"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Harvard Law Library must return Scalia papers to the public

It has been recently announced that the family of the deceased U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has magnanimously decided to give it to the Harvard Law Library, Scalia's alma mater, and to supervise public access to these papers:

Of course, no mention was made that "Nino" was caught practically with his pants down, at a rancho with personnel speaking only Spanish (not to understand anything that was said by important guests in English, presumably), and where he arrived, on Valentine's Day weekend, without his wife of 55 years, mother of his 9 children.

Nor was it mentioned that "Nino" arrived (or his body was brought after death) to that rancho right after his privately sponsored trip to Hong Kong and Singapore.

In other countries, public officials are not allowed to have gifts in kind in the form of privately sponsored international trips - but in the U.S., SCOTUS judges consider themselves Gods with no authority over them, and do whatever they want.

It was reported also that Scalia's family will be supervising public access to records generated by Scalia during his taxpayer-funded tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It is very apparent that Scalia's family has no authority to:

  1. have access to the SCOTUS papers that the public is not allowed to see;
  2. regulate public access to such papers.

Moreover, materials regarding Scalia's tenure on these two courts will reportedly not be available for access through Harvard Law School - and that is NOT the equivalent of public access - until 2020, and materials regarding specific cases will not be available until all participating judges die off

Right now we have 8 remaining judges, many of them quite young, and life expectancy of U.S. Supreme Court judges is towards the 90s.

That decision means that several private individuals, the so-called "Scalia family", without any authority, blocks access to public records created by a public servant as part of his taxpayer-backed job during not only the remaining lifetime of the currently sitting justices, but during the remaining lifetime of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, voters and taxpayers, which is completely unacceptable.

The decision of the Scalia family (and some of Scalia's children are lawyers) to not embarrass the sitting judges of the U.S. Supreme Court by exposing the "kitchen" of how the SCOTUS decisions were cooked - as likely reflected in Scalia's papers, "notes" and "journals" about cases - "notes" and "journals" that the Scalia family, who are not employees of the court, already saw - has no basis in law.


Public servants, and their families, no matter how high their rank, have no right of ownership whatsoever as to documents created as part of or in connection with Scalia's employment as a judge, no right to place such records into the hands of private corporations, such as Harvard Law Schools, no right to place records outside of the reach of the public, into a private institution, no right to supervise or control who and how accesses the record, and no right to block access to those records to prevent potential embarrassment of the currently sitting judges.

Harvard Law School must put these public records into the Library of the U.S. Congress, as a public receptacle of public records, maintained with public funds and giving access to the public to review records created by public servants during their publicly funded jobs.

These records have ALREADY been made public, by Scalia showing them to its family who are not confidential employees of the U.S. Supreme Court, and by the Scalia family placing those records into the hands of Harvard Law School librarians, who are also not confidential employees of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since such documents were already exposed to people who are not personnel of the U.S. Supreme Court, they were made public - and should be kept in a public library and free public access to them should be allowed.


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