"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, June 19, 2016

On adherence to "5-lawyer majority opinions" and the use of AEDPA in the State of Alabama - and in other states

An Alabama judge filed a lawsuit because he is upset.

He is upset for being investigated by disciplinary authorities for disobeying the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court precedent that legitimized same-sex marriage throughout the United States.

The judge calls that precedent a "5-lawyer majority decision".

And, apparently, thinks that such a "5-lawyer majority decision" cannot be binding law upon the judge when such a majority decision clashes with the judge's personal, including religious, views on homosexuality and marriage.

The interesting point in Judge Parker's opposition to "5-lawyer majority decisions" is that Judge Parker is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama who regularly sought the death penalty for criminal defendants, according to his own biography on the court's website.

And, as the Assistant AG, Judge Parker had to regularly oppose death penalty appeals and habeas corpuses where defendants routinely raised the issue that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

And, I am sure that Assistant AG Parker argued that there is no "5-lawyer majority opinion" proclaiming that the death penalty is unconstitutional, and therefore, the defendants must be executed.

But, when a "5-lawyer majority opinion" is now being used against Judge Parker, with a potential to bite him in the butt, then Judge Parker got on the white horse and is claiming that U.S. Supreme Court decisions are just a "5-lawyer majority opinion" nonsense.

Judge Parker's yoyo arguments in the death penalty cases and in his own case prove only one things - there is no such thing as the rule of law or independent justice when a long-time prosecutor and judge sends people to death based on authority of the same court that he rejects in his own disciplinary case.

What was good to send people to their deaths should be good to discipline a judge.

Shouldn't it?

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