"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.

Monday, June 27, 2016

And the cashflow just got better - the U.S. v McDonnell SCOTUS case

On May 20, 2016 I ran a blog about the expected decision against Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

I said then, as I am saying now, that what the court was deciding was (1) a non-issue, but, since the court actually chose to decide that case, out of all cases, (2) it is very important to judges, personally.

The court was supposed to decide whether a mere quid pro quo is really corruption.

Appears like Governor McDonnell got a mint from a friend and cannot be blamed for it.

But, the "mint" was actually $175,000 in donations from a businessman for whom Governor McDonnell organized meetings and thus opened doors that would otherwise have remained closed.

And, lo and behold, the U.S. Supreme Court legitimized such "donations" to public officials in exchange for favors, as of today - that is amendment and annihilation of an anti-corruption federal statute through interpretation.

So, arranging for favorable treatment by public officials who are subordinates of the public official who is paid money to do the phone call, is not punishable as corruption.


As the court decision unrolled, I can envision lines forming of those who want to open the doors into offices of public officials, including U.S. Supreme Court judges, with their feet - because their hands are too busy holding gifts for favors, big and small, like the decision in Governor McDonnell's case.

That's how they did business from time immemorial.

But, at least, in time immemorial they did not have a Constitution and they did not have a court that spits on that Constitution by arranging for cash flow to continue an increase to corrupt public officials
at the time when America's economy is not at its best and when average Americans are financially struggling.

Or, maybe, it is because the economy is not at its best that the U.S. Supreme Court arranged for a sure channel of income for public officials.

So, now even if you catch a public official "arranging" a favor for a "benefactor", even for money, that will be "not unlawful" under U.S. v McDonnell.

Of course, to any reasonable person who is not a governmental official, that is a non-question.  Corruption is not just passing money from hand to hand, but passing "pleasantries", tangible and intangible benefits and favors.

So, as of today, Scalia's hunting trips would be legit.

I understand, corruption is so vast in this country that the U.S. Supreme Court got concerned that too many important hosters of hunting trips can be swept in, and all the freebies will be gone.

Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court does not have authority to LEGISLATE and to CHANGE a statute by interpretation.

And, of course, the U.S. Congress has the power to act and AMEND the Hobbs Act defining the punishable act to include what the type of favor that McDonnell did.

Whether the U.S. Congress will do that though, is a question.

After all, under U.S. v McDonnell, U.S. Congressmen may be paid LARGE amounts of money for NOT engaging in an official act of legislating - and that will not be corruption, according to the U.S. Supreme Court.

So - why bother?

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