"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.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The poor "forcibly" retired judge Lack, member of judicial pay-raise commission, advocate of elderly judges

Retired judge, and now simply a private attorney James Lack, according to, retired as of 1/31/2011, and draws a "pauper's" pension of $99,078 per year, with benefits.

In 2015 James Lack was appointed to a panel deciding judicial pay raises - instead of elected legislators - which is unlawful per se.

As part of his "service" to that panel, James Lack engaged in the following lamentations about - guess what - age discrimination against poor New York State judges (by the way, until that "discrimination" concerned state judges, state judges happily applied judicially invented "tiers" of review where age discrimination is on the bottom, with a "rational basis" test).

Here is one of his lamentations at the December 7, 2015 "public hearing" before the Commission, you can read the full transcript of this hearing here, and transcripts of the other two hearings, of December 2, 2015 and December 14, 2015, respectively, here and here. 

Imagine the misery of "having" to retire from an "underpaid" position with a full pension of $99,000 a year or more, not counting benefits, and ability to work as a "judicial hearing office" and/or private attorney, coveted by any law firm with a do-nothing-just-be-there job paying $250 or more per hour!

And imagine the misery of having 20% of New York judiciary "having" to retire over the next 4 years because they reached the age of 70 or 75 years of age.

I understand, there is absolutely no young blood among the 400,000 licensed attorneys in New York, so that the same slow-paced seniors should handle the "fast-paced" New York courts in 20% of cases, that is every 5th case!

And, pouring in the young blood into the judiciary is now called - by one of the "forced retirees", of course - a 19th Century constitutional provision.

I agree that certain provisions pertaining to judiciary - like the concept of absolute judicial immunity for malicious and corrupt acts on the bench, or the concept of "service" for life, or for 10-year or 14-year terms, are very "19th century", and that judgeships should become a rotational duty of every citizen, paid on a cheap per diem basis without any benefits.

That would be 21st century to me as a taxpayer and litigant, and that will at least start to detract from the perceived omnipotence and impunity of judges, as well as will undermine the well-entrenched culture of judicial corruption, which the Commission is part of.

I also got a kicker out of how two private attorneys, Cozier and Lack, called each other "Judge Cozier and Judge Lack".  I guess, this omnipotence and impunity is so attractive that one cannot peel the "judgeship" off long after "forcible" retirement.

Or is it dementia?

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