Tuesday, January 03, 2012
John Roberts and his colleagues in the federal judiciary answer to no one. And they want to keep it that way.
BC Mary comment: Seldom does a U.S. news item get onto my BC Rail blog. There's a reason for this. I find U.S. politics distracting, off-topic, and not about us. You know what I mean? It'd be like trying to describe our own family issues by talking about people in the next town. It's best if I focus on our issues: how did we lose Canada's 3rd largest railway, and how do we get it back in public ownership again. This means what did our government do for the people, what did the police do, and especially what did the BC Supreme Court do when the chips were down? Especially, what are the things we need to do next because this issue is far from over. We've been down this lonesome road before, already.
So it was like a cry in the night -- that there's something about the "Legal schnauzer" which we need to hear about. I plan to follow his blog from now on ... at:
[U.S.]Chief Justice Draws Guffaws With His Claim That Federal Courts Operate Honestly
January 3, 2012
John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, says in a year-end report that he has "complete confidence" that federal judges behave in an ethical fashion. One prominent legal journalist calls the Roberts report a "whitewash." We would call it a sign that Roberts is living on Fantasy Island. More importantly, it's a sign that oversight is needed in courts because judges clearly cannot be trusted to police themselves.
Roberts' report comes at the end of a year marked by questions about the ethical standards that apply to federal judges, including those on the nation's highest court. Critics have argued that at least two justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan, have conflicts that should force them to step down from hearing any constitutional challenges to President Obama's health-care law. But we've seen no sign that either justice will recuse him or herself-- and in our current system, such decisions are left up to the judge.
Questions related to Obamacare only skim the surface of ethical problems with the federal judiciary. We have shown that Bush-era political prosecutions, such as those involving former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and Mississippi attorney Paul Minor, were enabled by numerous unlawful rulings from federal trial-court judges. We also have shown that federal appellate judges unlawfully upheld those rulings, apparently more interested in protecting their judicial brethren than in ensuring that the law is applied correctly and fairly.
In my own legal world, 2011 was filled with examples of federal district judges ruling contrary to law on matters that are clear and simple--and with judges from the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta mostly upholding findings that are contrary to long-standing precedent. In the first few months of 2012, I will be presenting ample evidence from my own legal battles that show our federal courts are infested with corruption. [Emphases by BCM.]
A key issue in my experience has been discovery. Specifically, federal judges have repeatedly allowed opposing parties to get away with not turning over relevant documents in discovery--or in one case, a federal judge actually ruled on summary judgment when no discovery had been conducted in the case at all. That simply cannot be done under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but an 83-year-old Reagan appointee did it anyway. We encourage you to stay tuned in 2012 for indisputable evidence that our federal courts are a cesspool.
So how does John Roberts reach his conclusion that all is hunky-dory in our federal courts? Answer: He's trying to protect his turf, and he isn't interested in making sure courts actually serve the public and uphold the law. Andrew Kreig, a journalist, lawyer, and director of the D.C.-based Justice Integrity Project, puts it in stark terms:
The federal courts function honestly, according to the annual report on the federal judiciary that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued Dec. 31 in the middle of the New Year's holiday weekend. Noting at the outset the disgrace that bribery brought to baseball in 1919, Roberts said the federal judiciary needs no reforms because its members seek to address their duties in an ethical manner. Roberts said he had "complete confidence" in the integrity of judges, including his colleagues on the Supreme Court. As chief justice, Roberts presides over both the nine-member Supreme Court and the administrative office of the federal judiciary. His report focused heavily on the need for public confidence in the judiciary. But he recommended nothing more than what he called continued self-discipline by judges.
"Whitewash" is the most obvious description of the Roberts report by those of us documenting flagrant abuses of the public interest by judges. Our Justice Integrity Project, among many others, has documented judges who have been enriched or otherwise co-opted by benefactors and political allies, while protected by cronies and toadies.
Kreig even hints that Roberts released his report late on New Year's Eve so that it would largely slip under the radar of the mainstream media:
The Roberts report was released at 6 p.m. Saturday night on Dec. 31, thus guaranteeing minimal attention from the public aside from those reporters provided advance copies
What does it tell us that John Roberts has confidence in the system he oversees? Absolutely nothing, of course. Roberts' confidence in the system is not the issue. The issue is this: Should the American public have confidence in the federal judiciary? The answer is no.
What might make a difference? Kreig offers a suggestion:
Reform is simple: Oversight hearings by the House Judiciary Committee, with aggressive investigation by the FBI of corruption complaints against dishonest federal judges, whether high or low, Democrat or Republican. Little scrutiny exists currently except for the most obvious crimes.
The Los Angeles Times was one of the few mainstream news outlets that picked up on the Roberts report. The Times makes clear that Roberts wants no part of any serious reforms:
The chief justice gently batted aside several suggestions for change. He said the justices as a group have not and should not review a decision by one of their colleagues on whether to drop out of case. Such a policy “would create an undesirable situation in which the court could affect the outcome of a case by selecting who among its members may participate,” he wrote.
He also noted the high cost of one justice stepping aside.
If one of the nine justices were to withdraw from the healthcare case, the outcome could be a 4-4 tie vote. That would leave the law in a muddle because the healthcare’s individual mandate has been deemed unconstitutional in one regional circuit and upheld in another. A justice cannot withdraw from a case “as a matter of convenience or simply to avoid controversy,” Roberts wrote.
