries. Talk about injustice.

The issue of judicial pay is way beyond getting wealthy. Its about preserving the status of the job so that it attracts only the best of the best, as opposed to rich old farts who want to retire to the bench. The judges want to only get back a portion of what has been lost through de facto pay cuts that have gone on now on an annual basis for almost two decades. I know of no other profession where its members go so long with raises less than the inflation rate or no raises at all. As Mr. Obama's chief economic adviser Paul Volker once noted, the federal judiciary represents the most eggregious example of the failure of federal pay policies.

bombsquadron6
01-01-2009, 07:55 PM
Before addressing more relevant aspects of this subject I would like to point out to Sensible that the average salary for law professors nationwide is about $140,000 per year. Sure some law professors at Ivy League schools make considerably more, for example a "Distinguished Professor" at the University of California Hastings College of Law in downtown San Francisco earns about $202,000 per year and other examples can be found of enormous salaries paid to law professors. But make no mistake, these salaries are reserved for the best of the best. They are not averages.

Yesterday, December 31, 2008, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued his year-end report and yet another plea for a pay raise for the Judiciary. http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081231/D95DVQBG0.html

Chief Justice Roberts uses the same tired arguments that he has used for the past few years; arguments that do not stand up to scrutiny. He seems to have given up on the hoped for 29% pay raise for the judiciary contained in the Congressional bills I earlier referred to and is now demanding the 2.8% COLA raise that Congress was recently given. (Through legislation this Congressional COLA is automatic; Congress does not need to vote on it. But they must vote to give it to the judiciary. However, on the six occasions before now that members of Congress denied a COLA to the judiciary, they also declined to take the raise for themselves.) The Senate has recently voted to give the COLA to the judiciary but the House has not yet voted on it. This COLA for Congress has only been in effect for a short time so likely Congress will address the prospective judicial COLA after the holidays. Chief Justice Roberts also ignores that federal district court judges are paid the same as members of Congress, with appellate court judges and Supreme Court Justices paid more. Chief Justice Roberts makes the same as the Vice President. Is the Chief judge prepared to argue that Congress or the Vice President also deserve a substantial raise? Or does he just believe that judges deserve more than everyone else?

According to Chief Justice Roberts (and Sensible), we have a "constitutional crisis that threatens to undermine the strength and independence of the federal judiciary." Where is the proof of this? There has been no shortage of competent attorneys willing to take a pay cut to become federal judges. And in the past two years only 17 judges have left the federal judiciary out of the more than 850 authorized federal judgeships in the district and circuit courts. (Keep in mind that the district court judge who handled our case and resigned after I provided the judicial misconduct complaints to the Senate Judiciary Committee was one of those 17.) That is hardly a mass exodus. So instead of making sweeping platitudes about this alleged threat to the independence of the federal judiciary, please just show us some proof that the present salary of federal judges is somehow causing the judicial system to be compromised.

My main source for the figures I have presented above comes from an excellent article printed in the very conservative National Review Online in January, 2007 shortly after Chief Justice Roberts had released his second year-end report on the federal judiciary. It was authored by Dr. Matt Franck, Professor and Chairman of Political Science, Radford University in Virginia. The article can be read at:
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YzRmZWVkNDRlMmFlNzA5ZGQzYzNkMmU4N2VlNWRhNGQ

The following quote is from Dr. Franck's article. (Keep in mind that it refers to last year's report.) I will leave the reader to ponder it.

There’s just one other thing worth noting. The chief’s eight-page report is followed by a seven-page appendix on the judicial workload in 2006. The workload report has always been part of the main body of the “year-end report,” but Chief Justice Roberts wanted all the focus to be on the salary issue, so this information is now merely appended. And what do we learn? That the numbers of cases filed and decided at all levels of the federal judiciary (with one or two anomalies) declined in the last year.

In fact, the Supreme Court is handling half the cases it did two decades ago. See http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/01/america/01legal.php

So put the pieces together. There is no mass exodus of federal judges. Like most Americans they are failing to keep up with inflation. However, unlike most working Americans their workload is either stagnant or declining. See http://www.uscourts.gov/fcmstat/index.html Perhaps this is why there is no actual crisis in the judiciary. Taking inflation into consideration, if you compare the present hourly wage of most Americans to their hourly wage 30 years ago, they have severely fallen behind. Only by working more hours and having both parents in the labor pool can most Americans survive. Even private attorneys are required to work more and more hours by law firms. The judicial salaries are not out of line considering this reality. When Chief Justice Roberts can point to vacancies in the judiciary caused by inadequate applicants as opposed to ideological warfare, I will change my view but as the above identified articles and data have empirically demonstrated this is not the reality.

Sensible
01-01-2009, 08:54 PM
Well, look at the facts. The fact that there are any law professors making more than federal judges is wrong or even that their pay would approach that of federal judges is wrong. Those types deal in legal theory and their pay is based on debt students incur -- plus unlike federal judges they can supplement their income with second jobs and consulting work.

Yes, federal judges should be paid more than members of Congress. Do you realize there a doctors in the VA system who are paid $350K a year. Do you realize that lawyers for the SEC make more than $200K a year. Plus, people like congressmen and the VP hold strictly political posts. Remember as well that people usually use the jobs of congressman and VP and cabinent level posts as stepping stones into the private sector. Remember Cheney was able to use his public sector job as a way of becoming CEO of Halliburton.

No way, no how our country is going to obtain the best of the best in the legal profession given current pay policies as they pertain to federal judges unless the judges are already fabulously wealthy. Virtually no one else would give up that much pay plus face the prospect of de facto pay cuts for decades in a row. I mean, we live in a capitalistic society, so yes money is a huge factor anyone holding any job looks at. That is just the reality because it costs so much just to live in America.

The treatment the federal judges has received is vastly different from those in the GS system has received. Unlike the judges, the GSers are faring much better keeping up with inflation even though their jobs hold far less responsibility. Plus, judges are part of the legal profession so they are not "average American workers" - that group takes on all comers including ditch diggers, landscape workers and toilet scrubbers. Conversely, the average attorney of the ability that a federal judge has seen his or her pay skyrocket over the past 10 -20 years.

Finally, your reasoning is flawed because the issue is not whether the people deserve only "competent" judges, as you suggest. I do not know what that mean. A licensed attorney who has a few years experience handling garden variety PI cases? The issue is whether the American people are entitled to the best of the best when we are talking about men and women who daily make decisions impacting the very fabric of our society.

I will also say this -- we pay our judges woefully less than other countries pay theirs. Last I looked the chief judge of Austrailia made almost $300K a year. Frankly, with the responsibility they have, even that is a small amount, but hey, they are public servants.

The crisis that Justice Roberts speaks to is that the federal judiciary is no longer the destination where the best of the best want to spend a career. Why would they? What person in his or her right mind would want a job where they are given de facto pay cuts for 17 years in a row, while their colleagues in the private sector, most of whom have less ability, are getting huge pay increases and bonuses? So what you end up with is are judges who fall far short of what you want -- such as the judge who presided in your case.

Only a law professor who is probably incapable of making it in the real world would compare federal judges to average workers, including those in the minimum wage jobs I mentioned earlier. There are always those with an agenda who can use some statistic somewhere to distort reality. The reality here is that these judges should be anything but average. The reality is that they have no seen their real incomes decline just a percent or two in the past 20 years; they have seen it decline a gigantic amount. I know of no group of professionals inside or outside the legal profession who have seen this type of decline in real wages. It is to the point where the treatment the judges receive concerning their pay has become ridiculous. No one in public servicie should be treated this unfairly, much less federal judges who hold some of the most important jobs in the country.

Sensible
01-01-2009, 09:01 PM
Addendum:

Also, it is worthy to note that, unlike other workers who can work more hours to increase their pay and can receive bonuses, federal judges cannot do so. It does not matter how many hours they work, their pay will remain the same. Thus, unlike other workers, they do not have this option to make up for the annual de facto pay cuts they have been receiving these past 17 years. Sensible.

bombsquadron6
01-02-2009, 06:56 PM
Sensible likes to use the salaries of attorneys at top law firms to argue that judges are underpaid. But how about using the civilian pay of people putting their lives on the line to the pay of our military personnel that similarly place their lives in danger.

Here is a pay comparison: An E-1 with less than 4 months of service makes $1,295 a month or $15,540 a year. http://www.navycs.com/09militarypaychart.html A new police recruit in Oakland, California makes $69,000 a year and a new police officer in San Francisco makes $65,718. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/10/01/STAFFING.TMP (Granted, these cities probably pay more than the average but Sensible always uses the salaries of top law firms to make his argument that the judiciary is underpaid.) There is an even more glaring result if you compare the pay of civilian Blackwater employees to military personnel. Blackwater pays many of its personnel almost $300,000 per year. http://www.usnews.com/blogs/erbe/2007/10/04/blackwater-pay-insults-the-military.html While I don't necessarily think any of these private sector people are overpaid I maintain the military is definitely underpaid. As I stated in my first posts on this thread, in a time of war shouldn't we be finding 30% pay raises for military personnel making $1,300 a month before we find money for federal judges making $14,000 a month? Judges may make sacrifices, relative to top attorneys in private practice, but they are not involved in a war. They are making many times the amount service men and women that are dying for their country are making.

Furthermore, military personnel also want to buy decent homes, provide adequately for their families and send their children to college. But right now, many of those military families qualify for food stamps. You merely have to read the posts in this section of the discussion board to realize that the hardships faced by the military are almost unbearable at times. Yet Sensible argues that the judiciary, making at least $170,000 a year and treated to prestige and gracious working conditions, are somehow being mistreated.

Sensible
01-02-2009, 07:41 PM
Gee, you are right. I mean individual military personnel make daily decisions that impact the lives of thousands of people and the very fabric of our society and the lives of millions of future generations of americans. They are appointed by the senate like federal judges and confirmed by the POTUS aren't they? Their jobs are provided for by the Constitution itself, aren't they? So, lets treat the federal judges the same as military personnel. No, that would be too good for them. In terms of pay policies, let's do what we have been and treat them worst than military personnel.

I have a better idea. Let's give Lisa's friends in the military a taste of the medicine Lisa is serving up. As I recommended in an earlier posting, lets put together a formula and recalculate military pay by going back 17 years and refiguring the annual pay raises military personnel received according to the same formula used to "increase" the jurists' pay. That would be fair, wouldn't it Lisa? I mean, not only would it be fair but it would save the taxpayers a mint. While we are at it, let's cut the pay of VA surgeons by 50%. We don't need the best of the best in those VA hospitals anyway, so they should be paid at the level of federal judges. I mean they shouldn't be paid as much because our men and women in uniform are not paid as much and hell, its just surgery.

You see, Lisa wants to do things on the cheap. She has the same mentality the federal government has which is why we are $11 trillion in debt. The government is the most penny wise and pound foolish organization that ever existed. Take for example the Social Security Judge from Harrisburg, PA. That judge pays out a billion in claims every year. He denies less than 4% of the persons who appear before him. He decides more than 2000 cases a year (so he spends probably 30 minutes at most on a case, many of which have thousands of pages of medical records). Who cares, its just the governemnt's money! And if a Social Security judge could waste that amount, just imagine how much more a federal district judge could waste. I mean, we do not need the best of the best in those jobs or any other federal job -- they are all slobs anyway. In the case of judiges, just some rich fart who wants to retire to the bench will do, or some young whipper snapper who doesn't know his rear end from a hole in the ground will do.

If we end up with a country that is absolutely out of control because of an activist federal judiciary that is composed of people who lack the judgment for the job, or if we end up in a military state because the federal judiciary did not do its job to keep the executive branch in check-- all because we did not have the best of the best at the helm watching over things, who cares? If we end up with bozo judges who collectively cost us trillions of dollars and screw people like Lisa, who cares? I mean, I do not know why I would care about these jobs. Our country is going to hell in a handbasket anyway, so we do not need the best of the best handling the most important jobs in the country. By the way, Lisa is great at playing the "class warfare" card.

If current pay policies remain in effect I predict that within 20 years the job of federal judge will only be a shadow of what it is now.

FYI - Blackwater, like military personnel, do not make daily decisions impacting the very fabric of our society and do not have jobs created by the Federal constitution itself -- so who cares if the Pentagon overpays them. Its is probably some kickback anyway.



To the reader: please excuse the sarcasim. I cannot help it because no reasonable person could condone federal pay policies as they have been applied to the federal judges. As I said, no one I know of in any of the classic professions (law, medicine, public accounting) has as a group been given de facto pay cuts 17 years in a row. The judges have been singled out -- no doubt because many don't like them because (as is the case with Lisa), they have an axe to grind against them (as in her case, where she lost an important case).

Sensible
01-02-2009, 07:49 PM
Addendum to the post I just mad - FYI, as stated in one of my earliest writings on this subject, I am all for giving the military a raise. Both the military and the federal judges pay should be raised. Giving them both raises are not mutually exclusive concepts. Lisa wants to play the class warfare card and act as if the idea of giving both groups fair pay raises is something that could not be accomplished.

Sensible
01-02-2009, 08:54 PM
Here is an excerpt from the article from the Oregonian and is about the judge I mentioned in my earlier post. The article shows how much damage an unqualified judge can do to the taxpayers and the economy. This is exactly why we need only the best of the best. Remember, this article pertains only to a Social Security judge, and a federal district judge can do a whole whole lot more damage to our economy and taxpayer coffers than an irresponsible administrative law judge.



Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008
Paying out billions, one judge attracts criticism
In just one year, Charles Bridges awarded benefits in 2,285 Social Security disability appeals
By Brent Walth and Bryan Denson
The Oregonian


Charles Bridges is Social Security’s billion-dollar judge.

When it comes to paying out disability benefits, no other Social Security judge comes close. Bridges awarded cash to 2,285 people last year — eight times that of the agency’s average judge — and he turns down only a small number of the people who plead for a check.

The cost to taxpayers? More than $2.1 billion for this judge over the last four years.

Bridges, 62, is the chief administrative law judge in the Social Security Administration’s Harrisburg, Pa., hearing office.

Inside Social Security, Bridges is a controversial figure, a symbol of the agency’s desperation to unclog its bottleneck of disability claims at any cost.

Stories about an unnamed judge who pays 2,000-plus cases a year arose in a congressional hearing in February, but the agency has never named him. The Oregonian identified Bridges through internal Social Security records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

In an interview, Bridges said he believes he should be seen as an exemplar, the kind of judge it will take to shrink Social Security’s historic backlog of disability cases.

“Hard work — that’s literally it,” Bridges said. “It takes hard work and dedication and desire.”

Each time a judge approves a disability case taxpayers will pay out an average of $250,000 in lifetime cash and medical benefits, according to estimates. Experts say judges should spend hours considering each case, and that Bridges’ extraordinary production makes that all but impossible.

“It’s preposterous,” said Sylvester J. Schieber, chairman of the Social Security Advisory Board, an oversight agency, who has studied productivity of the agency’s judges.

“As complicated as these cases are, it’s outrageous that he’s doing 50 cases a week when most other judges are toiling to get out 10 to 15.”

Sensible
01-04-2009, 05:18 PM
Here are the facts – under the Obama administration next year we will be over $11 trillion in debt as a people. Even the fairly liberal Newsweek magazine recently noted that we are sitting on a debt time bomb. As noted by the late Christian financial author Larry Burkette in his 1991 book The Coming Economic Earthquake, what do you think will happen to foreigners’ thirst for US government securities when the interest the government owes on those securities exceeds the national GDP? You know what will happen. They will quit buying these securities and the whole deck of cards that holds our economy afloat will come crashing down!

Here is the problem: the government must go further in debt just to meet the debt service it owes. The whole thing is like a tar baby, and we are heading right off a cliff as a nation. This one may be worst than the 1930’s because at least then, the government could prime the pump by borrowing and then coming to stimulate the economy. In fact, that is the whole problem with the Bush and Obama approaches to fixing our economy. They are using 1930’s techniques to address a 2009 problem. The problem is: what do you do when government debt is the problem? If this debt is the problem, it makes no sense to keep going deeper and deeper in debt to fix it – doing so will just exacerbate the problem. Our politicians cannot be that stupid not to know this. They have to know this, but I fear they are just short so short sighted. Yet today, Harry Reid said on Meet the Press that whatever it takes to “fix the economy” through a stimulus package the Congress will do. Translation: get ready for a giant round of deficit spending and trillions added to the national debt. In my opinion, politicians like Mr. Reid would apparently give away the entire national treasury just to secure a few accolades and another term in office. Oh how easy it is to give away other people’s money! Or, in this case, money belongs to future generations of Americans. When are these people going to open their eyes and see that we cannot borrow our way into economic prosperity. It has never been done in the history of the world, it cannot be done this time.

So where do federal judges and their pay fit into this? Well, let me say two things. First, I have noticed a decline over the past 25 years in the quality of the federal judiciary. Why? Obviously no person in his or her right mind would take a job paying $170K a year if he is making three or four times that much (unless that person is already fabulously wealthy). Miss Burke makes much to do about me feeling the federal judges should make as the lawyers in “top firms” and they should be happy with their "gracious" salaries (whatever that means). Well, I know a number of federal judges, and from the ones I have spoken to about the subject their feelings are if they were just paid the average pay of an average partner in an average law firm that would suffice. As it is, they are paid signifcantly less than the lowest level non-partner attorneys (i.e., those who are just months out of law school) in many firms.

Second and more important, and here is the kicker: what role do federal judges play in this debt time bomb? They are an important piece of the puzzle that has many parts; they are a microcosm of a government that is penny wise and pound foolish. Numerous ones I know of seem to have little regard for the National Treasury. I have seen one award millions of dollars to a strip club owner based on very flimsy proof of a Privacy Act violation. I have seen another award a million dollars to a USPS employee who spent more time filing EEO claims than working. One forced the State of Texas to upgrade its prisons $10 billion dollars. Another awarded an inmate over a million dollars because of an alleged medical malpractice by a Bureau of Prison doctor. Still another judge issued rulings that basically caused a national accounting firm employing thousands of people to go out of business. Then there is the Social Security judge who awards claimant’s billions of dollars and all they basically have to do is claim that they are disabled. I could go on and on and on about how some federal judges seem to have little or no regard when it comes to taxpayers’ dollars or business. And you have to realize, business and taxpayers dollars are closely related: if a concern goes out of business, then so does the tax revenues the government could have secured from that concern. You add this judicial disregard for taxpayers’ money with the mushrooming entitlement programs we have and surge in defense spending and you get the picture: a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon we are talking about an extraordinary amount of money. That is why it is so important that we have only the best of the best in these jobs because these judges can do so much damage to our economy and to our legal and business institutions when they make bad decisions. If the facts and law genuinely require putting a company out of business or hitting the federal treasury 100 million bucks in a single case, so be it. I just want to have only the very best lawyers making these kinds of decisions so that we can be sure that the correct decisions were, in fact, reached.

So, if it takes paying a more to attract the best of the best to these jobs, it is well worth it. If it takes throwing out the regulations that allowed these judges to endure 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts, so be it. You see, I do not want just some average Joe lawyer pulling the trigger in these cases; I want a judge with an extraordinary legal mind and exceptional temperment who is fully cognizant of the impact his or her decisions will have and takes that into account in making decisions. In the long term, the investment in higher pay to secure the best of the best will result in a pay back to the taxpayers a thousand fold if not more. If Congress were to approach this issue in such a way, and also look at every one of its expenditures and do away with the ones that are not needed, then I believe we will make true progess in fixing our current economic woes.

bombsquadron6
01-04-2009, 09:26 PM
Senate bill 1638 and House bill 3753 have expired. [These bills] never became law. [They were] proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. (excerpted from gov.track.us)
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-1638
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-3753

What is at stake now is the 2.8% COLA that Congress recently received automatically but that they must vote to give to the judiciary. I am not objecting to this COLA for the judiciary although I don't believe that Congress should accept theirs.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts' 2008 year-end report makes essentially the same arguments that Sensible has made these many months. Sensible and Chief Justice Roberts continue to argue that the fate of the nation rests on a judicial pay raise yet neither has shown any empirical evidence of the necessity of a raise. They point only to the pay of top attorneys in the private sector compared to the salaries of the federal judiciary to make their arguments.
http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/2008year-endreport.pdf

Sensible claims that he has noticed a decline over the past 25 years in the quality of the federal judiciary. This is, I'm sure not coincidentally, about how long the criterion of ideology has been the deciding factor in the selection of federal judges. Perhaps the real problem is that eminently qualified attorneys who are not ideologues have little chance of being selected to be federal judges. These judicial ideologues come from both the left and the right. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Clinton appointee, is an ideologue on the left. She is a rabid feminist crusader. Chief Justice John Roberts, a Bush appointee, is the best friend Exxon and corporate America could ever have. Far too many judges appointed during recent administrations have extremist views. They may be brilliant and have impressive credentials, but they have an agenda.

