"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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The three unaccountable giant human rights violators - the U.S., Russia and China

It is truly a trick question - name one very large country that repeatedly engages in violation of human rights, nationally and internationally, and refuses to be held accountable by international courts.

It is the United States of America, the land of the free.

United States did not consent to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court or to the jurisdiction of the United Nations Court on human rights.

This way, the U.S. does not allow itself to be accountable for international war crimes - think Vietnam, think drone strikes on civilians, think invasion of Iraq on false pretenses and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians there, think Abu Graib, think Guantanomo, think using other countries for torture or assassinations of people by executive orders.

As to violations of human rights inside its own country, think starving inmates, think wrongful convictions and executions, think executions by torturous drugs, think police brutality, think social services' fascism, think judicial and prosecutorial misconduct, think blocking remedies for human rights violations at the very first level by a variety of judge-invented "immunities, abstentions" and other bars.   

And, think unavailability to Americans whose human rights are violated, such a remedy (available to people in other countries) as suing the United States in the United States human rights court where United States is participating in judging other countries for human rights violations, but does not allow to sue itself - by refusing to fully ratify the International Convention of Political and Civil Rights.

The other two large countries similarly engaged in violations of human rights and similarly refusing to consent to jurisdiction of international courts are Russia and China.

To be sure, until recently, Russia did consent to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.  That consent was part of being considered to join the European Union.

And, under the jurisdiction of ECHR, awards of the court against Russia would make many Americans who have suffered constitutional violations (which are violations of human rights) envious - because their claims are dumped, often with sanctions against the victims, and no similar remedy, such as ECHR, is available to Americans.

I wrote about ECHR and awards of ECHR against Russia and other countries giving complainants remedies for human rights violations that are unavailable to Americans.

Now such awards are unavailable to Russians, too.

Russia has followed our "land of the free" (made in its arguments not to ratify the International Convention for Political and Human Rights), and refused to comply with orders of ECHR - because, in the view of Russian government, such orders contradicted the Russian Constitution.

Of course, no Constitution (not Russian, not the U.S.) should allow human rights violations - which is what the U.N. human rights court and the ECHR are prosecuting - but that argument was lost in the avalanche of words justifying the unjustifiable.

And, the topic that led Russia to defy ECHR and refuse to consent to its jurisdiction is - guess what - an order of ECHR ruling that Russia violated human rights of its citizens by allowing spying (electronic surveillance) on them.

The sad irony of this is that Russia gave an asylum to Edward Snowden who has fled from the U.S. after leaking information that the U.S. was engaged in an identical human rights violation against its own citizen - and, of course, that human rights violation is not subject to judicial review of any international courts, the U.S. government has made sure of that.

And, after Snowden's leaks, no criminal proceedings were brought against any U.S. government officials involved in illegal surveillance of Americans.

Russia, China and the U.S. are fiercely implanting into their citizenry the ideas of patriotism and equate that idea with loyalty to the government - the same government that spies on its own people, violates their human rights and refuses to be held accountable by the victims or to give the victims access to international courts, for at least a chance for impartial review of their claims.

And while this remains the main problem of the country - no remedies for the human rights violations of the ever-growing government, the country is more involved in the entertaining circus of the forthcoming presidential elections, where most candidates are pushing for even bigger government - of course, for everybody's good.



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