In the end, Roberts sounds like a mafioso, instructing others to stay off his turf:
The chief justice also warned Congress to keep its distance. Twice, he cast doubt on whether lawmakers can impose an ethics rules on the high court, a separate branch of government. While the justices choose to abide by the current ethics rules, he said, “the limits of Congress’s power to require [them] have never been tested.”
Under the current system, John Roberts and his colleagues in the federal judiciary answer to no one. And they want to keep it that way.
Sincere appreciation to blog-owner, firstname.lastname@example.org and best of good luck in the coming year.
In Canada the P.M. can appoint pretty much anyone he chooses to the judiciary at the federal level, including the British Columbia Supreme Court - I'm not knowledgeable about how judges are appointed to the Provincial Bench.
I don't even know if the appointee is required to be a lawyer or a member of the bar - and I was going to say maybe they just have to be "other than" a convicted felon. Then I remembered Mr. Bornmannnnnn who is allowed to be an attorney and member of the bar, even though he is an untried, but self-confessed felon. Mind you don't even consider going into high class white collar organized crime unless you first acquire a law degree or an MBA!
I firmly believe that when justice goes rogue, if not corrected, eventually the society goes rogue as well and civil society breaks down and vigilante law, seemingly more fair, takes over. Read the preamble to the American Declaration of Independence - Thomas Jefferson's thoughts then in 1776 are perhaps even more relevant today than then. After all, in reality Merrie Olde England was basically subsidizing the colonies in the late eighteenth century, so it wasn't really about the money and taxes - it was about having no right to participate in the process and that there was no "due process" a point we are at again, and maybe more so.
Today the preznit of the YewKnighted Snakes can have citizens assassinated at will with no due process, other than his decision that dude must go. Herr Harper can thumb his nose at the law and centuries of parliamentary tradition while the evil cabal that comprises the BC judiciary can make up the law as they go along to suit their masters and be assured a compliant and complicit corporate media will cover there asses and keep the people fooled just a little longer.
We are getting tired of "eating cake" Barry, Steve and Christy (and you greedy bloated CEOs. The one thing the Occupy movement has accomplished so far is to make more people aware of how out of whack things are. If the politicians and the 1% don't begin to address these issues, what happened in 2011 will be seen as just the start of a revolution that as yet doesn't have to become violent, but will if the inequities are not addressed. Add the stress created by resource shortages and the possible wars/migrations over food, water and energy and unless humanity uses both its intelligence and its compassion, some rough times and a major cull are in the future, and not the distant future.
Yes, Koot you are so very right.
This is what is happening in BC right now. We don't have a justice system, we have a legal industry that has sunk to a level of corruption and abusive behaviour that wouldn't be tolerated at the lowest levels of society.
Police commit crimes, but are kept on payroll and then given their jobs back with nary a hiccup. Public servants view ordinary citizens as enemies. They bully, impede and harm with impunity, but never seem to pay any penalty for wrong-doing. Judges lie, court officers and court house staff alter documents, ignore laws and rules of conduct, and on it goes.
The thugs who rule our land along with their henchmen and women are the ones calling the shots in our present state of faux democracy.
I don't call police for protection anymore or to complain about crimes, nor do I hire lawyers, nor do I trust the judges and their ilk. I'm a mainstream, law-abiding, middle-aged woman who was raised to be respectful and appreciative of institutions that govern our society. No more.
Canada has slipped away from us, and we're now firmly a police state in every sense of the term. People don't know it until it brushes up against them, and then.... wham! they're launched into another world, never to return.
I cannot disagree with anything you've said Koot. Thank you for helping me feel less alone in my view of the calamity that is descending upon us.
LegalSnoozer led me to a blog on Alabama political corruption. It was as if I were reading something about B.C. Amazing. They too are having problems with coal mines and the impacts on their drinking water. On Vancouver Island we have the propsed Raven coal mine. It will cause nothing but enviornmental problems.
Alabama was considered the most corrupt American State. In Canada they voted Quebec the most corrupt although I personally think its B.C. What is so interesting in reading blogs from other regions is the content is all dangerously similar, just the names are changed.
... we know!
The thing is, do we dedicate the rest of our lives to complaining?
Or is there an Action Plan??
Frequently, mainstream media denies us the truth. I firmly believe this void has brought about the rise of bloggers as citizen watchdogs.
An informed public can bring about action - if they care enough to mobilize and hold their elected officials accountable.
This blog is the living proof that bloggers arise because it was so bald-faced obvious that the truth of THE LEGISLATURE RAIDS was being withheld from the public.
You can search on The Tyee for the very conversation in which people were moaning and groaning about it, and BC Mary commented "But we can't just complain. We must do something!"
Heck, I didn't know. But I said it anyway: "We could start a blog."
Three or four of us did so.
Koot's "House of Infamy" appears about once a month.
One good man dropped out because of his daughter's sudden death.
And there's me, with over 2,000 postings in those months and years since May 2006 when we all thought (ha ha) that the Basi-Virk trial would begin in June 2006.
Did you see Kevin McCullough's professional web-site, in which he embedded one of my editorials? My theme that day was that Defence lawyer McCullough was asking OUR questions for us. Go to his site and click on the line which says something like "What are the bloggers saying?"
Many other bloggers touch on the BC Rail subject now, and it often appears in comments about other dastardly deeds pulled off by Gordon Campbell's govt.
There's SO MUCH WE CAN DO, if we each try even a little bit, every day.
Like you. Thanks for writing in.
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