The judges who handled our case in federal court were just such ideologues. The district court judge had a very impressive resume and the senator from this state who nominated him couldn't use enough superlatives when describing his qualifications. "...[O]ne of the most qualified people ever nominated to the District Court bench,...[his] record demonstrates everything that this body should hope for in a judicial nominee: unquestioned competence; a track record of hard work; a personal dedication to justice; and a commitment to public service...not only an extraordinary lawyer and scholar, but also a truly decent, honest, and fairminded man...He is going to be a great judge, and an excellent addition to the Utah District Court bench." These same accolades were lavished on the circuit court judge who reviewed our case on appeal. (Remember, we only had one actual circuit court judge rather than three. One was a visiting district court judge from Oklahoma and the other was a senior circuit court judge, retired since 1984 who, at the hearing, gave every indication that he was senile.) Trouble was, the district court judge and the circuit court judge were both well known as political extremists and ideologues. They were confirmed as federal judges, but had faced enormous opposition in the Senate confirmation hearings. Of course, the opposition was right down party lines.

In Chief Justice Robert's year-end report, no mention is made of problems within the judiciary. He apparently thinks that the judicial system is working just fine and sees no reason to address abuses or review questionable cases. Sensible describes many alleged abuses, all anecdotal and lacking in detail. One, however, caught my attention. He describes a judge who "issued rulings that basically caused a national accounting firm employing thousands of people to go out of business." Would this be the same accounting firm that handled the Enron account? As I recall, Enron and that accounting firm were responsible for thousands of middle class retirees and investors losing their life savings. Any of the judicial decisions that Sensible refers to could have been reviewed by higher courts and, if an injustice had occurred, reversed, sending a message to dishonest or rogue judges that it won't be tolerated. Did this happen in any of the anecdotal examples provided by Sensible? Who knows, he doesn't say. My point is that judicial incompetence, dishonestly or extremism should be dealt with by the judiciary itself and it has not been. The Roberts Court has an obligation to oversee the lower courts and to the best of its ability guarantee every American justice. Since it chooses not to do that then it is a disgrace to demand more money.

By the way, Sensible. I did not say that the judiciary "should be happy with their "gracious" salaries." I said that the judiciary makes at least $170,000 a year and is treated to prestige and gracious working conditions. These working conditions are certainly superior to the conditions endured by our military in Afghanistan or Iraq. The military by its sacrifices, superior performance and its willingness to be held accountable has demonstrated that it is worthy of a substantial pay raise. However, no one is sponsoring a 30% pay raise for them. As I stated at the beginning of this blog, Congress should consider a 30% pay raise for them prior to a large judicial raise. Nothing that Sensible or Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has argued changes my mind.

Sensible
01-04-2009, 10:19 PM
I don't know what world you live in, Ms. Burke, but I never said judges should be paid what top attorneys in top law firms make. That is a total laugh! They are paid so far beneath that, it has become absurd. In even middle of the road firms in Houston (with say, only 20 lawyers) to make $300K+ a year -- almost double what federal judges in a year make. Lawyers in Vinson & Elkins, Baker Botts and similar large firms make $1 mil+ a year - 7 or 8 times what a federal judge makes. When a lawyer one month out of the South Texas College of Law who spends her days doing research in a law firm library makes more than a federal district judge with 30 years experience, something is definitely out of kilter.

Let me ask you question number one: are you in favor, then, or recalculating military pay according to the formula I suggested? You seem so interested in parity, then you should have no problem with this.

Let me ask you a second question: do you understand that just a single decision in certain cases can cost the government hundreds of times more than what the judges are seeking? In fact, the obvious blunders made by the Social Security judge mentioned earlier (and those decisions are not appealable) would alone pay for the raises to the Article III judges I mentioned earlier.

A third question: are you concerned about the national debt, i..e., do you think as I do that we are heading off a cliff? If you are, you have to understand then that we need the very best handling the cases that can significant exacerbate that debt.

A fourth question: do you deny that pay is a factor that the best of the best will take into account when they decide whether to accept the job of federal judge? Surely you must think so, because every person in every occupation I know of considers pay in deciding whether to take a job. If you don't think so then you are denying common experience. If you do, then you have to admit then that the failure to give adequate pay (in relation to what other top quality legal minds are paid) and pay raises sufficient to keep up with inflation are factors that will dissuade the best of the best from taking the job of federal judge.

Fifth: if you admit the best of the best are dissuaded from taking the job, are you okay with that? That is, are you okay with not having top legal minds in the job of Article III judge?

And a sixth question: do you even think that an Article III job is an important job that can have a significant adverse impact on the federal treasury, the economy and the our business and social institutions? I ask this question because apparently you do not because you have no problem seeing their pay eroded by 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts. In any occupation where that takes place, and I do not care if we are talking about doctors, lawyers, salesmen or indian chiefs, you will see a decline in quality of job applicants. Why? Because no one I have ever met has wanted their pay cut even once, much less 17 years in a row. Apparently you think just any average Joe lawyer will do just fine in these jobs. That's okay if that is your opinion, but my experience tells me something far differently.

In sum, the federal judges need a break.

No one, including the military, deserves 17 years in a row of de factor pay cuts. If they had gotten this treatment, I too would be advocating a very large pay raise for them.

So, I ask the question again: can we not afford to give them fair raises?

Sensible
01-06-2009, 03:13 PM
FYI - Article from the FederalTimes on the topic we have been discussing:



Chief justice again pushes for higher judges’ pay
By STEPHEN LOSEY
January 02, 2009
Chief Justice John Roberts’ year-end report renews his call for higher salaries for federal judges.
Judges need cost-of-living adjustments to ensure the courts can attract and retain the best candidates, Roberts said. Judges’ pay has declined by almost 24 percent since 1969, when adjusted for inflation.
Congress has so far failed to approve a cost-of-living adjustment for judges for 2009. Judges don’t get automatic annual cost-of-living adjustments, as lawmakers do. Congress sometimes passes COLAs, and the 2008 adjustment was worth 2.5 percent.

James Duff, the director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, has called on Congress to repeal the public law provision, known as Section 140, which prevents automatic COLAs for judges.

Congress also did not pass a bill last session that would have given judges the same pay they would have received had they been eligible for federal employees’ cost-of-living increases since 1989. HR 3753, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., would have boosted judges’ salaries by between 24 percent and 32 percent. The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill in December 2007, but it did not come to a vote before the full House. Roberts called on Congress to pass that bill in his previous year-end report.
Roberts has called for higher judicial pay every year since becoming chief justice, but his requests so far have been unsuccessful.

“I suspect many are tired of hearing it, and I know I am tired of saying it, but I must make this plea again — Congress must provide judicial compensation that keeps pace with inflation,” Roberts wrote. “Judges knew what the pay was when they answered the call of public service. But they did not know that Congress would steadily erode that pay in real terms by repeatedly failing over the years to provide even cost-of-living increases.”

Sensible
01-10-2009, 02:17 PM
To the reader:

Did you notice that Ms. Burke never answered any of the six questions in post #171. Not only does her silence speak volumes, but her entire approach to the issue of judicial pay reflects a strategy. That strategy is to put forth falsehoods about judge pay (e.g., saying judges want to be paid the way lawyers in top firms are paid), and then engage in a gaslighting approach all premised on jealousy, innuendo and class warfare.

Why does she not answer the six questions and why does she engage in this approach? The reason is what has been discussed in this thread all along: no reasonable person could defend 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts (and in 7 of those years no pay increase at all). Further, she knows answering those questions would corral her because the answers would expose her totallu flawed arguments. In sum, she cannot defend Congress' actions because those actions are indefensible. So, in closing, I will repeat Justice Robert's recent statement set forth in post # 172, above: “I suspect many are tired of hearing it, and I know I am tired of saying it, but I must make this plea again — Congress must provide judicial compensation that keeps pace with inflation... Judges knew what the pay was when they answered the call of public service. But they did not know that Congress would steadily erode that pay in real terms by repeatedly failing over the years to provide even cost-of-living increases.”

bombsquadron6
01-10-2009, 04:20 PM
You sir, are not my professor and do not get to draft and grade a test for me. My arguments have been made throughout this long debate and those arguments defended with links to empirical evidence. It is now up to the reader to decide who made the better argument, although I ask people to reread Professor Posner’s article where he disputes Chief Justice Roberts’ and your massive loss of pay claim. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1077295 Obviously, Chief Justice Roberts is not unbiased since he himself would benefit greatly from a pay raise. (Professor Posner is unbiased and ironically, his own father is a federal appeals court judge who would benefit from a raise.) Further, Chief Justice Roberts, in his 2008 year-end report, again chooses not to address the very real problem of judicial misconduct which was the reason I first began this thread.

For now this is an abstract argument. The bills to raise the salary of the judiciary are dead and unless there is a newsworthy development I am not inclined to answer any more of your angry, repetitive posts.

Sensible
01-10-2009, 10:52 PM
You, madam, have given throughout this debate one tirad after the next -- all because you lost a lawsuit and now you want to stick it to the entire federal judiciary as an act of revenge.

You call empircal evidence some "study" derived from some law professor! Little wonder we are so confused as a nation when all a person needs to do is come up with an "expert" to be a mouthpiece for what he or she wants to hear. Let me give you a news flash Ms. Burke: your so called expert's arguments fall totally apart upon any reasonable scrutiny. Why? Because as pointed out repeatedly, it runs totally contrary to what we know about human nature and common sense. I say it again. No way, no how anyone with a brain, much less the best of the best, would want a job where they are given de facto pay cuts 17 years in a row. This is not the way to treat anyone - much less a federal judge appointed to handle the most important cases in our nation.

In court, I have seen lawyers play this game for years. Did you know that trial lawyers can come up with an "expert" to say about anything? Just sit down at your state courthouse for a few days and listen to some of the crap that comes out of the mouths of some of these people. For instance, we have "experts" who say they can put an "empirical monetary value" on the value of human life. We have had experts who were used to collect hundreds of millions of dollars who testified that breast implants were linked to lupus, even thought the foremost experts in the world on the subject published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that there was no objective proof establishing such a link.

To the reader: do you notice, again, that Ms. Burke did not answer any of the six critical questions set forth in the 01-04-09 post? Instead, she uses rhetoric to avoid answering them. Why? Because she cannot answer these questions without destroying her position. You see, the so called "test" I drafted is based on facts and common sense, so why not answer the questions? What else should one base their position on, other than the facts and common sense? Since her and the professor's position is so contary to common experience, I would love to have one of her "professor experts" under questioning by a top level trial attorney for just five minutes. I am confident you would be amazed at how ridiculous those persons would be made to appear.

Clearly, Ms. Burke's arguments are deeply flawed from a policy standpoint. We all know this because her so called empirical evicence runs contrary to common sense and common experience. She does not want to answer the questions because she wants to take common sense out of the equation. She cares far more about revenge than the quality of the federal judiciary or the ongoing exacerbation of the national debt.

As a footnote, Ms. Burke, on the issue of so called corruption in the federal judiciary, I say one thing that obviously could be done in helping insure there is none is to make sure that we have only persons of the highest quality and highest integrity in those jobs. Isn't that obvious? Conversely, if you want to end up with a corrupt judiciary, just give them 20 years in a row of pay cuts. In fact, Ms. Burke, do this to the holders of any job and I will guarantee the quality of the applicant will plummet. I mean, get a grip: do you really think that we will have applicants with impeccable qualifications and integrity who want any job when they are treated this way? Of course not.

Sensible
01-11-2009, 10:04 PM
Addendum to yesterday's post:

In reviewing the professors' thesis set forth in the article Ms. Burke cites, it is clear where the logic they use is indeed fatally flawed. They state, in part: "increasing judicial salaries will improve judicial performance only if . . . if the appointments process reliably screens out low-ability candidates." Who the hell would disagree with that? Isn't that true with any job? Are universities actually paying professors money to come up with that opinion? Wow!

Of course that statement is true. Of course, the same could be said for transit workers or any other worker under the sun. Duh.

Here is the rub. The professors would have the judges disprove a theoretical negative, which of course is impossible. How could it be proved that better salaries would garner better judges since those salaries have not be afforded yet? However, the same could be said of any profession. How can you prove higher wages make for better law professors or lawyers or doctors? You could say the same with regard to police officers or transit workers or butchers or anyone else? Of course, you cannot because you are asked to disprove a theorical negative.

These egg heads need to get common sense and not ask for empirical disproof of a theorical proposition. I ask the reader to lean on common experience. Ask yourselves, if what the professors say is true, then why does anyone in any profession anywhere get raises?

Do you see the kind of crap the judges are up against, when they are asked to disprove a theoretical negative? What a cruel joke. Give these people a break. Hold them to the same reasoning given to everyone else when raises are given out (certainly all the GS workers in the federal government), that is, it should be done so that they are treated fairly. Of course the quality of the job applicant will suffer if the real pay for the jobs decline. If that were not true, then why don't we just cut the judges pay by another third (or transit workers for that matter, as well as prosecutor's pay and doctors' pay and everyone elses pay)? Lets use common sense here and not listen to a bunch of theorical baloney created by those who do not know anything but theory, and/or may indeed be designed to serve as a smoke screen and/or promote jealousy.

bombsquadron6
01-18-2009, 01:15 AM
Sensible,

Yes, we lost a case and I maintain we were subjected to judicial misconduct which no one in Congress or the judiciary has ever disputed. Yes, I am still angry about it because many thousands of transit workers nationwide were stripped of their right to pick their own union representation. They will now have corrupt unions forced on them which they will have no ability to reject. Shouldn't I be angry?

Every single one of the judges involved in our case was supposedly brilliant, well qualified and the best of the best. They always are. But ethical? Not a one. The district court judge was apparently far more concerned with doing the bidding of the very powerful senator that could advance his career than he was with issuing a ruling consistent with established law. We filed an amended complaint, which strengthened our case, and he ruled against us less than five hours later, pretending he had not seen it. The appellate court judges were more interested in protecting the district court judge than applying the law and thereby embarrassing him. The district court judge resigned two months after I filed judicial misconduct complaints and sent them to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ironically, he used the lack of judicial pay raises as the reason he was resigning. Obviously, all of us connected with the case are skeptical of that. However, if judges like him are resigning due to low pay should I be concerned? When the federal judiciary creates an outside entity to examine judicial misconduct complaints that include members of the public then it is time for a pay raise. Numerous states use such a mechanism to review state court complaints. Why doesn't Chief Justice Roberts create such a body to ensure excellence and ethics? Because the judiciary does not want any oversight. And I do not for one moment believe that what happened to us was an aberration. Many working and middle class citizens have been, and will continue to be, treated as we were by an arrogant and elitist judiciary until there is genuine oversight of federal courts. Chief Justice Roberts apparently has no intention of enacting any real reforms so I maintain it is a disgrace for him to demand more money.

I have made ardent arguments against a pay raise and you accuse me of ranting. I tried to be civil throughout the debate although you tested my patience many times. Stop raging at me because I stood my ground. And thatʼs too bad if you disagree with Professor Posnerʼs assessment of the data which was included in his article. I read it and view it as scientific and thorough.

To me this was just a debate. I had nothing to do with the failure of Congress to pass S.1638 and H.R.3753. The Senate and House were preparing to pass those bills, probably without debate right after the elections, but the economy tanked and now the public would be angry if they did. I spent two years in federal court fighting in vain for a little justice. Those judges didn’t care about people like me then and they donʼt care now but I didn't prevent the judiciary from getting a raise. Or do you know something I donʼt?

Frankly, after all your angry posts, I find it hard to believe that you are just an attorney and donʼt have a personal stake in this debate, other than your concern for your Magistrate friend. Rather, your strident arguments suggest that you do indeed have a financial concern. Who are you and what is your real interest?

Sensible
01-18-2009, 04:14 AM
Once again, Ms. Burke, you fail to answer the six critical questions. Once again, you rely on an opinion of a law professor and call it "scientific" when it concerns a subject that is incapable of scientific analysis. The matter is incapable of scientific analysis because it would require the judges to disprove a theorical positive (ie., if they were paid more, more qualified people would apply for the job). It is rubbish to subject this to any scientific analysis because it pertains to a matter outside science, and falls in the domain of common sense and common experience. If that were not so then it would make no sense to give anyone raises because there is no "scientific" proof that anyone -- transit workers, assembly line workers, buger flippers or business mangers or anyone else under the sun - is a better worker if he or she is paid better.

My background is irrelevant. In fact, that should be kept completely out of the picture because then the discussion becomes Sensible's background rather than the arguments and the logic (or lack thereof) underpinning arguments and positions. However, I will give you this assurance: I am not a member of the federal judiciary and I have no relatives who are.

Here is how I see things. In my opinion, we have a 50/50 chance in the next three years of entering another Great Depression. Why? Because we have just about indebted ourselves as a nation nto economic oblivion. Crummy judges have played a role in this, albeit not the largest role. That is what one gets when they pay peanuts. No telling how many good, ethical judges shunned the job because of the pay issues.

Sensible
01-18-2009, 04:20 AM
PS to Ms. Burke. I have not raged against anyone. All I have done is challenge the logic of your positions, plus point out that you would have a motive for wanting to see the judges mistreated when it comes to their pay. Please do not take anything I have said in our debate personally.

bombsquadron6
02-17-2009, 02:23 AM
WASHINGTON — The Army is investigating a stunning number of suicides in January — a count that could surpass all combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan last month. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,488604,00.html

What is this attributed to? According to the article, “[o]fficials said they found that the most common factors were soldiers suffering problems with their personal relationships, legal or financial issues and problems on the job.” How many Americans are more concerned with the financial well being of the federal judiciary than the general well being of the U.S. Army? Not many, I would venture to guess. Many military men and women and their families are desperately trying to hold their lives together, far removed from the lives of the very privileged members of the judiciary who insist that they are worth far more than their present salaries reflect.

I have maintained throughout this debate that the judiciary must reform and be accountable for their actions before they demand a raise. So far, there has been no effort whatsoever by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to oversee the courts and address the many abuses by federal judges under his watch. Both of his year end reports on the state of the judiciary contained pleas for higher salaries and made only passing reference to ethics and integrity within the court system. If the Chief Justice is so unconcerned with abuses within the courts then why should Americans grant raises to these judges? (By the way, Congress has wisely declined to accept its automatic 2.8% COLA raise which likely means it will not grant the equivalent raise to the judiciary.)

Sensible has long argued that attorneys at top law firms, from which federal judges are often selected, are the best and the brightest and far more qualified than attorneys who work independently or work for causes that they believe in. But is this really true? The legal blog Volokh Conspiracy ran the following item dated January 2, 2007.

The New York Post reports that a "Brain Drain" is hitting major law firms:

The city's largest, most prestigious law firms are suffering from serious brain drain. Young, Gen-X lawyers in their third to fifth year in the business are walking away from their $200,000- a-year positions in record numbers - at times without another job in view. The reason? They are unhappy with their Blackberry lifestyle - being tethered to the job 24/7 and having to rush back to the office at a moment's notice when e-mail orders pop up on the ubiquitous PDA.

The exodus of law firm associates is unprecedented, according to the National Association of Law Placement, or NALP, which found that 37 percent of associates leave large firms within the first three years.

