"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, September 26, 2016

Judicial review turned clerk review. Does the public need to know about the health of our public officials - at all?

The prominent legal blog "Above the Law" said "no", we don't need to know about the state of health of our U.S. Supreme Court Justices.  And did it in a playful way.

It says that nothing is to be gain from the knowledge of frailing health of our U.S. Supreme Court justices, 9 (now 8) people who wield tremendous power in this country.  And that somehow we will undermine public trust in the judicial system if we get to learn about the state of health of those who de facto rule this country.

Justice Ginsburg had two bouts with cancer and has a coronary stent? Doesn't matter.  She did surgery and chemotherapy without stopping to work.  She can do more push-ups than you can.  Of course, nobody saw that, and these "push-up" thingies are self-reported by Justice Ginsburg.  The same justice who recently lost herself so much that she lashed out at a presidential candidate and claimed she will emigrate if he is elected.  And that was in anticipation of a possible tie in presidential elections coming in front of her to hear.

So, when Ruth Ginsburg is not vetted by her law clerks, she can say pretty bizarre things - and that is exactly why the public should know about her real, and not self-reported, state of health.

And the same relates to other justices with coronary stents, not to mention those with grave chronic illnesses and on medications.

We recently learnt that the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had grave chronic illnesses, but we learnt about that only when his corpse was located in Texas under suspicious circumstances, and when his list of chronic illnesses was used to justify his instant "peaceful" death of natural causes, and deflect a murder investigation.

But, disclosing the list of Scalia's illnesses opened quite another can of worms - if he was that sick that he could instantly die at any time, how could he work as a judge, dealing with about 10,000 petitions coming to the court every year?  He wasn't reviewing those petitions, was he?  His clerks did his work for him, isn't that true?  So, the "decisions" by our septuagenarian, octogenarian and nonagenarian justices of all levels may be not THEIR decisions, but the decisions of their law clerks - people who were never appointed by the president and never confirmed by the U.S. Congress.

And that is an issue that is not so funny, as Above the Law is trying to portray it.

As to Scalia's diabetes, this country denies diabetic truck drivers a driving license - because sudden changes in sugar levels can cause hallucinations and visual distortions that can lead to deaths and injuries on the road.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and prevention, 48% of Americans from all age groups. on average, use prescription medications.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic, reportedly, put that use higher, at 70% across all age groups.

According to a nurse I talked to recently, who works for Medicare, practically ALL people of Medicare age, and that is 62 plus, are on prescription medications, one or more, and the nurse necessarily "surveys", through her work, a large cross-section of that population, and I have no reason to doubt her. 

Prescription medications always mean a possibility of side effects.  Often grave, and mind-altering side effects.

U.S. Supreme Court justices, and other state and federal judges, deal not only with driving their personal vehicles (if they do), but with death penalty cases, long terms of incarceration and other issues of people's constitutional rights.  How it is not important enough to know whether judges are healthy at the time they are making their decisions?

How is it possible that people in their 70s and 80s defy the reality of reduced energy natural for their age, defy the reality of physical and mental frailty that may be the result of their illnesses and medications necessary to treat those illnesses and keep soldiering on and dealing with a volume of work that is not possible for a young physically capable people in their prime to handle?

I will tell you how.

It is only possible when a person claimed to be working does not actually do the work the person is claiming to be doing, and when somebody else is doing that work.

Like law clerks.

But wait - we submit our petitions, as a matter of last resort, hoping against hope that it will be subject to JUDICIAL review, not to CLERK review by privileged youngsters handpicked by "committees" of prior law clerks.


So, yes, I would like to know whether the judge deciding my fate, and the fate of others, is sick, demented, weak, frail, or on mind-altering medication.

After all, the question whether a person is on mind-altering medications is a standard question in plea allocutions in the United States.

If a person cannot legally waive his constitutional rights when he or she is on mind-altering medications, a person surely cannot decide constitutional rights of others being on the same type of medications - or physically frail, or mentally unstable, or demented, or senile.

Not only we the People, the employer of the U.S. Supreme Court justices, DO have a right to know about their health, but we have a right to know minute details about their health.

Contrary to the brazenly dismissive letter that the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court sent to the public recently, stating, in one paragraph, that if judges think the public need to know, they will disclose the state of their health - otherwise they won't.

That's not their choice.  It is ours.

As to Chief Judge Roberts' behavior - try answering a question related to your ability to do your work to your employer like Chief Judge Roberts answered our question.

Remember, WE who pay Judge Roberts' salary, are his employers.

If this country has the rule of law and equal protection of laws, the same thing as would happen to you when you defy your employer, should happen to Chief Justice Roberts.


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