The judge refused to recuse, even though there was plenty in his background warranting recusal, see here and here.
We have federal judges openly claiming that their personal heritage should be used in their judicial decisions.
One judge who so claimed is a federal appellate judge Ilana Rovner, the other is one of the present-time U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonya Sotomayor.
Here are both of judges holding beliefs that their personal heritage must be part of their judicial decision-making (the two judges on the right):
Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court exceeded its authority to the point of allowing federal judges to act as unsworn witnesses and adjudicators and use their own personal "experiences" (which are not made part of the record and are not known to litigants), in order to decide sufficiency of pleadings in civil rights cases - cases which, under the 7th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, demand that all issues of fact are decided by jury.
At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Batson v Kentucky, has made clear, at least in one context, that (whatever those judicial experiences are), discrimination based on race at least in criminal proceedings is constitutionally intolerable - and criminal verdicts made by juries picked with the exclusion of a certain race are unconstitutional.
Yet, in the same blessed state of Kentucky, an African American judge Olu Stevens
was suspended for trying to do his job and eradicate racism in criminal proceedings, just as the U.S. Supreme Court directed to be done in Batson v Kentucky.
Now, in the State of Ohio, another judge, a federal 94-year-old African American judge Damon Keith
not only issued a fiery dissent against his colleagues, judges whom Judge Damon Keith pretty much accused of racism in their court decision. Judge Damon Keith also gave an interview to the press about his beliefs that led to his dissent, a very unusual situation.
Judges usually do not - and are not supposed to - make public comments about their judicial decisions. Judge Olu Stevens of Kentucky was suspended for not only fighting racism in the courtroom, but also for making public comments about racism (even though the racism was apparent) of a white prosecutor.
Here is Judge Keith's 38-page dissenting opinion (you can use the keyword "dissenting" to find it within the pdf document starting with the majority opinion).
Here is how Judge Keith's dissenting opinion starts:
While describing the history of how the new law came about - and I encourage my readers to read the entirety of that account - Judge Keith, importantly, points out that, while the new law presupposes some literacy in providing the necessary information, help to illiterate voters by poll workers is prohibited by that same law:
Judge Keith points out that the standard of review on appeal in federal court is a "de novo" review of issues of law and mixed issues of law and fact:
Judge Keith then points out that the majority disregards the requirement of using the "totality of circumstances" approach in analyzing the disparate impact of the law on the right of the persons of color to vote, instead using what Judge Keith called a "piecemeal freeze frame approach", analyzing whether each one of the factors, taken separately, demonstrate a disparate impact - which is too much of a burden to meet, and is not required by law.
Judge Keith points out that the majority misinterpreted or misrepresented certain evidence in the case, applied a wrong legal standard to analyze the equal protection claim, fundamentally misrepresented and misapplied the disparate impact legal standard, disregarded the lower court's findings of the history of racial discrimination in voting in Ohio.
Here is Judge Keith's full conclusion about the majority's opinion:
Did Judge Keith use "the richness of his experiences" as a black person living in Ohio?
Judge Keith is, reportedly, a grandson of former slaves, and surely his family's "rich experiences" with slavery and then with racial discrimination, formed his world outlook.
Yet, the dissenting opinion of Judge Keith shows that the judge DID NOT use "the richness of his experiences" - or his family's - in that opinion.
Instead, he analyzed the majority's opinion under the law, and under the required standard of deference to the trial court's decision.
Here, the parties voluntarily chose an African American district court judge, Algernon L. Marbley,
to hold a bench trial, not a jury trial, in their case.
Then, a super-majority of white judges was appointed to decide the appeal from that case, and suddenly, all legal standards required to apply deference to the decisions of black judge were scrapped, and two white judges, acting, without authority, as trial judges instead of appellate judges, overruled the factual findings of a black judge.
All that Judge Keith's dissenting opinion was pointing out - as "impassioned" as the press called that opinion - was that the majority did not apply the required legal standard and did not afford due deference to the lower court's factual determinations, as they were required by law.
And that was a continuation of "white supremacy", now on the bench.
The "white supremacy" in the courtroom continues not only through Judge Olu Stevens' removal in Kentucky, and overruling of Judge Algernon Marbley's case by the super-majority of white judges in Ohio federal court who disregarded applicable legal standards and acted as trial judges instead of appellate judges.
In California, white female #judgeAnne-ChristineMasullo
is currently the target of a public defender's motion to recuse based on allegations of racial bias.
Judge Masullo is listed on the website of her court as a "Family Law" supervising judge:
Here is a review I found about Judge Massullo's practices in Family Court:
Yet, Judge Massullo, a career prosecutor before coming to the bench, was assigned to the criminal case against an indigent African American man for resisting arrest.
Judge Massullo, in a pre-trial ruling, prohibited the public defender to ask prospective jurors their opinions about the Black Lives Matter movements and the police brutality - which, obviously, would allow the prosecution to keep on the jury jurors with prejudice against African Americans and their resistance to police brutality.
While the case claims to be one of robbery or attempted robbery, there exists - thank God for cell phones - evidence showing a police officer punching the defendant while he was already in handcuffs and on the floor face-down.
Nevertheless, it was the defendant who was charged with battery on police officers and not the other way around.
The alleged robbery - conspicuously - was not charged, even though it was the trigger for the whole situation, and there are claims that the allegations of robbery were made by a passenger who insulted the defendant's pregnant girlfriend - and that defendant was unarmed and did not commit robbery.
By the way, in the state of Texas last year, the jurors were given questionnaires to answer in writing as to their opinions on the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality - while Judge Massullo prohibited a public defender in California to question prospective jurors about their opinions on the same subject even orally, during the jury selection (voir dire) stage of the criminal trial.
Knowing Judge Massullo's background as a career criminal prosecutor, as well as her reported stance on pushing people to settlements, is it her way to push the criminal defendant to reach an agreement with the prosecution, in view of the prospect of not being able to pick an impartial jury?
So, the "richness of experiences" of the nation's judges informing their decisions continues to boggle observers' minds.
What plausible reason could Judge Massullo possibly have, other than her personal bias and apparent desire, as a former career prosecutor, to help the prosecution, to block questions of a public defender to prospective jurors, in a criminal case against an African American involving police brutality, about their opinions on the movement of African Americans resisting police brutality?
I will continue to cover the subject how the "richness of experiences" based on judges' personal backgrounds "guide" their decision-making.
And how this nation's courtrooms are ruled by personal whim of judges, causing our democracy, as Judge Keith cogently stated, to "die behind closed doors".