Maybe they all can become federal judges. http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2006_12_31-2007_01_06.shtml

My observation about this would be that there are many excellent attorneys out there who refuse to sell their souls for money. Are the “top attorneys” at big law firms actually brilliant or are they mercenary? There is a pool of very talented attorneys who have demonstrated that they will not sell out for money and who refuse to screw people over. They believe in justice. Can this be said of many of the big law firm attorneys who have gone on to become federal judges?

An interesting article appeared on the website Citizens for Judicial Accountability. It describes the often sloppy work of the Courts of Appeals and examines how law clerks, usually brand new attorneys, often write opinions and make important decisions affecting cases. (The article pertains mostly to unpublished decisions which have less influence than published decisions which have precedential value.) http://www.judicialaccountability.org/appealsfederalcourt.htm

Although our case was published we had a similar experience when we appealed our case to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The clerk that worked for the Appellate Court judge who issued the decision had previously worked for the district court judge whose decision we were appealing. From the timeline I have established, this clerk apparently worked for both judges while our case was in their respective courts. Presumably, this clerk helped write both decisions. It is unlikely that he would draft a decision for the appellate court judge that repudiated his own earlier work for the district court judge and which would reflect badly on his former employer. The appellate court decision was filled with errors and critical facts of the case had been changed to support it. I documented all of this in the judicial misconduct complaints and it was never disputed but the Judicial Council of the Tenth Circuit merely ignored all of this and ruled that the judges had acted properly. There is absolutely no accountability within the judiciary. They call it “judicial independence.”

A shocking example of this lack of judicial accountability recently occurred in Phoenix, Arizona. A federal judge there ruled that a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and Hispanic advocates could proceed against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They accuse Sheriff Arpaio of targeting illegal aliens in crime sweeps. Sheriff Arpaio defends the sweeps and maintains he is enforcing the law. The federal judge, Mary Murguia, is the twin sister of Janet Murguia, president of La Raza and an advocate for illegal immigrants. Janet Murguia is a frequent, vehement critic of the sheriff. http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2009/02/09/daily50.html?ana=from_rss

Why did Judge Murguia not have the ethics and integrity to recuse herself from hearing the case due to the colossal conflict of interest? Isn’t this judge just another example of the ideologues that have been appointed by both parties and who now permeate the judiciary? How will a raise in her salary help improve the judiciary? Until the judiciary creates a mechanism to punish judges that violate the public’s trust, they do not need nor deserve a large pay raise. The military is held accountable by both the courts and the United States Congress. Judges should also be held accountable by Congress. The Judiciary Committees already have oversight abilities which include holding hearings and an impeachment process that is virtually never used. Further, the federal judiciary itself should create an internal review panel which includes members of the public that are neither attorneys nor judges. This type of real reform is the primary point of my thread. Until this reform happens, it is outrageous that Congress even considered a pay raise for the federal judiciary, a proposed raise nearly ten times more than the military received.

bombsquadron6
03-01-2009, 01:20 AM
The following describes a case that recently went to the Supreme Court. Their decision is pending. The case involves the Navajo Indian Nation and Peabody Energy Company, the world's largest coal company, which has had a lease to mine for coal on Navajo land for many years. The Navajos have been deprived of fair royalty payments for this coal and twice have gone to federal court in an effort to force Peabody to pay them fairly. Both cases went to the U.S. Supreme Court, the first time in 2003. The Supreme Court ruled against the Navajos at that time. Here is a link that explains the issues in that first case. http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_01_1375/

The Navajos have continued, through the federal courts, to try to force Peabody to pay fair royalties for Navajo coal. The following is an excerpt from an excellent article dated February 4, 2009, about the dispute. The full article can be read at http://indianz.com/News/2009/012979.asp

At issue is a lease between the Navajo Nation and Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal company. Facing economic pressure, the tribe accepted a less than favorable royalty rate on one of the nation's most valuable coal deposits. As a result, the tribe said it was cheated out of at least $600 million.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs was prepared to back a better rate until former Interior secretary Don Hodel intervened after meeting privately with a former aide who worked for Peabody as its lobbyist. Hodel was replaced by Manuel Lujan, a Republican who signed onto the brief along with the other former Interior secretaries.

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has twice sided with the tribe and has pointed out the government's double-dealing on the matter. But the Supreme Court in March 2003 struck down the first victory after an appeal by the Bush administration.

The current case, also appealed by the Bush administration, represents what might be the tribe's one last shot. After the first loss at the high court, the tribe revived the case by citing other laws and regulations that weren't considered during in 2003.

Briefing on the case was completed last month, with Peabody and Southern California Edison, a utility that depends on coal from the Navajo Nation, filing in support of the government. Separately, Peabody faces a federal racketeering lawsuit for its role in the dispute.

During the oral arguments for this case, held on Monday February 23, 2009, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on her first day back after having had surgery for pancreatic cancer, made it very clear that her 2003 majority opinion in the earlier Navajo case precluded any chance of the Navajos prevailing this time, despite the fact that the Navajos have made new arguments that were not relied on in the earlier case. Justice Ginsburg chose not to take into consideration the fact that Peabody Energy Company faces a federal racketeering lawsuit for its role in the dispute with the Navajos. Nor does she take into consideration the fact that the former Interior Secretary Don Hodel had meetings with a lobbyist for Peabody. Hodel was a personal friend of the lobbyist. After these meetings the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved a lease with a lower royalty rate for the tribe. She further ignores that the former official who oversaw the mining division for the United States was sentenced to ten months in prison for other shady dealings with another lobbyist. http://www.indianz.com/News/2007/004906.asp So it appears that the Navajos will lose again at the United States Supreme Court despite winning unanimously in a 3-0 decision in the Federal Court of Appeals. http://turtletalk.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/commentary-on-the-navajo-nation-oral-argument/#more-491

While Americans have been taught to evaluate judges through a prism of right to left, in recent times the only consistency of the judges appointed to the federal judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, is their determination to protect the agenda of large multi-national corporations. The gay rights, drug and abortion cases we read so much about are just sideshows that distract Americans from seeing that their birthright is being sold so that businesses with no national loyalty can prosper. The Supreme Court virtually never takes take on big businesses for engaging in improper behavior and always finds a loophole to allow them to escape the consequences of their unethical behavior. Exxon has escaped numerous judgments by successful appeals to the Supreme Court. The judiciary frustrates shareholder suits, immigration enforcement, anti-trust enforcement and any action that might slow globalization and the growth of multinationals corporations. This corporate agenda should be no surprise since both the Democrats and the Republicans appoint federal judges from the ranks of corporate attorneys and now these corporate judges are complaining since they no longer receive corporate pay. Americans really have to consider whether they benefit from this globalization and judges from both the left and right that support that agenda.

Both the present and former administration found that saving the mainly global banks with more than $700 billion was necessary. But is this concentration of banking power even desirable and does their global reach diminish their nationalistic loyalty? Why not just help the smaller American based banks increase their lending ability since many of them are far stronger because they often followed traditional lending practices. Why not reward success and not failure? Why not restrict foreclosure aid to U.S. citizens? Banks such as Bank of America had and may still have a policy of promoting home loans to illegal aliens and they have taken a bath on many of those loans. Is that the reason why they can now turn to the government for help since they were promoting the agenda of globalization?

Native Americans, it has been said, are the proverbial canaries in the mineshaft. How they are treated now demonstrates how the rest of Americans will be treated in coming years. Native Americans understand what it means to lose control over their country. I hope that Americans will not have lost their country before they wake up. This elitist judiciary is not serving the U.S. Constitution but rather the will of multinational corporate America. Judicial pay raises without accountability to the citizens will only speed-up the loss of our Republic. This Navajo case is just another example demonstrating that justice is not the prime goal of the “Justices”.

The Navajo decision will encourage this continued use of government power to enrich the multinational elite. It will not save the government significant money since the Navajo Nation has over 50% unemployment and the government, i.e. the taxpayers, will have to spend additional money there to address this poverty. The taxpayers would have saved money had Peabody been required to pay its fair share of royalties to the Navajo Nation which would then have had the money to promote economic development. Instead, they were deceived by the federal government, which had a “trust responsibility,” to accept $600 million less than they should have received and the United States Supreme Court has found that such behavior by Peabody Energy Company is beyond the reach of the law. God help us all because the federal judiciary has no intention of protecting the average American.

Sensible
03-09-2009, 12:44 AM
I never said judges should receive the pay a partner in a major firm should make. They should be paid better than a neophyte lawyer at those firms who just sits in the library all day and does research. Also, the reason most lawyers leave those firms is because most cannot hack it, so they are never made a partner.

Lets turn the tables. Like I suggested earlier, let's recalculate military pay using the same percentage raises given to the judges. Boy that would save the taxpayers a bundle!

No matter what "reform" the judiciary concocted, I can assure you Ms. Burke would still complain and still say no raise. She would just say that the private citizens were biased towards the judges and the system was rigged.

There is no need for any private citizens to serve on any panels. There is such a wide political spectrum in the federal judiciary that there is nothing akin there to a blue wall of silence. Ms. Burke wants to make this issue complicated when it is really pretty simple. Pay these men and women a wage commensurate with their responsibilities, and do not give them 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts. I seriously doubt very few would take the job (unless they already were fabulously wealthy) if they knew their pay would slowly be eroded by Congress. How demoralizing and how unjust to those judges who work hard and do their best to serve their country and render fair and thoughtful decisions.

sigecaps
03-09-2009, 05:16 AM
Here's how this thread has evolved.

1) Sensible: Federal judges have not seen a pay raise in 17 years which means their real wages have gone down, eg. defacto pay cuts. There's a strong correlation between salary and performance and we want talented people to serve on the judiciary, which are growing increasingly difficult to attract thanks to the defacto pay cuts.
2) Lisa/Hawk reply: Federal judges do not deserve pay raises based on the alleged anecdotal abuse that Lisa faced.
3) Sensible: There is no evidence of systemic/institutionalized abuse that exists in the judiciary.
4) Cycle through 1-3 about a dozen times.
5) Hawk attempts to spread with 50 random pieces of alleged abuse that he believes demonstrates systemic abuse.
6) Let's see the military take the judicial pay promotion for the past 17 years.
7) Cycle through 1-3, and now 6 about a dozen times.

Sensible should reply here (maybe he did? i might have missed it between the endless cycling of 1-3,6): let's define what systemic abuse is, it is not 50 random/tangentially-related pieces of alleged abuse spread out over several years, which may or may not have been abuse in the first place, and may or may not have self-corrected (ie. not systemic abuse). You could find 50 pieces of abuse in any field, even in the military, and you'd be just as equally wrong to suggest that on this basis alone there is evidence of systemic abuse. Just as equally wrong to hold everyone in the military accountable for the actions of a few. Lisa if you've been wronged, take it up with your elected officials. They still have the power to impeach our judges, and we all ultimately have the power to replace our congressmen. Punish the bad guys, reward the good guys. That is the fair thing to do. To punish everyone is wrong. And not only is it wrong, as it's already been said a thousand times, disincentivizing talented legal professionals from serving as judges skews our courts unfavorably to the less talented and puts the judicial system at risk. It certainly does not serve the interest of removing abusive practices/judges.

Sensible should/could have framed this debate better, but Hawk/Lisa are wrong. PERIOD END DOT.

bombsquadron6
03-09-2009, 03:49 PM
[QUOTE=sigecaps;196252] Lisa if you've been wronged, take it up with your elected officials. They still have the power to impeach our judges, and we all ultimately have the power to replace our congressmen. Punish the bad guys, reward the good guys. That is the fair thing to do. To punish everyone is wrong. And not only is it wrong, as it's already been said a thousand times, disincentivizing talented legal professionals from serving as judges skews our courts unfavorably to the less talented and puts the judicial system at risk. It certainly does not serve the interest of removing abusive practices/judges.
QUOTE]

You are correct that this thread got pretty long winded. I did take it up with elected officials. The district court judge resigned two months later. You can say I am wrong because you believe that what happened to us is not necessarily representative of the judiciary as a whole but I would say that it is far too common. The judiciary refuses to implement any real oversight of the courts. Congress refuses to use the tools they already have to hold individual judges accountable and Americans suffer for this.

When the federal courts enact real reforms, for example, having lay persons on judicial councils that review judicial misconduct complaints, then I would change my mind. But as the system works now, the same judges who are being complained about, or their fellow judges whom they work closely with, can be on the councils that decide the merits of a complaint. It's an incredible conflict of interest, which apparently you have no problem with. It is easy for you to dismiss my arguments if you haven't been in federal court, particularly if you have not decided to fight a very powerful interest with an almost limitless supply of public money. You see things alot differently after having endured what we did.

As far as federal judges getting a pay raise, why should they now? There are many very good attorneys who have bee laid off from high paying law firm jobs. The work isn't there and suddenly a job with the judiciary looks very good.

Sensible
03-09-2009, 05:23 PM
They should get a pay raise because simple equity demands it. No one else I know of has received 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts. The issue is not now nor has it ever been the federal government trying to save money by nickle and diming the judges. Be careful what you wish for. If this trend continues, then the same Congress could start doing the same thing with the military, and AFGE and NTU employees, and give them pay raises less than inflation for a couple of decades. No, the issue is about protecting the integrity of the job itself. Obviously, if the pay is so significantly eroded away to the point where neophyte lawyers just entering into practice make more than Presidentially appointed judges with 30 years experience, something is very, very wrong. And trust me, lawyers flurish in bad economies. They are one of the few professions who thrive in this climate, particularly litigation attorneys. There is more suing and more fighting over contracts and more bankrupcies. The really good experienced trial lawyers are not going begging right now at all. They are making a killing.

Do you realize, Lisa, how many tens of thousands of cases the federal courts hear each year? Even if the cases you cite show misconduct, I would venture to say the amount of misconduct is statiscally insignificant.

BTW - the judge I mention about in an earlier post, Sam Kent in Houston, was forced to resign as a part of a plea deal. The charges that he plead guilty to involved obstructing the investigation launched against him by the Fifth Circuit Judicial Misconduct panel. So much for the Fifth Circuit not handing out punishment for offenders. Lets see, Judge Kent lost his position. Judge McBride in Fort Worth was suspended from hearing cases for a year. Looks like down here at least the judiciary is self policing itself very well, thank you.





QUOTE=bombsquadron6;196458]
Lisa if you've been wronged, take it up with your elected officials. They still have the power to impeach our judges, and we all ultimately have the power to replace our congressmen. Punish the bad guys, reward the good guys. That is the fair thing to do. To punish everyone is wrong. And not only is it wrong, as it's already been said a thousand times, disincentivizing talented legal professionals from serving as judges skews our courts unfavorably to the less talented and puts the judicial system at risk. It certainly does not serve the interest of removing abusive practices/judges.
QUOTE]

You are correct that this thread got pretty long winded. I did take it up with elected officials. The district court judge resigned two months later. You can say I am wrong because you believe that what happened to us is not necessarily representative of the judiciary as a whole but I would say that it is far too common. The judiciary refuses to implement any real oversight of the courts. Congress refuses to use the tools they already have to hold individual judges accountable and Americans suffer for this.

When the federal courts enact real reforms, for example, having lay persons on judicial councils that review judicial misconduct complaints, then I would change my mind. But as the system works now, the same judges who are being complained about, or their fellow judges whom they work closely with, can be on the councils that decide the merits of a complaint. It's an incredible conflict of interest, which apparently you have no problem with. It is easy for you to dismiss my arguments if you haven't been in federal court, particularly if you have not decided to fight a very powerful interest with an almost limitless supply of public money. You see things alot differently after having endured what we did.

As far as federal judges getting a pay raise, why should they now? There are many very good attorneys who have bee laid off from high paying law firm jobs. The work isn't there and suddenly a job with the judiciary looks very good.

bombsquadron6
03-12-2009, 05:27 PM
Sensible should/could have framed this debate better, but Hawk/Lisa are wrong. PERIOD END DOT.
So says Sigecaps.

Apparently, Sigecaps has decreed that the debate is over and I, along with Hawk, have lost. His decree has as much legitimacy as my proclamation that I am hereby declaring victory.

If the thread has been repetitive, no one was forced to read it. But I am disturbed that Sigecaps is so unbothered by the many examples of systemic judicial abuse that have been cited to and his apparent belief that the judiciary is deserving of a no-strings-attached raise. (Nor does he indicate that he is at all bothered by what the Supreme Court has done, and is still doing, to the Navajos. Protecting the corporate interests of Peabody Coal Company must be more important than protecting the legitimate interests of Native Americans.) This is Sigecaps' prerogative and I shall not argue with him. They would be the same arguments that I made to Sensible.

As for former federal judge Sam Kent, whom Sensible used as an example of a judge being held accountable for his actions, he was a schmuck who harassed and abused the women in his office. Certainly he's a pig and deserves what he got but how many people think that what Kent did affects the lives of millions of Americans. This is not corruption (other than his attempt to obstruct the investigation into his loutish behavior) and to offer Kent up as evidence that the judiciary is policing itself is ridiculous.

Sensible, (and now apparently Sigecaps), continues to argue that the fate of the nation rests on a judicial pay raise. Never mind that there has been no shortage of very competent and qualified candidates for every judicial opening. And now with the collapse of the economy, there are considerably more qualified candidates who would be thrilled to have a federal judgeship. This link will take you to an article about the dire circumstances of some formerly well paid attorneys. When an attorney who previously made $300,000 a year is forced to move his wife and family into the in-laws guest house, you know things are tough in the legal field. http://piggington.com/otlaw_firm_associates_getting_slaughtered

Sensible is angry that the judges didn't get a raise before the economy tanked. The rest of us who are fortunate enough to still have jobs are making the best of a bad situation and we know there will be no raises in our futures. Most of us are expected to work even harder, often doing the work that would earlier have been done by more than one employee. Maybe these federal judges, rather than howling that they are underpaid, should be damned glad that they have jobs.

Just as a reference, the following links will give some stats on judicial misconduct complaints.
http://www.judicialaccountability.org/judicialaccountability4.htm
Here is a paragraph taken from the above article that I found insightful. Keep in mind that no matter how wrong a federal judge's ruling is, you cannot file a complaint based solely on that. No matter how bad the ruling is, regardless of whether it is contrary to all established law, common sense and fundamental fairness, federal judges are not held accountable for their legal decisions. They get a pass. It's called judicial independence.

The judiciary's refusal to entertain complaints that are related to the merits of a decision or ruling arise from the concept of judicial independence. Based on this judicial independence the judiciary freed itself from accountability. The imposition of sanctions for misconduct in their ruling would impose accountability on the judges. Obviously to avoid accountability the complaints are dismissed.

This next link compares the procedures that the federal judiciary uses to handle judicial misconduct complaints and the procedures that individual states use.
http://www.tulanelink.com/tulanelink/judicialdiscipline_box.htm

The federal judicial misconduct complaint process is cloaked in secrecy. Judicial misconduct complaints are judged by judicial councils. These councils are made up of fellow judges, who are often colleagues and friends with the judge being complained about, from the respective circuit court and districts courts within it. No unbiased parties are involved. From data compiled in 2007, over 99% of the complaints against federal judges were dismissed. Yet, from 1990 to 1999, the California Commission on Judicial Performance disciplined 499 judges. The contrast between the California process and the federal process probably does not lie in a substantial difference in the ethics or behavior of federal and state judges but between a state system that is designed to address legitimate grievances and a federal system designed to protect judges from all reasonable review. Yes, judges may have many false complaints lodged against them, but one has to be truly naive to believe that over 99 percent of the people that went through the process of complaining did not have legitimate complaints. The federal judges have designed a system that has a clear conflict of interest in it. They protect their own. A police review board that examines whether an officer was justified in shooting someone does not contain only fellow officers (who are likely friends) from that jurisdiction. Such a system would surely have a similar 99% clearance rate.
http://www.tulanelink.com/tulanelink/judicialdiscipline_box.htm

Sensible argues that fairness dictates that we give the judiciary a raise. Well, fairness also dictates that complaints against federal judges be judged by unbiased parties in an open process. If the federal judiciary was truly as ethical as the 99% dismissal rate of misconduct complaints would suggest, then they would have the integrity to address this conflict of interest and devise a system that would better protect the public and hold themselves accountable.

hawk71049
03-12-2009, 07:34 PM
.

