"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.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Federal appellate #judgeIlanaRovner is "subconsciously" "guided" by her "Jewishness" in her decision-making

Meet the 79-year-old judge Ilana Rovner, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit:

In reaction to president Obama's nomination of a Muslim to a federal bench (possibly, a first in the United States), this Jewish judge stated that "she believes judges are guided in their decision-making by every facet of their lives, 'maybe even subconsciously.'

I wonder what is that supposed to mean.

A Jewish judge is "guided" by her Jewishness, a Muslim judge will be guided by his Muslim culture, as the U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonya Sotomayor will be a "wise Latina woman", guided by the "richness of her experiences"? And, a white judge will be guided by his or her white culture, and a black judge will rule based on his black culture, etc. etc. etc.

What about principles of neutrality, equality under the law and objectivity?

This is what Judge Rovner thinks when she decides a case:

Now, did Judge Rovner's "Wait a minute, I'm Jewish" thinking caused her to claim at the end of July, 2016, that gay people are not protected against discrimination in the work place under the civil rights law?

Did Judge Rovner tell the U.S. Congress at her second confirmation hearing in 1992, for the position of a federal appellate court judge, that she was GOING to be "guided" by her ethnicity or religion in her judicial decision-making?

Or in 1984, at the confirmation hearing for the position of a federal district court judge?

Apparently, not.  Otherwise, she wouldn't have been confirmed - because "Jewishness", or any other cultural, ethnic, or religious "background" may not influence judicial decision-making.

Actually, Judge Rovner's confirmation was, according to her own admission, "a breeze", with no "litmus tests" -

so nobody actually asked (or dared to ask?) Judge Rovner a question whether she will be guided by her being Jewish, and if she was so asked, there would have been a storm in the media about anti-Semitism against a Jewish judicial candidate.

While all along the question was very reasonable and real - because, according to her own admission now, Judge Rovner IS "guided" in her judicial decision-making by her Jewishness.

Or, did Judge Rovner tell the U.S. Congress that she is going to practice medicine on the bench without a license?  That she and her colleagues will "diagnose" a lawyer as "lying" because he did not come to a hearing because he was vomiting from a stomach bug - the only confirmation of that "lying" being that the lawyer, who was sick and vomiting, did not go to a doctor to confirm that he was vomiting?  And was suspended because he was vomiting and sick, because the court deemed it as lying and failure to properly represent his client.

What bothers me is also the timing of Judge Rovner's revelation that she uses her Jewishness in her decision-making - at the time when President Obama nominated a Muslim to the federal bench.

The following questions spring up because of this revelation, and the timing of the revelation by Judge Rovner:

1) Does Judge Rovner consider being guided by her Jewishness as proper for purposes of judicial decision-making?

2) Does she assert, by the timing of her revelation, that:

    a) all judges are guided by their ethnic and/or religious backgrounds in the judicial decision-making?

    b) the Muslim judge, if nominated, will be so guided by his Muslim background and cultural and religious heritage in his decision-making?

Because if she does, that looks as a not-so-subtle inciting against such a nomination, at the time when the country is swept by divisive comments of irresponsible politicians, and when Muslims Americans already do not feel welcome in their own country.

I see a lot of anti-Muslim sentiments on Facebook, for example.

Some people, and intelligent people, too, are openly making anti-Muslim statements.  One person demanded to unfriend that person if that person's anti-Muslim sentiment's are not shared.  (I did.  I do not accept bigotry of any kind.)

So, now Judge Rovner, after having been confirmed "as a breeze", without any questions asked whether she was going to use her Jewishness in her judicial decision-making (as she admittedly does now), is actively hinting to the public and authorities in charge of nomination and confirmation of the first Muslim judge that judges do use their background in their judicial decision-making.

To me, it is an active hint at a "legitimate" double-standard that exists in American courts - certain type of biases, but not others, are legitimate.

A judge is ok to consider her "Jewishness" in her judicial decision-making - or else the press will scream Anti-Semitism.

A judge is ok to consider his Latino roots and experiences of himself and his family members as possibly illegal immigrants, in his judicial decision-making against a person who criticized illegal immigration from Mexico, the judge's parents' native country (whether the criticism was fair or unfair, and especially when it was unfair) - or else the press will scream impropriety, racism and bigotry.

But, it is dangerous to appoint a Muslim judge who may - theoretically, hypothetically - consider his Muslim heritage in his judicial decision-making?

That's what Judge Rovner is hinting at in her ripe old age?

Apparently, Judge Rovner needs to retire.  Yesterday.

It is my firm belief that NONE of ethnical, cultural, or religious background MAY be considered in judicial decision-making.

It is the law, and the facts - and that's it.

It is not about the judge's OWN background, the judge is not a party, or a witness in the case, and the judge's background should have NOTHING to do with the case or the judge's decision in that case.

Whether the judge is Latino, Muslim, African-American, Caucasian, Native American, Chinese or of any other ethnicity.
That said, nominating a law partner from the giant firm Latham & Watkins,

a law firm that is practicing all over the country in federal courts, whether he is Muslim or not, is a very questionable move for the President.

Because, naturally, Latham & Watkins will not stop practicing in their own law partner's court - and there will be a big problem with appearance of impropriety.

Well, at least judges - when they become old and senile, at least - start coming out of the closet and give people a retrospective views of what they are guided by in their decision-making.

How many parties and attorneys will come forward now to make motions to vacate Judge Rovern's decisions and to recuse Judge Rovner because they were guided by her "Jewishness"?

I won't hold my breath.

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