On October 26, 2016, a well-known law professor Jonathan Turley made a presentation in front of 1300 federal Administrative Law Judges, and, in his report about that presentation, stated that he considers just 2.5 hours spent per an administrative appellate case a due process violation.
2.5 hours per appellate case = a due process violation
Let's remember that expert opinion.
And, with this number in mind, let's see how much time does the U.S. Supreme Court spend on review of one petition.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court's own admission on its website, takes "approximately" 8,000 petitions for writs of certiorari (final appeals) per year.
There are 365 days in a year and 24 hours in every day - that is indisputable.
365 x 24 = 8,760 hours in a year
Let's compare these two figures:
- There are 8,760 hours in a year;
- The U.S. Supreme Court receives 8,000 petitions a year, and
- The overwhelming majority of petitions are decided within the same year, often within months of when they were filed.
- 5-business-day workweeks (that's 52 weeks times 2 weekend days),
- a 3-month vacation, July 1st to September 30, for 91 days, 13 weeks/65 workdays,
- 10 federal holidays per year, as all federal employees,
- 8 hour working days.
- cases reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of its original, not appellate, jurisdiction;
- review of briefing and oral arguments, legal research and drafting of final opinions for cases accepted for review;
- the judges' sick leaves - of course, Ruth Bader Ginsburg can claim that she was reviewing cases while undergoing cancer surgeries and chemos, but, first, it is unbelievable, and second, to me as a litigant that would constitute a problem - a review under surgery and/or chemo may suffer through the judge's, let's say, lack of concentration and energy;
- the time judges take for hobbies such as writing books and then advertise and promote them, including book interviews and book tours; and such as theater performances - and preparation for such performances;
- the time judges take for "reimbursed travel" - it has been reported that justices of the U.S. Supreme Court took 1,009 trips in the 10 years from 2004 to 2014 while they were supposed to use every 12 minutes of their valuable time to review and decide yet another petition for a writ of certiorari;
- the time judges take during working days to attend private events.
For example, only recently, 6 out of 8 judges attended the ceremony of re-naming George Mason School of Law after the recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia.
The justices did not attend that ceremony during their 3-month vacation, but cut into their just-commenced new term, into their work time, into somebody's 12 minutes-per-petition time.
The ceremony was held on October 6, 2016, on a Thursday, in the middle of a business week. Justices who attended the ceremony - instead of doing their jobs - are:
- Elena Kagan
- Anthony M. Kennedy,
- Clarence Thomas,
- Stephen G. Breyer,
- Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. and
- Sonia Sotomayor
See picture posted on Twitter from the ceremony announcing attendance by 6 U.S. Supreme Court justices:
See the time stamp when the picture was posted - 2:10 p.m.
Chief Judge Roberts and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wisely did not attend.
Now, these "ceremonies" that have nothing to do with the jobs of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, but which "justices" attend, during their work time and despite the number of petitions that they cannot physically conscientiously review, analyze and decide already (including death penalty appeals), are not the only encroachment on the "justice's" time.
Justices also write books.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg just published a book on October 4, 2016, a 400-page book:
That is in addition to the time it took her to follow the news, give interviews as to her opinions
- about Trump's potential election and the need to flee to New Zealand (with subsequent retraction) - despite the possibility of a Trump v Clinton case coming in front of Justice Ginsburg, and her opinion
- about how allegedly stupid Kaepernick is for "taking the knee" to the national anthem (with a subsequent retraction - where Ginsburg, once again, blurted out an opinion on the case that can come in the future in front of her, with a subsequent retraction, making one think whether Justice Ginsburg is altogether mentally, whether she can control herself and whether she can be truly impartial;
- her sleeping episode at the State of the Union address in January of 2015, and
I wonder when the justice got time to write those. If justices have so much time to write books, they cannot complain about crushing caseloads, can they? Apparently, they are writing books INSTEAD of doing the jobs taxpayers are paying them for - and need to be replaced by those who will actually do their jobs properly.
- for over $2,255,100 in salaries of judges per year ($260,700 for the Chief Justice and $249,300 per each of 8 associate justices) and
- for over $3,182,000 in salaries for clerks per year (approximately $86,000 per each of 4 law clerks per each of 9 justices, 5 law clerks for the Chief Justice) , not even counting the benefits that go with the salaries, and the salaries and benefits of the support and security personnel of the U.S. Supreme Court - decide 80 cases per year, and
- with a marble building worth many millions of dollars; and
- with a multi-million budget for support staff.
If you come to a bank to ask for a loan, and you mumble the way Kennedy did in the U.S. Senate, you will be politely told good bye, with no money given.
Kennedy's mumbling testimony raises real questions as to his capacity, competence and energy levels to remain on the bench - as well as who makes "his" decisions in court for him.