Hawk/Lisa are wrong. PERIOD END DOT.
So, say the Jury & the Judge? Sounds like more of the same to me. lol
Other than stir the pot, and throw rocks, surely you’re not that naïve, where are the solutions? What say you other than from the side lines?


But I am disturbed that Sigecaps is so unbothered by the many examples of systemic judicial abuse that have been cited to and his apparent belief that the judiciary is deserving of a no-strings-attached raise. (Nor does he indicate that he is at all bothered by what the Supreme Court has done, and is still doing, to the Navajos. Protecting the corporate interests of Peabody Coal Company must be more important than protecting the legitimate interests of Native Americans.)
History kind of speaks for itself, how our justice system and the treaties have served our Native Americans. Who really cares about the legitimate interest of the Native Americans, should this really be a surprise to any of us? I bow my head.. in shame…


You could find 50 pieces of abuse in any field, even in the military, and you'd be just as equally wrong to suggest that on this basis alone there is evidence of systemic abuse.
lmao… I presented 50, there are thousands of cases out there, literally thousands, you think there might be a few more that would make their way to the internet. Hell… I profess most take the hit, and go on down the road after such an injustice; most people are tired of fighting a losing battle… corruption in the judiciary. There are so many cases presented here on the web, if one spent 60 seconds just looking at each case, you would be on the web for months on end… then there would be the ones to review that you missed while wading through the cases googled. Hell… google the subject for yourself!


Sensible argues that fairness dictates that we give the judiciary a raise. Well, fairness also dictates that complaints against federal judges be judged by unbiased parties in an open process. If the federal judiciary was truly as ethical as the 99% dismissal rate of misconduct complaints would suggest, then they would have the integrity to address this conflict of interest and devise a system that would better protect the public and hold themselves accountable.
All good questions, sensible has learned well the ability to deflect or detour questions that deserve straight forward answers… vice the clutter this issue has received.

The federal judicial misconduct complaint process is cloaked in secrecy.
Why is there such bias in a judicial system? Why do we not have a more open system, where is the transparency? ... Why are these questions so damn difficulty to answer, I suggest perhaps, the answer, is not providing one, look at what might happen!... hawk

.

Sensible
03-12-2009, 11:03 PM
Ms. Burke,

You realize that, from a constitutional prespective, what you are suggesting is the equivalent to putting a civilian oversight person over Mr. Obama? Why don't we do that? Why not do that with regard to Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid?

Let me explain a few things about how this works. Do you notice that there is nothing in the Constitution that specifically provides for U.S. District Judges and Circuit Judges? Then how did they come into being? Well, it was determined a couple of centuries ago that these jobs were implied by the Constitution itself because the Supreme Court could not possibly handle all these cases on its own. So, these lower courts were created by statute. Although they are created by statute, since the Constitution only specifically mentions the Supreme Court, these lower courts are nonetheless literally extensions of the Supreme Court's power. So, when they were created by Congress all Congress did was put into effect what the Founding Fathers intended. Thus, if Congress had not created inferior Article III courts they would be acting unconstitutionally and could have been ordered to do so by the Supreme Court.

Now the Supreme Court is the head of a branch of government, and from a constitutional standpoint is entitled to the same dignity as the POTUS and every member of Congress. Since these lower federal courts are extensions of the SCOTUS' authority, they too are entitled to the same degree of constitutional dignity. So, you see, you have a real consitutional problem with demanding "reform" from these authorities by puting into place civilian oversight board or a board with civilians on it. To do so would seriously violate the Separation of Powers doctrine. The Founding Fathers could have created oversight boards composed of civilians when they wrote the Constitution. They did not. Instead, they chose to rely on the Checks and Balances allowed by the Constitution. Like I said earlier, if you do not like the system as it exists, you need to amend the Constitution.

At best all a civilian on an oversight committee could do is make a recommendation. The only entity which could impose consequences, and that would be limited to simply moving the judge to another location or preventing him or her from hearing cases, is the SCOTUS. Under the Separation of Powers doctrine, the only body that could impose discipline with any real teeth would be Congress -- through impeachment proceedings. Of course, as in Judge Kent's case th Executive Branch could also institute a criminal prosecution or civil lawsuit for actions undertaken by the judge outside the scope of his duties. That is the reality of how our government is set up. Your proposed "reform" idea has serious constitutional problems and in my view violates the Separation of Powers clause if you think that a civilian on an oversight board can do anything other than make a recommendation.

Don't single the judges out. There is no such civilians looking over Obama's shoulder or Pelosi's shoulder or Reid's shoulder either.

You say I act as if the country will fall apart if the judges do not get a raise. Don't be ridiculous. However, obviously the overall quality of the federal bench will fall if their pay is endlessly eroded away year after year after year. The same hold true for any profession. I mean, we are not communists in this country, as you know. Money is not all important, but when pay gets ridiculously low compared to what these people could make in the private sector, it will impact quality.

I do not what the situation is in Utah, but down here in Texas the types of lawyers who make the best federal judges (trial lawyers, since that is what federal judges do -- preside over trials) are making more money than ever. I saw the same thing in the 1980's down here when Texas went into hard times due to the crash in the oil patch. Times get hard and people start suing more.

Get ready. The Congress gives itself raises less than the inflation rate too, since they do not need the money. (do you knowor have you even heard of a poor Congressman or Senator?) They have been doing the same thing in regard to raises to the judges as we have talked about endlessly in this string. Now I predict the next on the list will be the all other employees of the federal government who are at the top of their respective pay bands. And you know what the Congress will say? We took a de facto pay cut, so its time for everyone else to step up to the plate and do the same. That would ordinarily be fine, except in case of the judges this has gone on for 17 years. Like I said. We are not communists. Eventually the pay disparity between what experienced competent trial lawyers make and judges make will become so great that quality will really start to suffer.

Sensible
03-13-2009, 12:16 AM
Put another way, Ms. Burke, your proposal to have civilians review the work of judges would likely be abused by unhappy litigants such as yourself who lost their case and sought to exert undue pressure on the federal judiciary. This would be a way for litigants to get multiple bites at the apple and would seriously undermine judicial independence.

More important, such a board would violate legal principles as old as our republic. The landmark case where judicial review was first established was Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (Cranch 1) 137 (1803). In that case the great Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, "It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department [the judicial branch] to say what the law is." This is even carved in the marble on the wall of the SCt building. You see, if you get civilians involved in this area, you would be giving this duty to persons who are outside the judicial branch. As a matter of law, such action would be unconstitutional.

I am also sure you can envision a "parade of horribles" if civilians reviewed actions taken by Article III judges in the course of their duties. Such actions could become unbelieveably disruptive to the essential duties of the federal judiciary, interfer with judicial independence and weaken the judiciary. No, if a person does not have enough proof to show an impeachable offense or a crime or an ultra vires act that could be subject to a civil proceeding, or at least have enough proof to satisfy the judicial misconduct board, then he or she should pack it in. There are several remedies here -- the claimant just has to have enough proof.

The federal judiciary is comprised of persons on both sides of the aisle, and of every persuasion. Many judges have political allegiances to persons who are adversaries of the person who appointed the judge who appears before him or her on misconduct boards. In this environment, a wall of judicial silence is not only improbable but most like impossible.

bombsquadron6
03-15-2009, 12:16 AM
Ms. Burke,
I do not what the situation is in Utah, but down here in Texas the types of lawyers who make the best federal judges (trial lawyers, since that is what federal judges do -- preside over trials) are making more money than ever. I saw the same thing in the 1980's down here when Texas went into hard times due to the crash in the oil patch. Times get hard and people start suing more.


These two very recent articles in Texas Lawyer tell a much different story. Texas attorneys at many large and medium sized firms are being laid off and job prospects for them are very bleak. There may be a handful of attorneys who are doing well but the economy has decimated the legal profession in Texas just like everywhere else.

http://www.law.com/jsp/tx/PubArticleTX.jsp?id=1202429052893

http://www.law.com/jsp/tx/PubArticleTX.jsp?id=1202428876909

Sensible
03-15-2009, 12:31 AM
Lisa - the articles you are referring to mention '07 grads, paralegals and associates and attorneys who are of counsel. These are not the types who possess the qualifications needed to be a federal judge. I also noticed they mention nothing about partners being laid off. More important, they mention nothing about experienced trial lawyers. Obviously in a downturn law firms with gobs of transaction lawyers (e.g., those who handle corporate acquisitions and real estate and commercial transactions) are going to lay those people off. Why? Because there are far fewer itransactions because the economy is contracting; instead, the emphasis in the legal profession shifts to litigation because people are busy fighting over transactions that have gone sour.

Use your common sense. What happens when the economy goes bad? People sue more. Also, which kind of lawyer should be a federal judge? A transaction lawyer whose shadow has never darkened a courtroom door? Or a trial lawyer who has handled gobs of trials, and knows the rules of evidence and courtroom procedure. You know the answer -- it is the trial lawyer. As I said, those types are making a killing right now. They are one of the few people who do prosper when times are bad.

bombsquadron6
03-15-2009, 01:41 AM
Ms. Burke,

You realize that, from a constitutional prespective, what you are suggesting is the equivalent to putting a civilian oversight person over Mr. Obama? Why don't we do that? Why not do that with regard to Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid?.............

So, you see, you have a real consitutional problem with demanding "reform" from these authorities by puting into place civilian oversight board or a board with civilians on it. To do so would seriously violate the Separation of Powers doctrine. The Founding Fathers could have created oversight boards composed of civilians when they wrote the Constitution. They did not. Instead, they chose to rely on the Checks and Balances allowed by the Constitution. Like I said earlier, if you do not like the system as it exists, you need to amend the Constitution.................

At best all a civilian on an oversight committee could do is make a recommendation. The only entity which could impose consequences, and that would be limited to simply moving the judge to another location or preventing him or her from hearing cases, is the SCOTUS. Under the Separation of Powers doctrine, the only body that could impose discipline with any real teeth would be Congress -- through impeachment proceedings. Of course, as in Judge Kent's case the Executive Branch could also institute a criminal prosecution or civil lawsuit for actions undertaken by the judge outside the scope of his duties. That is the reality of how our government is set up. Your proposed "reform" idea has serious constitutional problems and in my view violates the Separation of Powers clause if you think that a civilian on an oversight board can do anything other than make a recommendation.................

Don't single the judges out. There is no such civilians looking over Obama's shoulder or Pelosi's shoulder or Reid's shoulder either.

Sensible argues that putting civilians on judicial oversight boards would be the equivalent of putting civilian oversight over President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid. Actually, we already have that oversight. It is known as "the voters."

He also argues that putting civilians on judicial misconduct councils, or boards, would seriously violate the Separation of Powere doctrine. Well, California, which also has separation of powers, has no constitutional coflict with having civilians on judicial misconduct review boards. Here is a link that will take you to the State of California Commission on Judicial Performance. http://cjp.ca.gov/ You can read about the members of the commission which is comprised of judges from the California State Court system, various attorneys and members of the public.

The Commission's mandate is to protect the public, enforce rigorous standards of judicial conduct and maintain public confidence in the integrity and independence of the judicial system. While the majority of California's judges are committed to maintaining the high standards expected of the judiciary, an effective method of disciplining judges who engage in misconduct is essential to the functioning of our judicial system. Commission proceedings provide a fair and appropriate mechanism to preserve the integrity of the judicial process. (Taken from the website.)

Sensible wants readers to believe that I advocate that judicial misconduct councils with civilians on them have the power to remove federal judges or some such nonsense. Only Congress has that power. But since less than 1% of federal judicial misconduct complaints are found to have merit, it is almost impossible for Congress to act to remove judges. Of course, no one but the (complained about) judge's colleagues are on the council so it is a rigged system. If, as Sensible maintains, the overwhelming majority of federal judges are honest, then why are they so opposed to reforming the system and holding themselves accountable? And no, Sensible, reforming the system used to review judicial misconduct complaints does not require a Constitutional amendment!

Sensible
03-15-2009, 04:20 AM
Lisa - you need to read my earlier post more closely. I said the only remedy that would be available to a civilian would be to make a recommendation. Anything more would be unconstitutional. Well, a civilian can do that now through contact with his or her representative. The proposal you have is a waste of time because the civilian could not act in a way that had any significant consequences. In terms of California vs the US government, from a legal standpoint one is an apple and the other an orange.

bombsquadron6
03-15-2009, 06:04 PM
Lisa - you need to read my earlier post more closely. I said the only remedy that would be available to a civilian would be to make a recommendation. Anything more would be unconstitutional. Well, a civilian can do that now through contact with his or her representative. The proposal you have is a waste of time because the civilian could not act in a way that had any significant consequences. In terms of California vs the US government, from a legal standpoint one is an apple and the other an orange.

An individual like myself lacks any authority to investigate a judge, obtain testimony or subpoena evidence. Unbiased members of a judicial misconduct review board would have that authority and the findings of the board would have a credibility that an individual complainant would not have. Recommendations could then be made to reform the present system. Commissions are routinely used in America for this purpose. The 9/11 Commission had no ability to order changes but made recommendations, many of which were then adopted.

Unfortunately, many people with legitimate grievances against the federal court system get labeled as disgruntled sore losers because they did not obtain a positive outcome to their case, just as you have done to me. When the decision appears to be motivated by an attempt to curry Congressional favor, as in my case, complaining to representatives is an act of futility. Shining a light on a problem is never a waste of time. Holding abusers of judicial power up to public scrutiny and criticism serves a very valuable function.

The opposition of the federal judiciary to allow the same type of scrutiny routinely imposed on state court judges speaks volumes about their arrogance. The states also have three branches of government and easily accommodate such review with no conflict.

No, Sensible, I do read your posts and understand you quite clearly but disagree with your arguments. It is you that doesn't seem to read my posts. I am not against an effort to give pay raises to federal judges. However, what I have maintained all along is that a pay raise must be tied to accountability. The federal judges need only create a viable and legitimate review process of their actions. The fact that they arrogantly refuse to create such a process disqualifies them from a raise.

This is especially true during these tough economic times when Americans that have always been accountable for their actions are being targeted for reductions. There is presently a proposal that would require wounded veterans to use their private health insurance to treat their war related injuries prior to the VA stepping in to pay. http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/10/veterans.health.insurance/index.html Of course, I oppose this outrageous proposal and believe that it would be a far greater injustice than denying federal judges, who refuse to hold themselves accountable, a COLA raise for a few years. Do you not agree? If your stated reason to give judges a raise is to avoid bad decisions, why not attack the problem directly by demanding some accountability by being better able to review decisions that appear corrupt or at least incompetent? No Sensible, you seem to be just a shill for the judiciary, demanding higher pay with no accountability.

Sensible
03-15-2009, 06:53 PM
Lisa - there really is no point debating this with you. I have pointed out time and time again how your logic is flawed. You demand "reform" through an oversight board that would have no real power, but could be used by powerful interests to attempt to intimidate judges. There are avenues of relief that are available now to unhappy litigants. I have pointed them out to you. You just want to add to that list. You claim there is a widespread need for "reform" but don't you know that the vast majority of those clamouring for it are those who have lost cases. Lets be honest: if you had won your case you would be singing praises about how competent and unbiased the federal judiciary is.

Don't you know if you had a judicial conduct board comprised of civilians, and they didn't see things your way, you would still be complaining. In that event, the complaint would shift from the generic composition of the board to the specifics of how people were placed on the board. In other words, you would be whining that the civilians were also in league with the judges and were biased. In sum, I do not think you would ever be satisfied unless you got a ruling you felt you were entitled to. Translation: you just want to use your proposal to get multiple bites at the apple.

Here is the reality about litigation: about 50% of the time someone is unhappy. Why? Because for one side to win, the other must lose. You lost. Get over it. There is no need to call people names just because they disagree with you.

What you and any reasonable person should want is to have the most qualified people possible holding these jobs. That can only happen if we pay them fairly -- not at the level they could make in the private sector but nonetheless fairly. No one could reasonably say giving 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts is fair. Indeed, if you think that is fair then that speaks volumes about how deep your hatred towards the federal judiciary runs.

bombsquadron6
03-29-2009, 01:32 AM
The following excerpt was taken from a March 17, 2009 Dallas Morning News article.

WASHINGTON – Two weeks before Barack Obama won the presidency, Texas senators did what they'd done many times before. They invited lawyers to apply for lifetime appointments as federal judges.

Scores of applications poured in. A legal panel handpicked by the Republican senators – said to consist almost entirely of well-connected Republicans, with nary a plaintiff lawyer among them – narrowed the field.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/state/stories/DN-judges_17nat.ART.State.Edition2.4a8180a.html

It does not appear, at least from this article, that the federal judiciary in Texas is in any danger of running out of qualified candidates willing to make financial sacrifices to become federal judges. What I find more interesting, though, is the legal panel entrusted with the job of selecting the judicial candidates from the large pool of applicants. The excerpt above describes the panel as well-connected Republicans, none of whom are plaintiff attorneys. It isn’t the part about the panel consisting of well-connected Republicans. Both Senators from Texas, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, are Republicans and Senator Cornyn is on the Senate Judiciary Committee so it is not surprising that the panel is overwhelmingly, if not completely, Republican. If the Senators were both Democrats they would no doubt have a panel made up of "well-connected" Democrats. It's a spoils system.

What should be alarming, though, at least to Texans, is that Senators Hutchison and Cornyn appointed no plaintiff attorneys to be on their panel. Plaintiff attorneys are those who represent average Americans in their efforts to hold companies and the government accountable for their actions. (I’m not talking about the ambulance chasers or their greedy clients who seek only money.) They are the attorneys that take on the big corporations or federal agencies, often facing enormous obstacles since these entities usually have the ability to make it very, very expensive to litigate against them. They fight for the rights of their clients, often a large group or "class action," and while they stand to make considerable money if they win, given the corporate makeup of the federal judiciary, they frequently don’t. Some of them are eminently qualified but they are rarely chosen to be federal judges. Sensible maintains that corporate attorneys are by far the most qualified to be judges. Ironically, he recently asserted that trial attorneys, because they understand the complexities of courtroom proceedings, make the best judges. He was comparing them to transactional attorneys, who do not spend much time in court. Well, plaintiff attorneys do nothing but go to trial. (Mind you, this theory about trial attorneys making better judges than transactional attorneys is Sensible’s.) But what this all means is that in Texas the panel of “well-connected Republicans” that selects nominees for federal judgeships has no attorneys who represent average citizens. While the article does not say, it is safe to assume that the panel has plenty of corporate attorneys who will then find that the corporate attorney candidates for federal judgeships are the most qualified and recommend to Senators Hutchison and Cornyn that they be nominated. I must ask Sensible if he is one of the “well-connected Republicans” on the panel? It would certainly explain his crusade to give federal judges a large pay raise with no accompanying demand for judicial accountability.

Sensible
03-29-2009, 05:15 AM
Lisa -- No I am on no panel. In fact, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I am an Independent, although I would also say I am a conservative. In fact, I stopped supporting organized political parties many years ago after they abandoned the concept of limited government. As you know, both parties act as if America has an endless supply of taxpayer dollars to fund whatever project advances their respective constituencies' interests, and as a result, our children's children's children's will be paying for their folly. In sum, nothing could possibly justify any government spending its citizenry into economic oblivion. Either that government must raise taxes to make ends meet, or reprioritize its spending priorities and stop funding nonessential government programs.

Please do not misstate what I said -- I never said corporate lawyers make good judges. In fact I believe I indicated that they don't (a corporate attorney is the same thing as a transaction attorney in the parlance we use down here). Rather I said trial lawyers make the best judges (I would hope everyone would agree with that sentiment since judges are paid to preside over trials and hearings). A trial lawyer is not a corporate attorney although he may represent corporations in judicial proceedings.

