"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.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The tide regarding judicial misconduct is turning - with law professors from elite law schools joining the fight

Absolute judicial immunity for malicious and corrupt acts on the bench was self-gifted by the judiciary to itself on the claims that such immunity - again, for malicious and corrupt acts on the bench - somehow protects judicial independents.

Well, the public never bought this crap, and it appears that the legal establishment starts to shift, too.

I wrote on this blog about a George Mason Law professor Ilya Somin who openly criticized the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor for her unconstitutional claim that she would make attorneys work for free in order to be entitled to earn a living at all, and who instead suggested the idea previously offered only by economists and legal bloggers like me - to deregulate the legal profession if regulation does not help, but instead hurts the public and contributes to the growing "justice gap".

That's the same George Mason school where professors rebelled against the law school's collective statement that the faculty is grieving the passing of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and opposing efforts to rename the school after Antonin Scalia, by taking an action through the faculty Senate - because of Antonin Scalia's misconduct that was revealed in his court decisions and in the press.

Now, a Stanford Law professor leads the efforts to take off the bench a just-re-elected judge Aaron Persky because of his unduly favorable decision in a rape case and demeaning of rape victims.

Law professor Michele Dauber delivered a petition to the California Commission for Judicial Performance. While the petition is asking for a "recall" of the judge, I wonder if the California Commission can simply take Persky off the bench for obvious misconduct.

In any event, it is clear that the issue of judicial misconduct, a recent taboo, an "unmentionable", is finally making front lines in mainstream media and is subject of petitions of law professors to recall judges because of their improper verdicts, as well as is causing national and international outrage is apparent that the tide toward judicial misconduct is turning.

Maybe, just maybe, with the help of social media that spread such news like a forest wildfire, we will not wait for long before legislatures and other government authorities in charge of judicial discipline, might have no choice soon but to make changes in judicial accountability rules and practices, at least not to be voted out of office.

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