Had Justice Kennedy had the residual level of integrity, he should have honestly told the U.S. Senate:
- our court CANNOT PHYSICALLY handle the caseload we have;
- we DELIBERATELY delay introduction of the e-filing system;
- we DELIBERATELY require petition filers to satisfy the costly and unnecessary requirements of our Rule 33, so that less people would file cases with the court;
- we DELIBERATELY allow law clerks to decide which cases we review and which we don't because there is not enough time in the year for the number of judges on the court to meaningfully review all petitions that are filed;
- We need to change that if we are seriously talking about the rule of law and the right of judicial review through the U.S. Supreme Court.
So, a 21st century U.S. Supreme Court Justice does 55 less work for the country than the 18th U.S. Supreme Court Justice did, with a lot more income, power and privilege - which makes no sense at all.
The U.S. Supreme Court is not pride, joy or envy in the national or international community.
- the self-serving way it operates deciding cases without disqualification for its own employees and its own benefits (note that Justice Kennedy in his recently testimony to Senate called the court's Marshall 'Pam', while she was appearing in front of the court as an opponent to a petition for the writ of certiorari - decided, without a recusal, in her favor) without a code of conduct that all other attorneys and judges in the country have,
- the games legislators undertake to put in "their own" U.S. Supreme Court justice after Scalia's death - even though all candidates for a U.S. Supreme Court seat should be equally competent, impartial, and decide cases on the merits (if that was really happening, nobody would be interested in the nominating game)
In order for the court to provide meaningful judicial review, we need to scrap the way it operates now top to bottom, and to change the number of judges, the filing system, the life term guaranteeing to the people not independence of judges, but corruption with impunity and waste of public money over nomination fights.
We need to DROP the salaries of U.S. Supreme Court judges.
We need to leave each judge with one law clerk, for research purposes only.
We need to set strict rules for law clerks, such as a 5-day-a-week 8-hour working day, which would discourage judges from using such law clerks as substitute judges.
We need to demand TIME SHEET accountability from such judges, displayed to the public for each day of the judge's work - to make sure that judges write their books, go on their speaking tours and teach in law schools during their spare time, not at the time they have to decide cases.
In Tennessee, a judge is currently being prosecuted in a disciplinary proceedings for leaving the courtroom early - and adjourning a hearing that left a man in pre-trial detention - to speak to schoolchildren.
As to the U.S. Supreme Court, the whole country appears to admire the judge's leaving their office in the middle of their business day in order to attend a "dedication", re-naming of a law school, in exchange for a large private donation, to be now named after Judge Antonin Scalia, who died under mysterious circumstances suggesting corruption by a party in litigation.
Why the double standard?
Why anybody else who leaves their jobs without permission gets sacked, and U.S. Supreme Court justices don't.
Aren't they those with the "crushing caseloads".
Aren't they those who already have only 12 minutes per petition in the entire year, so they should not take an extra trip to the bathroom, much less to a "dedication ceremony" in order to do their job properly.
We also need the judges of the U.S. Supreme Court - as well as in all other courts - to be prohibited to rule on cases while undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation therapy - due to obvious inability of people to have the necessary level of energy and concentration to make life-changing decisions for people and for the country - as Ruth Ginsburg did.
There is no doubt that, while Ruth Ginsburg was undergoing surgeries, chemo and radiation therapy, we had her clerks deciding cases instead of her.
We as citizens have a right to know the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court, and whether at any time any judges are physically or mentally unable to serve - at all times.
We need to require judges to disclose their disabilities - it is as important for us the citizens of this country to know whether the President who holds his finger on the Big Red Button can be physically or mentally disabled to properly handle that button, as it is important for us to know whether judges of the top court who may be holding their fingers on the Big Red Buttons of our lives are physically and mentally capable to do that.
We need to introduce legislation imposing severe punishment on judges, including criminal punishment, for deciding cases in which judges have personal interest, and to prohibit judges to accept "sponsored" trips of contributions from parties or attorneys of any kind.
We need to make sure that the entire review process in the U.S. Supreme Court:
- preliminary review of petitions and records and decisions whether to take the case;
- review of briefs;
- oral arguments;
- research of legal issues involved;
- drafting of judicial opinions
- When this country's economy is not so great,
- when many taxpayers are hurting,
- when people are losing homes if they cannot pay taxes,
- when people are put in prison for not paying federal taxes,
80 cases (mainly for their own connected attorneys or parties or for publicity circus cases) decided per year in a marble palace by a bunch of self-important people for millions of dollars of our money, while spending 12 minutes, if any time at all, to toss MOUNTAINS of people's petitions where 12 minutes is not enough to even read each case, much less research and decide it, is too much of a luxury for us as a country, for us as taxpayers, to allow to continue.