I do agree there is no shortage of applicants. Very few down in Texas have been the best qualified because very few of those would take such dramatic pay cuts. The only ones would likely be the fabulously wealthy who could care less about the endless stream of de facto pay cuts. I also agree the Republicans almost never seek the appointment of plaintiff lawyers. The converse was true down here in the Houston area when the Dems held power under Clinton. The judges they appointed during those years in Houston were plaintiffs lawyers except for one who was a bankruptcy lawyer.

Bottom line: no one should even be considered for this position without 150+ jury trials in federal or state district court -- regardless of his or her political ideology. Problem is, trying finding folks with that degree of experience to take these jobs is not an easy task. In fact, those types are so in demand in the private sector that they would be the least likely to take a job that has given 17 years in a row of back door pay cuts unless, of course, they don't care because they have money to burn.

Hope this clarifies things.

Sensible

bombsquadron6
04-19-2009, 02:34 AM
As expected, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Navajo Nation in a decision that allows Peabody Coal Company to plunder Navajo coal and pay them far less than the coal is worth. (see post 181) The only surprise is that the decision was unanimous. Previously, both Justices Stevens and Souter (as well as retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor) dissented and supported the decision that had been handed down by the The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit which had ruled in favor of the Navajos, finding that "the (Interior) Secretary must act in the best interests of the Indian tribes." http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_01_1375/

The nine members of the United States Supreme Court have once again demonstrated that protecting the rights of Corporate America is far more important than protecting the rights of Native Americans, or any Americans, for that matter. http://www.navajonationcouncil.org/Press%20Release/040909_US_Supreme_Court_case_Peabody_case.pdf

We have a court system that is the best in the world-in principle. But in reality it has become the water carrier of multi-national corporations. The Courts regularly fail to protect Americans or our national interest. A Supreme Court that orders trials for combatants held at Gitmo and rules against the Navajo Nation, under the facts of this case, should not be thought of as either conservative or liberal. It should be thought of as advancing an agenda that minimizes our sovereignty to create a more favorable environment for multi-national corporations to maximize profits in the world.

On the few occasions that lower courts rule against this corporate agenda, as the Federal Circuit did in the Navajo case, appeals to our corporate justices on the U.S. Supreme Court usually result in a reversal and victory for these corporations. Exxon is an excellent example. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez_oil_spill#Litigation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez_oil_spill#Litigation)

Twenty years ago, the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound in Alaska due to negligence by Exxon. The resulting environmental catastrophe has diminished little in the two decades since and "is nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill," according to the council overseeing restoration efforts. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29838444/wid/18298287/?GT1=45002 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29838444/wid/18298287/?GT1=45002)

But does Chief Justice John Roberts, defender of all things corporate, show any concern for the lives or livelihoods of the citizens of Alaska affected by this disaster? That would be an emphatic NO. In February, 2008, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Exxon case. Chief Justice Roberts was very concerned that Exxon would have to pay punitive damages. The following is an excerpt from the oral arguments as quoted in a news story. (The blog comments at the end are insightful, cynical and sometimes very funny.) http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/28/chief-justice-roberts-defends-exxon/ (http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/28/chief-justice-roberts-defends-exxon/)

Chief Justice Roberts defends Exxon.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on how much money ExxonMobil should be forced to pay as damages for its Exxon Valdez oil spill 19 years ago. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank notes that Chief Justice John Roberts appeared “bothered” that Exxon might have to pay for its destruction: What bothered the chief justice was that Exxon was being ordered to pay $2.5 billion — roughly three weeks’ worth of profits — for destroying a long swath of the Alaska coastline in the largest oil spill in American history.

“So what can a corporation do to protect itself against punitive-damages awards such as this?” Roberts asked in court. The lawyer arguing for the Alaska fishermen affected by the spill, Jeffrey Fisher, had an idea. “Well,” he said, “it can hire fit and competent people.” The rare sound of laughter rippled through the august chamber. The chief justice did not look amused.

The United States Supreme Court is made up of ideologues from both sides of the political spectrum. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the ardent feminist, was outraged at the five Justices, Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy, who ruled against Lilly Ledbetter in the now famous pay discrimination case. Ginsburg also rebuked the same five-justice majority for upholding the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.

The Ledbetter decision was shameful but my point is that Justice Ginsburg apparently only gets worked up about feminist issues. She saves little or none of her righteous indignation for blue collar workers, Native Americans or any other segment of the non-feminist population. The U.S. Supreme Court likely accepted the Navajo case with the express intent of reversing the Federal Circuit Court decision that supported the Navajos. Peabody Coal would expect nothing less.

I do not presume to speak for the military, however, as the daughter of a career Naval officer who served during three wars, I will say that this is not the America that my father fought valiantly to protect. These are dark days for those of us who believe in justice.

bombsquadron6
05-12-2009, 08:11 AM
Once again the nine elitists on the U.S. Supreme Court have handed down a unanimous ruling which is detrimental to the average American but is very helpful to their fellow elitists who run corporate America. I speak of their recent ruling in a case involving illegal aliens, that the crime of identity theft is limited to those who know that they are using another person's Social Security number. http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/la-na-court-identity5-2009may05,0,5561590.story

Corporate America, which is comprised of people who have no real allegiance to the U.S., will, of course, benefit from this decision because it will now be harder to deport illegal aliens who commit identity theft. The corporations and business interests who depend on cheap labor here have no concern for the damage this decision will do to us. And their tool is the federal court system, particularly the U.S. Supreme Court which is neither left nor right anymore. They are simply elitists who do the bidding of big business. This decision, as well as the decisions discussed in the previous post, demonstrate that our U.S. Supreme Court is made up of justices who have no concern for you or me. And yet they have the audacity to demand more money from us. They should, instead, be impeached by Congress and I would hope that readers of this blog will tell their representatives in Congress exactly that.

Of course, the President, Congress, and specifically the Senate Judiciary Committee, are responsible for these disgraceful ideologues being appointed as federal judges. Both former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were responsible for nominating a number of judges who have no place on the bench. However, former president Clinton was forced to nominate somewhat more qualified judges than former president Bush. In 1994, two years into Clinton's first term, the Republicans retook both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2001 then held up many of former president Clinton's judicial nominees. I live in Utah and well remember senator Hatch's "reign of terror." At one point he held up 36 of Clinton's judicial nominations while demanding that Ted Stewart, chief of staff to former Utah governor Mike Leavitt, be sworn in as a federal judge. It would be hard to find anyone less qualified. Ted Stewart had practiced law for only six years, had no courtroom experience and was a career bureaucrat. But Hatch forced Clinton to nominate him and he was confirmed by the Republican led Senate.
http://articles.latimes.com/1999/may/10/news/mn-35702

Senator Hatch, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, abused his power in a shocking manner and while he later lost the chairmanship, he continued to be instrumental in placing extremist ideologues on the bench during the George W. Bush administration. Ironically, when the Democrats regained Congress in 2006 they refused to confirm some of former president Bush's judicial nominees. Senator Hatch was outraged! All I can say is, what goes around comes around.

Former president Clinton, responsible for the appointment of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was also responsible for other extremists on the bench. Here is a link to a story about one of them.
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=92754

Former president Bush was noted for his extremist judicial nominees. With the help of Senator Hatch he made sure that his nominees met the extremist litmus tests. One really interesting one is Jay S. Bybee, now on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The following article and follow-up editorial appeared recently in the Salt Lake Tribune. Keep in mind that the original article had to do with the membership of the subjects in the Mormon Church, which I am not addressing here.
http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_12256286
http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12301236?IADID=Search-www.sltrib.com-www.sltrib.com

The federal bench is filled with ideologues like these and rather than give them pay raises we should be demanding their removal. Of course, we should be demanding the removal of key members of Congress first so it is probably a lost cause. But rewarding extremists on the bench with substantial pay raises is surely counterproductive to Americans.

President Obama now has an opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court Justice whose views represent those of mainstream America and who will issue rulings that protect Americans. Will he find a nominee that meets these criteria? My guess is probably not. He will likely select a nominee from the political elitist class, whose views will be contrary to those of the majority of Americans. Immigration is one of the issues where the will of the American people is in conflict with the views of the political elite. This article from Rasmussen Reports explains the dichotomy.
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics2/on_immigration_large_gap_remains_between_mainstrea m_america_and_political_class

It is surely time for Americans to let their representatives in Congress know that we need reasonable people on the federal courts.

garhkal
05-12-2009, 05:46 PM
Personally i feel all in govt, including court judges should take an immediate 65% pay cut, and if they wish to get a raise, they should get the vote of their constituients... If they are doing a good job then i see no reason to not give it.

Pueblo
05-19-2009, 11:30 PM
Personally i feel all in govt, including court judges should take an immediate 65% pay cut, and if they wish to get a raise, they should get the vote of their constituients... If they are doing a good job then i see no reason to not give it.

What does the average person know about how well an individual family court judge is doing their job?

bombsquadron6
05-20-2009, 07:45 AM
State bar associations keep stats on individual judges and their records are open. The difference between state court judges and federal court judges is that the state court judges do face reelection by the voters. They have to answer to the citizens. Federal court judges get lifetime appointments and they can be removed only by Congressional impeachment. There is virtually no oversight. Examining that lack of oversight and its consequences has been my purpose here.

garhkal
05-26-2009, 04:39 PM
State bar associations keep stats on individual judges and their records are open. The difference between state court judges and federal court judges is that the state court judges do face reelection by the voters. They have to answer to the citizens. Federal court judges get lifetime appointments and they can be removed only by Congressional impeachment. There is virtually no oversight. Examining that lack of oversight and its consequences has been my purpose here.

Thanks for the back up.

bombsquadron6
05-31-2009, 06:45 PM
Very few people are going to go to their state bar associations and research individual judges, even before retention elections. I never have. But I'm sure that every one of you now reading this remembers at some time reading about a decision handed down by a judge in your state that you thought was very wrong, perhaps outrageously so. You had an opportunity to vote against that judge in a subsequent retention election. Rarely, state judges do get voted out of office for their lack of good judgment. It has happened twice recently in the state in which I reside, Utah. In 2002, a Utah state judge was voted out of office because he was viewed as too lenient on child sexual offenders. Feminists were also furious at him because he was perceived as biased against women. http://www.ucasa.org/actunderattackwinter2003.pdf (page 4 - Court Watch) In 2006, Utah deer hunters successfully campaigned to remove a state court judge because of her alleged bias against hunting and hunters. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/print/650201851/Hunters-target-judge.html

These two special interest groups had virtually nothing in common but a determination to remove judges that they felt were not fit to be on the bench. The groups mobilized and through grassroots efforts convinced the public to remove these judges at election time. This oversight by the public is not lost on state court judges here and they know that the voters watch them.

Not so with federal judges. The public has no ability whatsoever to remove federal judges and Congress virtually never removes them through impeachment. This is why it is so important to review the credentials of those nominated to the federal bench. They will be there a long, long time and they have no real oversight. The federal court system itself has abdicated its responsibility to the American people to hold judges accountable for their actions. The judicial misconduct councils, charged with reviewing the merits of judicial misconduct complaints, are made up of fellow judges, who are often colleagues and friends with the judge being complained about. No unbiased parties are involved. Less than 1% of the complaints filed by people who have been through the federal court system, and feel they have been wronged, are judged to be meritorious. The federal judges watch each other's backs. This may be one reason why Congress almost never impeaches federal judges. When judged by their peers first, federal judges are almost never found to be guilty of misconduct. What then, is Congress going to impeach any of them for?

Sonia Sotomayor has been nominated by President Obama to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by retiring Justice David Souter. I do not endorse her (or anyone else) on this blog and leave it up to the reader to form an opinion about her. This article from the British political magazine, The Economist, explains very well the difficulties of selecting Supreme Court nominees. http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13611101

But there are some red flags about Sotomayor. Her one paragraph decision in an affirmative action case, devoid of all legal analysis is a big one. http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/33c1663f-656b-4025-bcbf-3ddf7fab32c3/4/doc/06-4996-cv_opn.pdf#xml=http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/33c1663f-656b-4025-bcbf-3ddf7fab32c3/4/hilite/ The Supreme Court, perhaps also believing that there should have been more analysis to the decision by the panel (which Sotomayor was on) of the Second Circuit, has agreed to hear the petition for writ of certiorari in this coming session which begins in October. http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13724728

Also troubling is Sotomayor's membership in La Raza, the militant Hispanic organization. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.printable&pageId=99420 It is alarming, at least to me, because it indicates that she may be yet another ideologue on the Supreme Court. This is exactly what we do not need. Extremists of any persuasion in the federal courts are unacceptable. We have too many as it is.

Interestingly, the issue of judicial pay seems to be absent in the national discussion of Supreme Court nominations. Apparently, no one is arguing that we might have had a better selection of nominees if the pay for federal judges was higher. President Obama is maintaining that Sotomayor is the best and the brightest. The conservatives in Congress, who will be scrutinizing her record, have not claimed that she lacks the necessary academic credentials but they do argue that she is an ideologue. Perhaps they are correct but does anyone doubt that they want conservative ideologues appointed to the courts?

Beyond these observations I make no judgment of Sotomayor. We will, I'm sure, all be watching with interest this latest nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

P.S. Greetings Garhkal!

bombsquadron6
06-21-2009, 08:33 PM
Impeachment of Hon. G. Thomas Porteous, Jr.
Judge, Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

In 2009, the 111th Congress will consider, and likely approve, the impeachment of Fifth Circuit Judge Thomas Porteous, who was recommended for removal by the Judicial Council of the Fifth Circuit for misconduct that included receiving gifts from attorneys who came before him, filing false statements in his personal bankruptcy case, and engaging in fraudulent and deceptive conduct concerning his debts and gambling losses. Porteous' expulsion from the fraternity of judges is primarily based on his personal behavior. He has not been indicted for criminal misdeeds or misconduct while on the bench, nor have the attorneys who bribed him for years been subjected to any disciplinary action despite the fact that their conduct helped deprive others of the honest services of the court. As the judges, Congress and the media line up to stone a "rogue" judge, it should be recognized that this passion play is designed to convince the public that the judicial system is above reproach, an honored profession, and that only an isolated judge here and there would be caught taking a personal bribe, bending the law, or concealing an unlawful act. In reality, the doctrine of judicial immunity allows judges to engage in a wide variety of tactics to unfairly disadvantage a less-favored party and deprive them of their constitutional right to an impartial tribunal. Clearly, mechanisms of judicial accountability must be created that are independent of the judiciary and designed to enable citizens to hold judges accountable for their unlawful actions. http://www.tulanelink.com/tulanelink/porteousimpeach_08a.htm

As the author of the above excerpt points out, Congress and the federal judiciary would have Americans believe that this sort of corruption and misconduct are rare. I suggest that this blog has demonstrated otherwise. One aspect of Judge Porteous’ case that should disturb every American is the fact that four members of the Judicial Council of the 5th Circuit voted not to impeach judge Porteous. The following is from the same link.

His superiors, on the Judicial Council of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and the Judicial Conference of the United States, already have called for his impeachment. But Porteous, his defense team and four dissenting 5th Circuit judges say his caddish behavior is irrelevant when it comes to the Constitution. For the most part, they say, he gambled, drank and lied in his private affairs - not as a judge.

Removing him from office for what they consider private behavior could serve to tighten scrutiny of federal judges, legal analysts say. Only seven judges have been impeached and convicted in U.S. history, and only two of them for misconduct committed outside their official capacity on the bench, they said.

Porteous, 62, of Metairie, would be the third.

Once again, the federal judiciary opposes any effort to hold themselves accountable for their actions.

For an update on Judge Porteous and fellow judge Samuel Kent, who is also likely to be impeached, you can read this article. http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202431617973

But these two judges, both of whom clearly should be removed from the judiciary, are merely being handed up as sacrificial lambs. Does anyone really believe that their crimes are the most serious offenses committed by federal judges?

bombsquadron6
08-16-2009, 09:57 PM
This post addresses a decision handed down in May, 2009 by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case name is Flores-Figueroa v. United States, No. 08-108. Here is some background, quoted from an excellent article that appeared in the Examiner.com:

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that people, who use false identification, without knowing it belongs to another person, cannot be convicted for the crime of “aggravated identity theft” under the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act of 2004. An aggravated identity theft conviction requires a mandatory minimum prison term of two years, no parole.

The Supreme Court ruling was based on a case where an illegal immigrant had been using false identification for employment in an East Moline, Ill steel plant for several years. The illegal immigrant decided he wanted to use his real name instead. He purchased another Social Security Number from a Chicago-based false identity dealer. When the illegal immigrant requested the employer to change his name and Social Security Number, the employer became suspicious. The illegal immigrant was arrested in 2006 and convicted on felony violations including the use of false documents and aggravated identity theft. Monday’s Supreme Court reversed the decision on aggravated identity theft.

The Supreme Court ruled that aggravated identity theft is defined in the Act as “knowingly possessing or using a means of identifying another person during and in relation to specified felony violations.” The defense argued that the illegal immigrant did not know that the false Social Security Card purchased in Chicago corresponded to a real person. The Supreme Court unanimously agreed.

Is it not reasonable to presume that one knows they are buying someone’s identity if they traveled from East Moline to Chicago to make an illegal identification purchase? In some situations, illegal immigrants have claimed they “synthesized” or make up a Social Security Number, which coincidentally belonged to another person. However, in this case, the number was not synthesized by the illegal immigrant. It was purchased.
http://www.examiner.com/x-9215-Identity-Theft-Examiner~y2009m5d6-Supreme-Court-Identity-Theft-Decision-Gaffes

The unanimous decision by our Supreme Court relied principally on semantics. Recently retired Justice Breyer (replaced by Justice Sotomayer) wrote the opinion. Here is a synopsis:

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, in his opinion for the court, said the case should be decided by applying “ordinary English grammar” to the text of the law, which applies when an offender “knowingly transfers, possesses or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person.”

The government had argued that the “knowingly” requirement applied only to the verbs in question. Justice Breyer rejected that interpretation, saying that “it seems natural to read the statute’s word ‘knowingly’ as applying to all the subsequently listed elements of the crime.”

He gave examples from everyday life to support this view. “If we say that someone knowingly ate a sandwich with cheese,” Justice Breyer wrote, “we normally assume that the person knew both that he was eating a sandwich and that it contained cheese.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/05/us/05immig.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1250452882-DfAz8qS/5nwn1xycEy5/VA

“If we say that someone knowingly ate a sandwich with cheese,” Justice Breyer wrote, “we normally assume that the person knew both that he was eating a sandwich and that it contained cheese.”

For God's sake, is that the level of intellect that we are dealing with on the U.S. Supreme Court? Or is there possibly a motive at work here? Would that be to protect the interests of big business which wants cheap labor and is willing to sacrifice the safety and well being of average Americans to obtain it? Does anyone out there believe that this is reasonable law or that it is in the best interest of the United States? Oh, pardon me. Yes, there are those who find it reasonable and are elated by the decision.

“The court’s ruling preserves basic ideals of fairness for some of our society’s most vulnerable workers,” said Chuck Roth, litigation director at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago. “An immigrant who uses a false Social Security number to get a job doesn’t intend to harm anyone, and it makes no sense to spend our tax dollars to imprison them for two years.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/05/us/05immig.html

It would seem to me that the "vulnerable" ones are the law abiding people whose Social Security numbers are stolen by illegal aliens.

Once again, our federal courts, unaccountable, arrogant and elitist, have betrayed us.

Flores-Figueroa v. United States, No. 08-108: Transcripts
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/08-108.pdf

Flores-Figueroa v. United States, No. 08-108: Order
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/pdf/08-108P.ZO

garhkal
08-18-2009, 08:36 AM
Kriky. Personally rather than jail them, deport them immediatly.

bombsquadron6
08-19-2009, 04:35 PM
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement was doing just that; prosecuting and deporting illegal aliens who used fraudulent social security numbers to get jobs.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency used the law to detain and deport thousands of undocumented workers. The most famous raid occurred at a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, in which nearly 300 people were arrested. Facing the additional two years in prison imposed by the identity theft act, most of those workers chose to plead guilty and accept deportation back to Latin America.
http://www.farmersidentityshield.com/alerts/alert.ext?sp=10809

When federal courts occasionally issue rulings that make sense and protect the interests of average Americans, as the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals did in this case, (they upheld the conviction of Flores-Figueroa) we can count on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision and protect the interests of big business.

