"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.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Alabama follows Wyoming - and a new trend in judicial discipline is born, taking state judges off the bench, from low to high rank, for not following precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court

In an interesting move, Alabama suspended its Chief Judge Roy Moore for defying the precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding constitutionality of the gay marriage.

In that move, Alabama is following the example of the State of Wyoming where the judicial disciplinary board took off the bench Magistrate Judge Ruth Neely for doing the same as Alabama Chief Judge Roy Moore did - defying the U.S. Supreme Court precedent regarding constitutionality of gay marriage.

With the only exception that in Wyoming a low-ranking judge was taken off the bench, while in Alabama they dared to suspend and start removal proceedings against the Chief State judge - for defying a U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

Meanwhile, I have a long list of judges in New York state and federal court defying a long list of U.S. Supreme Court precedents, as I am sure, is happening in other states.

Those precedents they defy are not about gay marriage.

They are about retaliation for contents of protected speech, right to work and due process.

Since the tendency started, I suggest constitutional referendums in New York and other states replacing lawyer- and judge-controlled disciplinary boards for judicial discipline by citizen panels composed of citizens without any professional, social or familial ties to the legal profession or the judiciary.

Such panels can, for free, without any budgets, start reviewing non-compliance of the state judiciaries, with mandatory precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court on important civil rights issues.

I am sure people will be enthusiastic about the topic and no additional infusions from the budget will be needed for such an endeavor.

Which state will be the first?

I will surely ask the NYS Commission for Judicial Conduct to revise some of their decisions not to discipline certain judges, in view of the encouraging examples of judicial disciplinary boards in Wyoming and Alabama.

Way to go!

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