I have no animosity toward those who want to leave their crummy countries and try to make a better life in the U.S. I do have a big problem with those who choose to do so illegally. The U.S. government has a duty to enforce immigration laws and when the U.S. Supreme Court removes a very effective tool for doing so then they are not acting in our best interest. Once again, I ask the reader to decide if the federal judiciary deserves a pay raise?

bombsquadron6
09-20-2009, 09:43 PM
Federal Judge Clark Waddoups, of U.S. District Court here in Salt Lake City, just sentenced two of the Blanding, Utah, ancient Indian grave robbers to probation and a small fine. This unfolding story has been in the national news for months but if you are unfamiliar with it here are the basics.

Blanding is a small town on the edge of the Navajo reservation near the Four Corners area (Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.) For generations non-Indians who lived in this area have picked up the countless artifacts left by ancient Indians, often referred to as ancient Puebloans. These artifacts are, or at least used to be, everywhere. But they are fewer and fewer now. There are numerous federal and state laws that protect these artifacts from those who would plunder them, often to sell on the black market. Here are several of them: The 1906 Antiquities Act, the Utah State Antiquities Act of 1973 and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990. These laws are familiar to locals in Blanding.

On June 10, 2009 dozens of armed federal agents arrested 17 people in Blanding, ending a two-year federal sting for stealing these artifacts. The entire town was outraged. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch noisily denounced the arrests, because many of those arrested were prominent members of the Blanding community. Some had been arrested before for the same crime, notably Jeanne Redd and her husband, Blanding doctor James Redd. James Redd committed suicide shortly after the June 10, 2009 raid. The Redds had been accused before of trespassing and stealing from Indian burial sites. In 2003, they agreed to pay the state $10,000 after they were prosecuted for raiding a grave. The payment settled a $250,000 lawsuit brought against them by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_12572033

Keep in mind that the artifacts were taken from federal and Native American tribal land, not private property. "This case involves significant collections of Indian artifacts taken from public and tribal lands by excavators, sellers and collectors, including priceless artifacts sacred to Native Americans," says Brett Tolman, the U.S. Attorney in Utah. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106091937&ft=1&f=1021

Jeanne Redd, 59, pleaded guilty to seven federal counts of theft of government property, theft of tribal property and trafficking in stolen artifacts. Her 37-year-old daughter, Jericca Redd pleaded guilty to three similar counts. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,530277,00.html (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,530277,00.html)

This past week, Judge Waddoups gave the Redds, the first to be tried in the case, unbelievably light sentences for their crimes: he sentenced Jeanne Redd to 36 months' probation and a $2,000 fine and Jericca Redd to 24 months' probation and a $300 fine. Relying on sentencing guidelines, federal prosecutors had recommended probation for Jericca Redd, 37, but 18 months in prison for Jeanne Redd, 59. Waddoups declared he would "vary" from the guidelines, given where Jeanne Redd lives. "This is a community where this kind of conduct" is commonly tolerated and "has been justified for a number of years," Waddoups said. "This is a woman who has spent her life as a member of her community." http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_13350722

You can be sure that Native Americans, who have seen their ancient burial places desecrated and plundered for years, are indignant as hell about this sentence. The message Judge Waddoups clearly sent was that although there are strong laws in place to protect these sites, southern Utahns, who have been plundering them for generations, get a pass, especially if they are "upstanding" members of society. Unbelievably, Judge Waddoups even thanked the Redds in court. "I want to express my thanks," Waddoups said to the Redds and their family. "I know this has been a terrible experience for all of you." http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_13350722 The "everybody in Blanding does it" defense obviously works very well in federal court here in Utah!

Judge Waddoups replaced former federal judge Paul G. Cassell who had presided over my labor law case in federal court in Salt Lake City. Former judge Cassell resigned two months after I provided judicial misconduct complaints, written about earlier on this blog, to the Senate Judiciary Committee, most members of the House Judiciary Committee and numerous members of Congress. Both former judge Cassell and Judge Waddoups were nominated by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Senator Hatch nominates to the bench judges that he knows will rule in a manner that he approves of. These federal judges, and many more like them, do not work for you and me; they work for the powerful and politically well-connected. The federal judiciary does not now or in the future deserve a pay raise until they reform.

bombsquadron6
09-27-2009, 05:15 PM
As an updated addendum to my previous post there is now the problem of what to do with the ancient relics that were looted from federal and Indian lands by the grave robbing thieves. An article that appeared recently in the Durango (Colorado) Herald describes the incredible volume of stolen antiquities. The federal government has taken custody of more than 800 artifacts confiscated from the Redds of Blanding, Utah. Another five moving vans worth of artifacts have been surrendered by a Colorado antiquities dealer. They include infant cradle boards, turquoise necklaces, pottery and even human remains - adult molars and infant teeth. It would be virtually impossible to replace all these items where they were originally found.
http://durangoherald.com/sections/News/2009/09/20/Give_artifacts_to_tribes_federal_appointee_says/

Durango is near the four corners area and is on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. This whole region is rich in ancient Indian history. From Durango one drives west to Mesa Verde National Park which is renowned for the ancient Indian cliff dwellings. Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States. http://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm

The items stolen by the Redds and the others are similar to the antiquities found at Mesa Verde. Those found on Indian tribal land belong to the Indians and those found on federal land belong to all of us. Yet federal judge Waddoups gave the Redds a slap on the wrist for stealing these treasures, many of which were probably going to be sold on the black market. This federal judge, formerly a partner in the law firm of Parr, Waddoups, Brown, Gee & Loveless, is a disgrace to the bench. (Maybe the IRS should look into this matter since we won't get any justice in Judge Waddoup's court.)

A good book to read on the relationship between the residents of southeastern Utah and the land around them is Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land, by Amy Irvine (North Point Press)

mitch
11-05-2009, 04:22 PM
Hey BOMBSQUAD6, I completly agree with you. they are putting their lifes ate risk and are getting paid minimum wage. thank you for helping me find resourses for my debate class

bombsquadron6
11-06-2009, 07:32 AM
Thanks dear. I hope you find lots of interesting things in here to use in your debate class. Be sure that you understand both sides of the argument and read everything you can so that you are sure of your position. Good luck in your debate!

Sensible
11-13-2009, 01:47 AM
"Judge Waddoups replaced former federal judge Paul G. Cassell who had presided over my labor law case in federal court in Salt Lake City. Former judge Cassell resigned two months after I provided judicial misconduct complaints, written about earlier on this blog, to the Senate Judiciary Committee, most members of the House Judiciary Committee and numerous members of Congress. Both former judge Cassell and Judge Waddoups were nominated by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Senator Hatch nominates to the bench judges that he knows will rule in a manner that he approves of. These federal judges, and many more like them, do not work for you and me; they work for the powerful and politically well-connected. The federal judiciary does not now or in the future deserve a pay raise until they reform."


Lisa, your logic leads to the inevitable conclusion we are not getting the best qualified jurist. Hummm. I wonder why? Let's look at it this way. First, what quality lawyer (or any other professional) in his or her mind takes a job that leads to 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts? Second, let me you tell you of my sister--in--law's departed father. He was a huge venture capitalist who over the course of his life paid over $70 million in income taxes to the U.S. government. Now the world says "wow, what a valued member of our capitalistic society this man was. Look how he contributed to our society." Conversely, the world takes the attitude that federal judges are not valued because they are not paid like they are valued. The result? Not only in your case (district court level) do you apparently get dunderheads, but look at what judges at even a lower level can do. Recall my earlier post about the the Social Security Administrative Law Judge who grants benefits in 97%+ of his cases and hears more than 2,000 a year. In just a few months that man frivilously spends more than the above venture capitalist paid into the system in his entire life! What incredible waste! There is an old saying: if you pay peanuts you will get monkies. That is what you are seeing with some of these judges -- weak minded men and women who are prehaps easily manipulated by others. If you want fair minded judges its pretty clear one of the things that should be done: treat them fairly in the matter of pay. If you don't and if you feel 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts are okay, then don't complain about what kind of person ends up on the bench.

bombsquadron6
11-14-2009, 08:27 PM
Sensible;
We've debated this for well over a year. You continue to argue that simply giving federal judges a no-strings-attached pay raise is the solution to the problem. I maintain that they do not deserve a raise until they hold themselves accountable for their actions.

You refer to the judge who ruled against us in district court as a "dunderhead." Far from it. He received a B.A. from Stanford University in 1979. He later received a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1984. He was a law clerk for the Hon. Antonin Scalia, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit from 1984 to 1985. He was a Law clerk for Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Supreme Court of the United States from 1985 to 1986. He was an Associate deputy attorney general of U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC from 1986 to 1988. He was an assistant U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Virginia from 1988 to 1991. He was a Professor of law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah from 1992 to 2002 and from 2007 to the present. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Cassell He had the credentials and the intellect.

Further, this judge was a member of the very conservative Federalist Society and was very close to Senator Orrin Hatch, also a member of the Federalist Society. At the time, Senator Hatch had immense power in the selection and nominating process for federal judges. Any federal judge who wanted to move up the judicial ladder had to pass muster with Senator Hatch. It is not unreasonable then, to think that this federal judge, known to be very ambitious, would rule in a manner that Senator Hatch would approve of. As I explained earlier, had we won our labor law case in federal court, the transit company we had sued would have potentially been ineligible for a 480 million dollar full funding grant agreement from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation Federal Transit Administration. Senator Hatch had helped procure this federal grant and he certainly did not want to see the transit company lose it because some blue collar railroad workers were demanding the established right to choose their own union representation and not have a corrupt union imposed on them by the transit company. (Public transit districts are required to abide by federal labor laws to be eligible for federal funding.) In my opinion, the district court judge knew precisely what he was doing when he denied us all due process and created obstacles to prevent us from winning. He used every tactic available to him to deny us justice so he could rule against us. He was no dunderhead.

It would be so simple if you could attribute these injustices to judges who are not qualified because they are not paid enough. But most of them are if you simply look at their resumes. However, many of them are ideologues who do not care about justice. They serve their own purposes and those of the powerful and politically well connected and the federal courts, from Chief Justice John Roberts on down, turn a blind eye to misconduct and injustice.

If members of Congress again introduce bills to raise the salaries of federal judges, I will again demand that Congressional debates be held before the bills are voted on. Americans should have the opportunity to hear testimony from those who have been wronged by the judicial system before being required to subsidize raises for these judges. I maintain that the attorney who represented us in federal court here in Salt Lake City should be allowed to testify about what was done to us. Further, I am sure that many other Americans would also demand to testify about their unjust treatment by federal judges. Requiring Congressional debates about the federal court system before authorizing pay raises for judges seems reasonable and fair to me. Do you agree, Sensible?

For those unfamiliar with my allegations of judicial misconduct the following link takes you to the complaints that I filed with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Judicial Council. The complaints were dismissed.
http://utahtransitworker.org/id18.html

Sensible
11-14-2009, 08:57 PM
I will agree with you Lisa, its not so simple. And prehaps dunderhead is not the right adjective. Althought I would say we all know academics who regardless of where they got degrees they are dunderheads because they have no common sense.

But you are wrong in saying that its that you're dealing with idealogues. That's only partially true but not entirely. From my experience everyone I have ever met has an ideology because we are all impacted by the experiences that life throws our way. So in that sense we are all idealogues. No, what you are talking about is different. You are talking about people who have an ideology, as we all do, but who knowing and intentionally rely on their ideology to achieve an end -- and in the process ignore the law. I would agree with you -- that's wrong.

Here is a matter, though, that you should consider. What type of person would relying upon ideology to ignore their oath to follow the law? I will tell you who -- people who are weak willed so they fall trap to the political influence of others. Now you have to ask yourself - why is a person weak willed? There are several reasons why a person would be. One may be the person is unethical to begin with. Not much you can do about those types. But another would be a person who figures, "well, if I can't get what is coming to me one way, I'll get another way." Translation: perhaps some of these judges are so demoralized by 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts that they figure, "hey, if I can't get ahead financially, I'll make sure I get ahead politically by helping the right people in my rulings." Bottom line: again, if you want to be treated fairly by judges or anyone else, then it would be best to treat them fairly. If you want a group of demoralized lawyers turned judges who don't care about justice, then give them 17 years in a row of de facto pay cuts.

Sensible
11-14-2009, 10:35 PM
" Requiring Congressional debates about the federal court system before authorizing pay raises for judges seems reasonable and fair to me. Do you agree, Sensible?"

Sorry I didn't answer your question in my earlier post. Answer: It depends. If all you are talking about are raises that equal the inflation rate, no -- no one else who gets that type of "raise" goes through Congressional debates. In fact, why should there be debate on those types of "raises." Its those dummies in Congress that are causing the inflation to begin with by devaluing our dollars through excessive spending and printing currency. And I would say the same would hold true for raises that recapture a percentage of pay erosion.

If you are talking about a giant pay raise, then yes, sure,there should be debate as there should be whenever there is a large new government expenditure. So its a matter of degree about what one calls "giant."

I'll say this - you and your lawyer would look pretty silly, petty and spiteful if you oppose a small raise (anything under 10%) and want to testify before Congress when you talk about people who as a group have received de facto pay cuts 17 years in a row. I mean really, I look around my production home neighborhood here in Houston. On my street of 20 homes the federal judge would be among the persons paid the least. Think about it, a person who could close down the Houston ship channel and render verdicts bankrupting major corporations is paid dramatically less than a person selling petroleum products! My point, $170K a year is not that much money anymore. At least not in a major city like Houston or New York or Chicago, etc. Maybe it is a lot of money where you are. On that amount of pay here a judge would have to live pretty modestly down here (e.g,, in a production home in the area where I live, and he or she would have to send their kids to public schools and drive cheaper cars).

Anyway, its not going to happen because Congress works like this. In the good times, they have other priorities when it comes to judge pay (e.g., paying for their "pork", aka taxpayer funded reelection projects). In bad times, then Congress uses the excuse of the poor economy not to give them raises. And of course the members of Congress don't care because they get theirs (funny how over and over again so many members of Congress take office as a person of fairly modest means and leave millionaires). So year after year after year the judges get the shaft -- which you can see by the fact that they have not gotten a raise equal to the inflation rate since the early 90's.

bombsquadron6
11-15-2009, 05:35 PM
"If you are talking about a giant pay raise, then yes, sure,there should be debate as there should be whenever there is a large new government expenditure. So its a matter of degree about what one calls "giant."

I'll say this - you and your lawyer would look pretty silly, petty and spiteful if you oppose a small raise (anything under 10%) and want to testify before Congress when you talk about people who as a group have received de facto pay cuts 17 years in a row. I mean really, I look around my production home neighborhood here in Houston. On my street of 20 homes the federal judge would be among the persons paid the least. Think about it, a person who could close down the Houston ship channel and render verdicts bankrupting major corporations is paid dramatically less than a person selling petroleum products! My point, $170K a year is not that much money anymore. At least not in a major city like Houston or New York or Chicago, etc. Maybe it is a lot of money where you are. On that amount of pay here a judge would have to live pretty modestly down here (e.g,, in a production home in the area where I live, and he or she would have to send their kids to public schools and drive cheaper cars).

Once again, Sensible, I say nonsense to your responses. You continue to make conclusory claims that the reason federal judges may act unethically is because they aren't paid enough. Are you really saying that an arrogant, overly ambitious judge would refrain from acting dishonorably if we simply give him a pay raise? Suddenly he would care about average Americans and be determined to guarantee that they find justice in his courtroom?

I fought to prevent the 29% pay raise for federal judges that was proposed in the last Congress. I did not bother to object to the proposed small COLA raise for federal judges earlier this year. I choose my battles carefully, Sensible. So don't portray me as a fool.

And yes, Sensible, $170,000 a year is a lot of money. You act as though no one in your affluent neighborhood has been laid off, had their salary cut or faced any adversity from the current economic meltdown. We all know that this recession has hurt the wealthy a great deal. My lifelong best friend is a stock broker and vice president at a major brokerage house in San Diego. She has been forced to take a 30% reduction in her salary. Nationally, many corporate attorneys have been laid off. Layoffs and salary reductions among wealthy professionals are happening all over the country and your neighbors might be surprised to learn that you suggest that they are impervious to this recession. A job paying at minimum $171,000 with no chance of a layoff and that has no oversight and no accountability is an absolute dream job now. Many of your neighbors would be thrilled to have that job, I am sure. (And by the way, I went to public schools and drive a 1997 Hyundai station wagon with 215,000 miles on it. I am proud of my public school education and love my reliable old car. So don't expect me to sympathize because a federal judge might have to live like the rest of us. Perhaps he would better understand the principle of "justice for all.")

Sensible
11-15-2009, 05:55 PM
Lisa, you do realize don't you that If even the federal district judges had been paid at the inflation rate for the past few years they would be making well over $220K per year?

I think your right, Lisa. We need to do away with Article III judges altogether. Why don't we put clerks in charge of deciding billion dollar lawsuits, the 9/11 prosecutions clerks, etc.? I mean, these are pretty unimportant jobs aren't they? So we shouldn't pay them well.

Sensible
11-16-2009, 02:01 AM
"Once again, Sensible, I say nonsense to your responses. You continue to make conclusory claims that the reason federal judges may act unethically is because they aren't paid enough."


In the words of President Reagan, Ms. Burk, "there you again." You still don't get it, after a year. Apparently you are so blinded by your hatred of the federal judiciary that you distort and exaggerate and make things up.

All along my point has been, you will get better people to seek these positions to begin with if they knew going in that they were not getting into a dead-end financial situation where they will get decades in a row of de facto pay cuts. Now you say "Sensible is speaking nonsense." Lisa, what do you think would happen to any job in America if its members go year after year after year after year with either no raise or raises less than the inflation rate? Do you honestly believe that that would not have an impact on the quality of the applicants for that jobt? You seem to demand empirical proof of something so obvious a 5th grader would know that if you continue to treat the judges in this way in the area of pay, that is going to affect the applicant pool. It would in any other type of job I know of, so why not the job of federal judge? Your insistence on something so obvious as wanting emprirical evidence of this is like asking someone for empirical evidence that the color red is indeed red. You can say my point (which I again outline below) is "conclusory," but I submit it is common sense and based on common experience. Your position that pay is irrelevant to securing the best and the brightest is nonsense because it defies common experience in the real world.

Don't get me wrong. Ms. Burk, you are of course correct when you say the ones in the job now are what they are. Pay will not impact that. However, pay will definitely impact the quality of new judges who come into the system. My main point has always been that, in order to protect the integrity of the job itself (by insuring judges are the persons of the highest character, ability and intellect) the job needs to be one that allows for fair pay raises. Keep it the way it is now and you will find that the job will be one that a person without a rosy financial future would seek. What type of person would that be? Obviously people who are more likely to be political hacks rather than the best and the brightest. Now, from what you have said about the judge in your case, its pretty clear he was fairly bright academically. But that is just one prong of a judge's qualifications. The other prongs are temperment and integrity. If what you have said is true, he was not a person of integrity, i.e., he was an intellectually dishonest political hack.

I exhort the readers of this string: protect the integrity of the job of federal judge. If you want to get more persons of high integrity and all the other qualifications to apply for the job of federal judge, then have the government do the right thing and exercise fair pay practices. If you want more political hacks in the applicant pool, which makes it more likely to end up with political hacks in the federal judicial system, then keep things the way they are now -- a job where the prospective applicant knows or should know going in that it is a job that leads to a dead-end financially because the Congress is hell bent on eroding judicial pay. That kind of future would weigh very heavily on the mind of many a top quality potential applicant -- not just judge applicants but, as a said, applicants for any other type of job.

Sensible
11-16-2009, 01:56 PM
Addendum to previous post:

Sensible's bottom line: being an good federal judge requires six key elements. First, great academic ability. Second, common sense. Third, integrity beyond reproach. Fourth, strong work ethic. Fifth, an even temperment (i.e., good people skills). Sixth, the type of judgment that only comes with years and years and years of handling complex cases (you know, the type of case where the defense attorneys and plaintiffs counsel are usually likewise highly experienced and thus, earn higher pay).

Although there are lots of lawyers in this country, there are not a lot of these types. These are the types who are at the very top of the profession. Furthermore, if you are talking about attorneys who possess all six of these qualities, you are talking about a group who is definitely not hurting financially even in this economy (even if the average Joe lawyer is hurting). If you want more of these types in the applicant pool to compete against political hacks for the job, then the government must exercise fair pay practices. That means that the Congress' practice of imposing non-ending de facto pay cuts must end.

Think about it, Ms. Burk. What Congress has done to the federal judges would be the equivalent of giving every one who works for the Utah Transit Authority de facto pay cuts for almost 20 years in a row. Now I know if that happened over there to your organization you would be screaming to high heaven.

bombsquadron6
11-16-2009, 03:43 PM
Apparently Sensible believes that demanding some accountability and debating the merits before granting a pay raise to the federal judiciary is unreasonable.

Sensible
11-16-2009, 04:46 PM
Actually, what I believe and what I demand is that Congress should start implementing fair pay practices. To do that, i.e., remove this garbage system where judges go decades with pay adjustments less than the inflation rate, yes Ms. Burke - I do not see a need for an accountability hearing for such a thing. In fact, no group (not even transit workers - :) jk) should have to undergo accountability hearings to curtail a system that imposies decades worth of annual de facto pay cuts. I am certain most reasonably minded people would see things this way, and would understand that, if any organization endlessly erodes an employee group's pay that is going to impact the negatiively quality of the pool of applicants seeking positions in that group.

bombsquadron6
11-20-2009, 07:23 PM
No other profession that I know of, besides federal judges, has little or no accountability. I am a railroad worker. I drive light rail trains and have the responsibility of transporting thousands of people each day during my shift. I am accountable for every action I make and if I make a mistake I am immediately held accountable. I believe every person reading this knows they too, would similarly be held accountable for the jobs they do each day. So don't make the ludicrous argument that since we don't have accountability "hearings" at our jobs the judiciary should not have to submit to public scrutiny. Further, your argument that if we just grant them a large pay raise the judiciary will then attract more ethical candidates for federal judges is purely speculative. From my observations it would merely make them more arrogant. Why is it unreasonable to demand that they demonstrate that they deserve a raise before we grant one? You seem remarkably unconcerned about judicial misconduct and ethical violations. Clearly, you see no need to improve the judicial system. I do. And since money is apparently more important than justice in your (and the judiciary's) world, then I say that money is the tool to demand that they do a better job. What I experienced in two years of federal court was a virtual wonderland of ethical violations and judicial misconduct. All of it was documented and no one, but no one, ever challenged my allegations. But every federal judge that reviewed it chose to do nothing, all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is remarkable how unconcerned that court is with judicial misconduct. Almost always, when a federal judge is accused of misconduct, no matter how valid the accusations, his fellow judges circle the wagon and protect the accused judge. That is the reality of the U.S. federal judiciary. I have every right to crusade for reform. That is my right as an American, just as it is your right to oppose me.

Sensible
11-21-2009, 01:52 AM
Lisa,as you know, some of the greatest minds in human history set up our current system. Jefferson, & Franklin to name a few. They devised a system of checks & balances as their means of achieving accountability. They could have done more but they did not because they knew the importance of a strong and independent federal judiciary. Apparently, you feel the Framers set up a deeply flawed system and civilian review panels are needed. In advocating such a radical departure from the system already in place clearly you believe you are wiser than the Framers. The reality is, you couldn't be more wrong. How do we know this? Because the proof is in the pudding -- our system has endured for 222 years, the world's longest lasting democracy.

Your proposal of bringing civilians into the mix on some type of panel is something you already know the federal judiciary would never accept. Congress lacks the constitutional authority to impose such a system; about the best they could do is withhold fair pay adjustments to try to coerce the judges in adopting such a thing. Since you have to know the judges would never agree to this, then as a pragmatic matter its pretty clear what you really seek -- not to obtain reform. Rather, you just flat out want to screw the judges.

You clearly don't have a clue about what it takes to be a great judge and how hard it is to attract the crem de la crem. Ethics is just one of the six prongs. Applicants who possess all 6 of the requisite prongs are not plentiful. Not to mention they've likely spent 10 times on their education more than the average American. You use the word "accountability" but in your world its really all about revenge and control. No reasonable person would agree that 17 yrs in a row of de facto pay cuts is fair. The examples you cite if anything show a decline in quality of the applicant pool causing a decline in quality of the judiciary because the inherent value of the job itself has been threatened. Small wonder. No human being in any occupation anywhere wants to see their real pay eroded 40% over the course of their career. Basically you are getting what you paid for. Lisa, what would happen to the quality of people in your profession if the transit workers received de facto pay cuts 17 years in a row?

Of course, America is full of multi-millionaire lawyers who are so wealthy they who wouldn't care if you paid them a dollar a year. Your proposal that the country keep the current abusive pay practices will swell the ranks of the judiciary with the ultra rich types and those lacking great qualifications. Why? Because I don't see how very many of the non-ultra wealthy lawyers who also possess all 6 of the (equally vital) qualities I outlined in the previous post would want any job that gives a pay cut 17 years in a row.

By the way, by definition an idealogue is one who puts ideology first (which means ideology would go before standard of living). If you want to encourage true idealogues in the judicial profession just have a system where the judges are subjected to extreme pay erosion. Why? Because intuitively we know that normal people who don't have an agenda are those who insist on being treated fairly -- in this case at least somewhat keeping up with inflation. Most of those types will not want the job. Why? Because we know based on common experience that virtually everyone wants fair treatment when it comes to pay. In my case, I've never met anyone in my whole life who didn't believe that was important. Don't get me wrong: there will be some normal people who aren't ultra wealthy and don't have an agenda who will put up with these abusive practices because no matter what the cost they want to serve the public's interest. However, I have no doubt but that the vast majority of the non-ultra wealthy crem de la crem will not consider it worth their while because like everyone else they want fair treatment. That's why I say, you will reduce the number in the applicant pool of people with the best qualifications. You see, Lisa, its not an either/or situation. You need to think out of the box. What we are talking about here is a matter of degree; we will reduce the number of the best applicants seeking these job if we keep in place a draconian pay system that gives the judges never ending back door pay cuts. Nonetheless, as I said, there will always be a few selfless souls who are not rich and have top qualifications in all six of the categoeis who will apply, but those will likely be few and far between. Intuitively, you have to know that this is true.

bombsquadron6
11-29-2009, 04:29 PM
Lisa,as you know, some of the greatest minds in human history set up our current system. Jefferson, & Franklin to name a few. They devised a system of checks & balances as their means of achieving accountability. They could have done more but they did not because they knew the importance of a strong and independent federal judiciary. Apparently, you feel the Framers set up a deeply flawed system and civilian review panels are needed. In advocating such a radical departure from the system already in place clearly you believe you are wiser than the Framers. The reality is, you couldn't be more wrong. How do we know this? Because the proof is in the pudding -- our system has endured for 222 years, the world's longest lasting democracy.

Judiciary Act of 1789

The United States Judiciary Act of 1789 was a landmark statute adopted on September 24, 1789 in the first session of the First United States Congress establishing the U.S. federal judiciary. Article III, section 1 of the Constitution prescribed that the "judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court", and such inferior courts as Congress saw fit to establish. It made no provision, though, for the composition or procedures of any of the courts, leaving this to Congress to decide.

The existence of a separate federal judiciary had been controversial during the debates over the ratification of the Constitution. Anti-Federalists had denounced the judicial power as a potential instrument of national tyranny. Indeed, of the ten amendments that eventually became the Bill of Rights, five (the fourth through the eighth) dealt primarily with judicial proceedings. Even after ratification, some opponents of a strong judiciary urged that the federal court system be limited to a Supreme Court and perhaps local admiralty judges. The Congress, however, decided to establish a system of federal trial courts with broader jurisdiction, thereby creating an arm for enforcement of national laws within each state. (Excerted from Wikipedia-emphasis added)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiciary_Act_of_1789

Perhaps, Sensible, you need to review your history of the federal judiciary as well as the Constitution. The Founding Fathers, in creating the Constitution, required only a Supreme Court. While they authorized a federal judiciary consisting of lower courts, they did not create one. It was left to Congress to decide issues regarding the judiciary and the present system was created by statute in 1789. Fears that the federal judiciary could become a tool of tyranny have existed since this nation’s beginning; a fear that I believe has come to pass.

Here is Section I of Article III of the U.S. Constitution.

Section 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Congress, not the Constitution, has given federal judges broad discretion and little or no oversight. Congress has the power to impeach federal judges and Congress has the power of the purse strings and has the power to withhold pay raises if they believe that it is warranted.

Sensible, I am a blue collar worker who did not finish college. Although I should have remembered all this from high school civics classes I had to research it. It took fifteen minutes. There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution prohibiting any oversight of the federal judiciary. We have a system that has evolved since the Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789 and Congress passed the Judiciary Act later that year. But nowhere is there a clause that restricts oversight of the federal courts. Did I miss something here, Sensible?

Please do not “dumb down” your explanation of the federal judiciary or the U.S. Constitution. This is a military website and many of the readers have sacrificed much for this nation. I suspect you have not.

Sensible
11-30-2009, 04:23 AM
“Perhaps, Sensible, you need to review your history of the federal judiciary as well as the Constitution. The Founding Fathers, in creating the Constitution, required only a Supreme Court. While they authorized a federal judiciary consisting of lower courts, they did not create one. It was left to Congress to decide issues regarding the judiciary and the present system was created by statute in 1789. Fears that the federal judiciary could become a tool of tyranny have existed since this nation’s beginning; a fear that I believe has come to pass.”


Ms. Burke, the Constitution itself only created the Supreme Court. However, your reference shows that the Founding Fathers were well aware that more courts would be needed. Of course, since the Founders had a tremendous vision, that shouldn’t be a surprise. It was not possible, even in 18th Century America (much less today) for single court court to handle all federal cases. So, the Constitution itself recognizes that additional Art. III courts would be needed. Of course, the Constitution did not explicitly create most of the government. That is why my previous post referred to the doctrine of implied delegation of power. This is a concept that our law has accepted for over 200 years. It is so well settled that I find it absolutely incredible would want to debate me about it.


“Congress, not the Constitution, has given federal judges broad discretion and little or no oversight. Congress has the power to impeach federal judges and Congress has the power of the purse strings and has the power to withhold pay raises if they believe that it is warranted.”

Wrong again Ms. Burke. All the Congress did is create the inferior federal courts. Once that was done, from a constitutional perspective and only with regard to the dignity these inferior courts are entitled to from other branches of government, these judges became equal to the judges on the Supreme Court. Why? Because through the Judiciary Act the Supreme Court delegated its power to decide cases to these inferior courts. The delegation was done through an Act of Congress because the Supreme Court has no authority to create them. However, the Constitution through the provision you cite empowered the Congress to make the delegation on the Supreme Court’s behalf. That is right. Although the authority to create the inferior courts rests with Congress, once the nominees are elevated to the status of constitutional officers under the Judiciary Act they have been empowered to decide federal cases just as the Supreme Court has been empowered and thus are entitled to the same constitutional protections as the members of the Supreme Court.

So don’t mix apples and oranges. Congress doesn’t give these judges broad discretion; the Constitution does under the implied powers doctrine. Now, that said, you are right that Congress has the right to impeach and hold the purse strings over the judges’ heads, just as they do over everyone’s head, including the President.

The real question here is, why do you persist in not acknowledging the obvious? Namely, you refuse to acknowledge that the integrity of the job of federal judge is threatened because, after almost 20 years of de facto pay cuts, they (unlike other federal employees) have seen their real pay dramatically eroded. You seem to want to stick you head in the sand like an ostrich and deny the fact that the quality of the pool of applicants for the job is reduced because precious few who possesses all six of the qualities I outline to you previously (unless they are already fabulously wealthy) would want a job that leads to this type of abusive pay practice. Intuitively, you have to know this is true based on your everyday experiences.

ChiefB
11-30-2009, 05:10 AM
Gezzus: Do you guys realize that for 226 posts you have fought to a standstill and neither has acknowledged the righteousness of the other's thoughts.

Being paid by the hour has gone to you'all's heads.

I find for the defendant and the plaintiff. (Both judges and the military are underpaid) Case dismissed!

Now, kiss and make - up and admit there is merit in both of your advocacies, please. ;)

ChiefB

bombsquadron6
11-30-2009, 04:31 PM
The existence of a separate federal judiciary had been controversial during the debates over the ratification of the Constitution. Anti-Federalists had denounced the judicial power as a potential instrument of national tyranny.

The federal judiciary has lived up to the fears expressed 222 years ago. They answer to no one and call it “judicial independence.” Sensible, your ability to excuse the injustices that federal judges frequently inflict on Americans disturbs me, particularly your explanation that it is only because they are not paid enough. The judiciary apparently sees no need to meet a higher ethical standard and individual judges refuse to hold judges guilty of misconduct accountable for their actions. I see no federal judges, much less the nine imperial members of the U.S. Supreme Court, taking a stand for integrity. Did the Founding Father envision such a system, Sensible?

Here is a current pay chart for federal judges. Technically, Sensible is correct that the have not had a “raise” since 1991. However, they routinely get cost of living increases that are quite substantial.
http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/judges_frm
Another link to review:
http://www.uscourts.gov/salarychart.pdf

bombsquadron6
11-30-2009, 05:17 PM
Dear ChiefB, Did you think I am an attorney or getting paid by the hour for this? No chance. For me justice is a cause, not money. I have plenty of free time, after working 50-60 hours a week to support my household, and if I choose to use it writing on this blog then I shall do so. You don't have to read it. But kiss and make up? Not only no, but hell no!

ChiefB
11-30-2009, 09:33 PM
Dear ChiefB, Did you think I am an attorney or getting paid by the hour for this? No chance. For me justice is a cause, not money. I have plenty of free time, after working 50-60 hours a week to support my household, and if I choose to use it writing on this blog then I shall do so. You don't have to read it. But kiss and make up? Not only no, but hell no!

Ok, I tried....if you think that you need more that 226 posts to make a point...you are surely welcome to knock yourself out. First few posts were interesting. Just know that intransigence = no progress = 226 repetitive posts = total boredom = I'm outta here.

ChiefB

bombsquadron6
12-01-2009, 07:32 AM
Fine by me, ChiefB. You chastise me but give Sensible a pass. OK. Whatever.

Here is my agenda. I want justice from the federal courts and believe that far too often average Americans are denied that justice by a judiciary that has become arrogant and elitist. I spent two years in federal court and saw what happens when a private citizen challenges the powerful and politically well connected. So now, I will fight to prevent these elitist judges from gaining the one thing that they care about much more than justice-money. At some point in the future, someone on the Senate Judiicary Committee, probably Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will once again introduce a bill to give federal judges a large pay raise. A similar bill will be introduced in the House, probably by someone on the House Judiciary Committee. I will once again contact as many members of Congress as possible, particularly those who are considering cosponsoring the bills, and demand that debates be held. I will argue that the American public deserves to hear testimony from those who have been wronged by the federal courts. That would be a lot of people,by the way. If Congress wants to give these judges more money at least let the American public hear both sides of the issue. Sensible has a big problem with this. Do you also have a problem with it, ChiefB?

If you are tired of the debate just tune out. As long as Sensible keeps arguing with me I'm going to fire back. No skin off my nose. If he leaves I will just keep writing about injustices committed by our federal judicary. You know, the ones who have no oversight, no accountability and life tenure. The ones who cover for each other and have disdain for the average American. The ones who want more money........

Sensible
12-07-2009, 04:16 AM
Interesting website you directed us to, Ms. Burke, concerning the history of judicial pay increases. Astounding. No one in the legal profession except lawyers with crummy client bases have seen their pay so decline. Did you notice all the years they got no pay adjustments at all?

Incidentally, we should talk about the real problem with federal litigation: frivilous lawsuits. Talk about wasting the taxpayers' hard earned money. No telling how many billions of the public's resources have been wasted over the past 20 years by forcing federal judges to address bogus claims. Prehaps we need to adopt the British rule in this country, where the losing plaintiff pays the defendant's attorneys fees.

Sensible
12-23-2009, 11:19 PM
Hooray! It looks like for the first time in 19 years the federal judges are finally getting a pay adjustment that meets or exceeds the inflation rate (as calculated by the CPI).

Not too much to get excited about - will only be 2%. In light of the deep recession and fall in fuel prices, which has resulted in a negative CPI this past year, however, even this small increase exceeds that measure of inflation (which of course does not include such things as increases in insurance premiums and tax increases). Well, its a start....

bombsquadron6
01-03-2010, 04:30 PM
The pay raise Sensible refers to is an across-the-board pay raise for federal civilian employees. http://wiredworkplace.nextgov.com/2009/09/federal_pay_raise_update.php (http://wiredworkplace.nextgov.com/2009/09/federal_pay_raise_update.php)I’m glad that the federal employees are getting a raise. Likewise for the military, who will get a raise between 2.9% and 3.4%. The military certainly deserves it.

I realize that some of you find me to be a zealot (which I don’t dispute) but I do hope that this new decade brings you happiness.

bombsquadron6
01-04-2010, 04:00 PM
The pay scale for America's top military personnel is remarkably similar to that of the federal judiciary. http://www.militaryfactory.com/military_pay_scale.asp One big difference is that the military bases their pay scale, in large part, on years of service. While the military’s top brass, those at the highest level with 38 or more years of service, earn about the same as the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, there are very few of them. Others earn much less. For example, the district court judge that I have written so much about had less than five years on the bench but was making considerably more than many generals with far more years of experience.
http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/Training/DTS/Docs/TrnMat/DTA_App_M.pdf (http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/Training/DTS/Docs/TrnMat/DTA_App_M.pdf)

But this has not prevented the military academies from attracting the best and brightest and from retaining experienced personnel that could earn higher salaries in the private sector. Moreover, at every advancement step the military weed-outs underperforming personnel. Judges lack any serious scrutiny of their work.

bombsquadron6
01-05-2010, 07:07 AM
http://kai03.qwest.com/WindowsLive/Media/News/NewsDetail/National/Disgraced_Miss_judge_reports_to_federal_prison.asp x?id=D9D15EVG1@news.ap.org&client=landingpage&qid=7A6ED2A8C71F6BAFE0CDAA6FFFFFFFFF

Oh! So that's how to become a federal judge!

Sensible
01-07-2010, 01:10 AM
FYI:


In his annual year end message regarding the state of the federal judiciary Chief Justice John Roberts declined to address an issue he has considered urgent in year's past: judicial pay.

Citing "difficult issues" faced by the political branches and the fact that "fellow citizens" have been "touched by hardship" the Chief released an unusually short report and declined to touch on the needs of the judiciary. Instead he wrote: "The courts are operating soundly, and the nation's dedicated federal judges are conscientiously discharging their duties."

See: http://www.thefoxnation.com/chief-justice-john-roberts/2010/01/04/chief-justice-roberts-skips-pay-raise

bombsquadron6
01-16-2010, 06:02 PM
“The courts are operating soundly, and the nation's dedicated federal judges are conscientiously discharging their duties.”

This astonishing statement is from Chief Justice John Robert’s 2009 year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary. No problems to report! The Chief Justice sees no need to demand that the federal judges under his watch meet the highest ethical standards and views them as above reproach.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Courts-Operating-Soundly-law-2750043802.html?x=0&.v=1

The federal courts have spent the past year defending the rights of large corporations, illegal aliens and now, thanks to a recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, incarcerated felons. The Ninth Circuit, known as probably the most liberal circuit, has ruled that convicted felons cannot lose the right to vote. http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2010/01/05/06-35669.pdf (http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2010/01/05/06-35669.pdf)They claim that it is “racially discriminatory” to do so based upon the fact that there are many minorities in prison. Never mind that they committed felonies. http://www.theweek.com/article/index/104819/Ballots_for_felons (http://www.theweek.com/article/index/104819/Ballots_for_felons)

It is unfortunate that the courts find no need to protect the law abiding citizens of this nation. Further, these courts have done nothing to stop the endless march toward globalization and have, in fact, made decisions paving the way to that end. The U.S. Supreme Court has increasingly looked to international law when making decisions. http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/4/3/82551.shtml (http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/4/3/82551.shtml)

The Ninth Circuit decision by the three member panel was two to one. The two appellate judges who ruled that felons could not be deprived of their right to vote are Judge Atsushi Tashima and Judge Stephen Reinhardt. Judge Tashima became a district court judge in 1980 during the Carter administration. He became a judge on the Ninth Circuit in 1996, during the Clinton administration. Judge Reinhardt was nominated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1979 by President Carter and confirmed by the Senate in 1980.

Both of these judges, and many more like them, have excellent credentials and have been federal judges since long before the beginning of the alleged judicial crisis that Sensible claims is caused by the low pay of federal judges. But they are ideologues. The problem, once again, is not a lack of money but a lack of oversight. Both parties in Congress want their ideologues on the bench. There is no genuine mechanism to hold unethical or extremist judges accountable for their actions and the federal courts fight any effort, or even suggestion, that judicial accountability might be good for the American public. Chief Justice Roberts simply says everything is fine!

Sensible
01-16-2010, 07:01 PM
Ms. Burke, there is a name for idealogues. Its called a "politician." Since politician's appoint federal judges there is little doubt that more than a few idealogues will be in. Especially in this Congress. This is the most politically polarizing Congress I have ever seen. Look at what those people are doing now. The vast majority of the people do not want a major revision of their healthcare, only a little tweaking. Look what those bone heads are doing -- completely revamping the whole system under the guise that, by covering $30 more million people we can "save money." What a cruel joke, not only on taxpayers, but on our children's, children's, children.

In terms of excellent credentials, I will bet the key factor you are looking at is where these people went to school. If you look beyond that, I will bet you will find many with some not so impressive credentials. Very few federal judges I know have tried hundreds of jury cases in the first chair position. The reason: those lawyers who do are the ones who have real value in our socieity and there are just not that many with that type of background. Those who have that kind of background make way too much money to be interested in the position of federal judge. Think of it. Here is a group that receives its first pay adjustment in almost 20 years that meets or exceeds the inflation rate and that adjustment was only a 2% pay increase! If the members of your union received this type of treatment there would be rioting in the streets of SLC.

Anyway, most of the really outrageous decisions I have seen (most out of the 9th Circuit) get overturned on appeal. So the system generally works, albeit not always because it is, after all, something that was designed by fallible human beings.

Hey - I have a question for you. That law professor who says there is no "objective study" showing that judges perform better if they are paid better . . . do you know of any "objective study" that shows that law professors perform better if they are paid more? How about train conductors? Or police officers? Of course not - how could there ever be such a creature; some things we just know based on common sense, not "objective studies."

bombsquadron6
01-17-2010, 02:18 AM
"If the members of [my] union received this type of treatment there would be rioting in the streets of Salt Lake City." Excuse me? I'm incredulous. First, the union that you speak of, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 382, has done nothing for the workers and is nothing more than a subsidiary of the transit company. In fact, since the union and the company won the federal lawsuit where we challenged the union's legitimacy and demanded the established right to select our own representation and not have this self serving, corrupt, company-controlled entity crammed down our throats by the transit company the situation has become worse. Thanks to the decision handed down by the (former) district court judge here in Salt Lake City and upheld by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, we have no collective bargaining rights to speak of. It is now virtually impossible for public transit workers to vote out a corrupt union and replace it with an honest one. The federal court ruling strengthens entrenched, corrupt, bureaucratic unions that are only interested in collecting union dues. But be assured, the decision also strengthens the transit company since the workers have no recourse against anything the company does. Nowhere in the decision does the court show any concern for the individual rights of the workers. They are the big losers. Everything that is reprehensible about unions was validated by the federal courts in our case. These are the judges you are defending.

Recently the company and the union reached a tentative agreement on a contract. The company, whose top executives received substantial bonuses this year, is broke and carrying close to two billion dollars in debt. We workers know that we must make concessions and tough it out but apparently that only applies to the workers. No sacrifices are being made by the executives. In fact, the company does not even provide indoor plumbing to its rail workers, of which I am one. I am expected to take my breaks in a shed with no running water and use a single seriously nasty and repulsive porta-potty, which all the rail employees are expected to share, located right next to the shed. There is no light or heat in this porta-potty from hell. I refuse to touch it so my only option is to walk some distance to use a restroom for bus drivers. I work the night shift and it is frightening. Passengers prowl around trying to get into the porta-potty to use it and when they find it is locked they just relieve themselves right outside. This is only a few feet from me, huddled inside the shed. It's one big open air latrine out there. If I decide to walk over to the bus drivers' restroom at night I am genuinely worried about getting attacked by some deranged bus passenger. In the meantime, the executives at my company work in a building that has an exercise room with four flat screen TV's and they also enjoy an indoor courtyard with a waterfall. Does the so-called union object to any of this and demand that the company provide the workers with the most basic necessities? Of course not. The company controls the union thanks to the federal courts.

The union members voted down the contract by 99%. Obviously the contract contained no pay increase for the workers, many of whom believe that the sacrifices should be made by the company's executives as well as the workers. But rather than go back to negotiations or take it to arbitration, which the union has the right to demand, the company has simply imposed the new contract on the workers and the union has done nothing. The union has not even filed for a temporary injunction until the matter can be resolved. When companies and unions do not reach an accord the usual procedure is to operate under the old contract until an agreement is reached. But this company has unilaterally imposed a new contract on workers who have rejected it and their union doesn't even challenge this action. The company knows that the union will do nothing because it owes its existence to the company. There is little support for the union but the company continues to prop it up because the union gives the company whatever it wants. Since the federal courts chose not to protect public transit workers but instead ruled to protect corrupt unions this is our lot in life. Many Americans hate unions with good reason. Thank you federal courts.

So no, Sensible. My so-called union won't be calling for riots in the streets. We workers are all worried about losing our jobs as are most Americans these days. All we ever wanted was the right to decide for ourselves who would represent us but we were denied that right by your beloved federal courts.

Sensible
01-17-2010, 04:30 AM
Ms. Burke, please don't take this as a dig, because it is not intended as one. However, I have belonged to a union in the past and know how it works. Union leadership is supposed to work for the membership, not the other way around, and to insure they work for the membership periodic elections are held. So my question to you is: if your union is that bad, why doesn't the membership just elect new leadership?

bombsquadron6
01-17-2010, 08:02 AM
The union is controlled by the company. Do you think the members don't elect new "leadership"? Of course they do and nothing changes. Once the new "leadership" is in, the lack of leadership continues. But since the union and the company were joined at the hip during the lawsuit (we sued both) they have never separated. Utah is a right-to-work state and so employees are not required to join and generally there is less than 50% membership because everyone knows it is a waste of money to belong to it. But the union has to have a majority of members (from the entire group of employees) to be legitimate according to Utah state law. So the company can shut them down anytime they want. The union does as it is told. But the company really wants this sham union since they can dominate it. The employees thought that the ATU International, the parent organization in Washington D.C., would come in to oversee the situation but so far that has not happened. It is a textbook example of everything that is wrong with unions today; corruption and greed. They collect union dues and do nothing for the workers. The union executives at the local level here is Salt Lake City go around chanting the mantra "Utah is a right-to-work state so there is nothing we can do!" What BS. Other than the fact that no one is forced to join the union, federal and state protections exist just like everywhere else. But the union has to actually step up to the plate and demand that they be enforced. They never do. Of course, we tried to get the courts to enforce these rights and you can see where that went. A big problem is that Utah does not have a state labor commission that oversees collective bargaining rights which means that the employees are forced to go to court to have even the most basic rights vindicated. It is expensive and difficult. The system that is in place here is a machine that just goes on and on.

Sensible
01-17-2010, 02:55 PM
Ms. Burke - - Here is my take: likely the union you wanted to form would not do any better. Why? Well I am not an expert in labor law, but I took the course in law school from a gentleman who wrote a leading textbook on the subject. One thing I recall my professor saying is: "labor law is really all about economic power." Translation: the unions which are comprised of workers who have the leverage to bring an employer to its knees has the power to get its way. Those who don't are dominated by the employer.

I've seen this in my own life. For years I belonged to the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. Because President Reagan ruled federal employees have no right to strike, our union was weak and could get none of its initiatives passed. Conversely, I have a friend who is a Captain with an airline. Airline captains are extremely well paid. Most of the ones I know are millionaires, and I am not begruding them that. But the reality is, they are so well paid because they are unionized and experienced pilots with thousands of hours of flight time do not grow on trees. Airlines want highly experienced pilots because if they were to use greenhorns and there were ever a crash, their liability would soar. Thus, the pilots because of their inherent economic position have the airlines over a barrel.

Conversely, maybe the jobs in your company are such that the workers can be easily replaced. If you are in that position, then no union can do much because, as my professor would say, the union lacks the leverage to do anything (much like NAAUSA did in my case).

bombsquadron6
01-17-2010, 03:28 PM
So it isn't really that important that the federal courts ruled as they did? Maybe it doesn't matter that we have no rights now thanks to them? No, people have the right to try to improve their lot in life and even if things would not have improved much with a different union that isn't the point. The federal judges, all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, made a deliberate decision to strengthen corrupt unions and deprive honest, hard working Americans of any ability to seek reform. Further, when we challenged the decision and pointed out how tainted it was they ignored it and upheld a despicable decision. If there hadn't been overwhelming evidence of misconduct, all of which we documented, I would never make such a bold statement. But the company is extremely happy with the decision. They can abuse us all they want now and there is nothing to stop them. We are all too afraid of them to even go to the department of health to report the situation I described earlier.

Sensible
01-18-2010, 05:23 AM
Ms. Burke, its hard for me to say they ruled contrary to the law. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. A litigant must state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and that's it. In fact, if a litigant fails to state a claim, it doesn't really matter how many factual equities are on his or her side. Now, having said that I am just not well versed enough in the law in this area to say whether the judges followed the law. Sorry.

bombsquadron6
01-18-2010, 05:58 AM
Oh for God's sake. Our attorney stated a valid claim, asked for relief and did everything correctly. He put together an incredibly good case, all based upon federal labor protections and established case law. The law was on our side.

bombsquadron6
01-30-2010, 08:11 PM
Way to go U.S. Supreme Court! As a result of the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporations and labor unions now have the right to spend as much money as they want to influence voters for or against specific candidates. The decision was based on a First Amendment argument. Corporations will now have the ability to overwhelm us with their ads and it will be almost impossible for candidates to counterbalance this influence.
http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/2010/01/27/oconnor-worries-corporate-cash-will-taint-judicial-elections.html

Labor union funding of political influence is not a good thing for Americans, either. Large labor unions stopped representing the interests of their members years ago. They are now bloated bureaucracies that operate as big businesses. They do not even fight to limit illegal immigration. One in particular, the Service Employees International Union, is little more than an advocacy group for illegals who want to work in this country.
http://www.seiu.org/2010/01/comprehensive-immigration-reform-would-increase-us-gdp-by-15-trillion-over-10-years.php (http://www.seiu.org/2010/01/comprehensive-immigration-reform-would-increase-us-gdp-by-15-trillion-over-10-years.php)

Many conservatives are elated. Democrats are aghast because it will likely lead to a huge increase in corporate money being spent to promote conservative candidates. Of course, the Democrats have been silent about the massive political money contributed by billionaire George Soros. This Democratic party "benefactor" has contributed enormous amounts of his personal fortune to fund some of the most extremist left wing organizations, notably MoveOn.org. Soros also has financed spin outfits such as Media Matters that specialize in providing distorted conservative political statements as grist for leftist politicians and media. http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=492266 (http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=492266)He has driven the Democratic party to the far left, essentially commandeering it.

The two political parties are now filled with extremists from either end of the spectrum and the corporate and labor union money will be flowing freely to influence elections. It is not unthinkable that future elections will feature candidates who, on the right represent the interests of corporations, and on the left represent the interests of open border advocates. Of course, corporations want cheap labor so this is a two-fer for them. Many average Americans, of which I count myself, are left wondering who represents us. I am reluctant to drop the F-bomb here but one of the classic definitions of fascism is the merging of big government, big business and big labor unions. The federal courts have abdicated their responsibility to protect us.

bombsquadron6
02-20-2010, 08:45 PM
Illegal Aliens Win One in the Tenth Circuit

On February 2, 2010 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the state of Oklahoma, holding that it cannot enforce two employment provisions in House Bill 1804, the state's immigration control law. (A third provision was upheld.) The lower court judge in Oklahoma, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Robin J. Cauthron of the Western District of Oklahoma, had ruled that all three provisions of HB 1804 were invalid. (District Court No. 08-CV-00109-C) The state of Oklahoma appealed the decision to the Tenth Circuit which consists of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. The Tenth Circuit courthouse is in Denver.
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=14&articleid=20100202_12_0_DENVER90561
http://blogs.chron.com/immigration/archives/2010/02/court_rules_okl.html
http://www.ck10.uscourts.gov/opinions/08/08-6127.pdf

The case is Chamber of Commerce of USA v. Edmondson (Tenth Circuit Court no. 08-6127). The case was heard by Tenth Circuit Judges Kelly, Lucero and Hartz. Judge Paul Kelly was appointed by President George Bush in 1991. Judge Carlos Lucero was appointed by President Clinton in 1995 and Judge Harris Hartz was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001. This is significant because it demonstrates that when it comes to opening this country up to cheap labor from foreign countries there is no difference between the left and right. Judge Hartz is the most interesting of the three. As a member of the extremely conservative Federalist Society, he is supposed to be a states-rights advocate and a defender of the 10th Amendment. This amendment states that all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government belong to the states or to the people under the 9th Amendment. Under recent U.S. Supreme Court case law, federal courts have been increasingly reluctant to find federal law preempts state law. However, as Oklahoma found out, this case is a glaring exception which demonstrates that when push comes to shove, corporatism trumps the 10th Amendment.

Oklahoma has managed to weather the economic meltdown fairly well in part because it is an oil state but also because early on they took a hard position on immigration and drove out many illegals thereby providing jobs for their own citizens. While HB 1804, the state bill that was challenged in the federal court case, may seem harsh, it was intended to protect the citizens and legal residents of the state of Oklahoma.

The Chamber of Commerce of the USA, the lead plaintiff in the case, is now dominated by multinational corporations whose policies don’t necessarily benefit American citizens. It exists to serve its own agenda and having cheap labor that can be exploited is an important part of this agenda. The other plaintiffs in the case were various Oklahoma Chambers of Commerce as well as the Oklahoma Restaurant Association and the Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association. Each of these groups has an interest in allowing illegal immigration to flourish. They profit from it. Never mind that teenagers and young adults have record unemployment and there is little hope that it will improve anytime soon. This Tenth Circuit decision did not get the same media attention as the recent Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and unions to spend limitless amounts of money to influence voters for or against candidates but it is just as reprehensible.


The Tenth Circuit is the same circuit that ruled public transit workers have no right to choose their own union representation. Under that decision in my case, which was the basis for this blog, transit companies and corrupt unions can now force transit workers to be part of a union that those workers have overwhelmingly rejected. There is virtually no way for the workers to reject a corrupt union and replace it with an honest one. These big corrupt unions now work with the companies and corporations. They do not represent the workers and their primary job is to keep the workers under control for the benefit of the companies. They certainly do not fight to limit illegal immigration, in fact, they encourage it. If you look at the many Amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs filed in the Chamber of Commerce of USA v. Edmondson case, you will find that no labor unions filed briefs in support of Oklahoma’s decision to take a stand against illegal immigration, thereby protecting American workers. But many organizations advocating open borders filed briefs supporting a repeal of the Oklahoma law, including the American Civil Liberties Union. (Even the National Center for Lesbian Rights got into the act and filed an Amicus brief. Don’t ask me why.) So what happened to transit workers in my case, preventing honest unions from replacing corrupt ones, is consistent with the federal court agenda to serve their real master, Corporate America. And yet Chief Justice John Roberts states that, “The courts are operating soundly, and the nation’s dedicated federal judges are conscientiously discharging their duties.”

The Chamber of Commerce of USA v. Edmondson case is not over in the court of appeals. One or both sides can ask for a reconsideration and there are several possible outcomes. I make no predictions but will follow the case and post the court’s actions here.

Before long the U.S. borders will vaporize. None of this could happen without federal court judges whose allegiance is to corporatism rather than the U.S. Constitution and the people that they were appointed to serve.

bombsquadron6
02-23-2010, 02:46 PM
As an addendum to the previous post, I would point out that few “active” federal judges list military service on their resumes. Active is defined as “full time.” In the federal courts, judges who are retired but still hear some cases are considered “senior” judges. Obviously, the active judges are, on average, much younger than their senior counterparts.

My admittedly unscientific research indicates that while a considerable number of senior judges list military service on their resumes, few active judges do. In the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, my circuit since I live in Utah, six of ten senior judges list military service in their public resumes, however, only one out of eleven active judges do.

In the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (Connecticut, New York and Vermont), which I chose randomly to check out, I counted seven out of eleven senior judges that list military service. I could find no active judges that served.

In the U.S. Supreme Court only Justice John Paul Stevens, who is nearly ninety, served in the military (Navy- WWII.) Justice Anthony Kennedy lists service to the California Army National Guard in 1961. That would be a very short tenure and I am not going to give him credit for serving less than a year. None of the most conservative Justices, Roberts, Scalia, Alito or Thomas ever served their country.

Locally, here in Salt Lake City, I could find only one active district court judge who ever served and he is 77 years old. None of the other active judges list military service.

My point is that these current active judges who I believe are selling out our country have only rarely sacrificed anything for this nation. They are much too busy climbing the corporate legal and judicial ladders to be bothered giving anything back. Perhaps military service should be a prerequisite of judicial appointments.

bombsquadron6
03-07-2010, 05:44 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by former CEO of Enron, Jeffrey Skilling. Skilling, as you probably recall, was convicted in 2006, along with Ken Lay, who died before he was sentenced. Lay and Skilling, who received tens of millions in pay and stock options, repeatedly lied to cover up accounting tricks and business failures that led to the company's 2001 demise. The collapse wiped out more than $60 billion in market value, almost $2.1 billion in pension plans and 5,600 jobs.

The conspiracy conviction was a major win for the government, serving almost as a bookend to an era that has seen prosecutors win convictions against executives from WorldCom Inc. to Adelphia Communications Corp. and homemaking maven Martha Stewart. The public outrage over the string of corporate scandals led Congress to pass the Sarbanes-Oxley act, designed to make company executives more accountable.http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2006/05/25/lay_convicted_on_all_6_counts/

Some of the convictions were based on violations of the "honest services fraud" law. In 1988, Congress enacted a new law that specifically criminalized schemes to defraud victims of "the intangible right of honest services." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honest_services_fraud#History_and_case_law

The honest services fraud law was deliberately written broadly to be encompassing and comprehensive so as to address increasingly sophisticated and complex fraud upon Americans. It has been used to snare numerous corrupt government officials as well as corporate criminals. It is this broadness that the Supreme Court objects to, never mind that it has been very effective in bringing these criminals to justice.

The Department of Justice has come under increasing pressure to consider weakening the reach of this law. And who would be the biggest opponents of the honest services fraud law? Well, that would be the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honest_services_fraud#Meaning_of_.22honest_service s.22_in_public_corruption

The Supreme Court will likely overturn Skilling's conviction. They have indicated that the honest services fraud law is too vague. None of the nine justices appear to support this key anti-corruption law and will probably strike it down.
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/09/nation/la-na-court-honest-services9-2009dec09

Corporations and their criminal executives seem to have no trouble getting their cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and the empathy that this court shows to these scoundrels is very disturbing. Average citizens seeking justice, however, have virtually no chance of getting a case to the nation's highest court. But Chief Justice John Roberts states that the "[T]he courts are operating soundly, and the nation’s dedicated federal judges are conscientiously discharging their duties."

Oh, really?