"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

"When a federal judge gets angry, he must be placated"?

I wrote this week about misconduct of federal judge Garaufis who had the audacity of claiming that when a law firm sent a 3rd year associate to a conference with him instead of a law partner, that was disrespectful and even insulting to the judge.

It was, once again, judicial misconduct pure and simple - as a judge does not get to say which one of the attorneys from a law firm hired to represent a client gets to appear in court, it is for the client and for the law firm to decide.

Moreover, the judge who was unhappy that an associate appeared in front of him, is not unhappy when the government sends recent law school graduates in criminal or civil rights cases, and, where the same court has licensed the associate in question as qualified to practice law in that court, no judge could find it "insulting", as a matter of law, when the attorney licensed by that court actually came to practice in that court.

After a storm of unfavorable comments in the media about Judge Garaufis, the following, reportedly, transpired:

1) Facebook (the client) and the law firm APOLOGIZED to the judge who committed misconduct;

2) the, judge, reportedly, partially apologized - sort of, only that he did not mean to criticize the associate:

and yes,

3) "everybody are friends again".

Yet, what Judge Garaufis said as part of his "apology" is a prime example of the judge's (intellectual) dishonesty, a big issue of public concern:

An "inference" "achieved through the media" that the judge was ever "upset at" the associate was "totally unfounded"?


One needs a lobotomy to take this kind of bogus at face value.

What kind of "inference" anyone, including "the media", needs to interpret these words:

And, it is definitely not only the matter of being "upset at" the associate, it is the matter that the judge behaves as a cantankerous and spoiled brat in need of appeasing by treating the "court" as another type of "court" - as in "King's court", and requiring lawyers to be "courtiers" required to appease the judge.

That is all that is wrong with the U.S. judicial system - the "culture of quiescence", the "scraping and bowing" of attorneys in front of judges, "or else".

The "friendship" cost Facebook to the tune of $3,000 per hour per each of 3 (by other accounts, 5) partners who appeared at the "apologetic" conference.

So, Judge Garaufis' self-respect apparently has a price-tag on it - $15,000.00 per hour for conferences (for 5 lawyers), plus travel expenses for lawyers to come to a conference in front of Judge Caraufis from as far as California.

Or, does Judge Garaufis have behind-the-scene agreements with law firms to throw tantrums when associates, with cheaper hourly rates, and not the more expensive partners, appear in front of him?

Maybe, Facebook can afford such a costly - and unnecessary - apology, but a usual American litigant who cannot afford an attorney in the first place, surely cannot.

But, what I find the most alarming of it all is the conclusion that a supposedly reputable legal blog "Above the Law" draws from all of it - maybe, with a "tongue in cheek", maybe not so much: "when a federal judge gets angry, he must be placated".


A federal judge should be treated as a capricious prima donna when he throws a tantrum?

Not impeached and taken off the bench for misconduct - if that anger is as displaced as Judge Garaufis' was?

One interesting thing is - that the judge who is supposed to be independent from the outside influence, even mentioned the "inferences by the media", and apologized nearly immediately after a storm of criticism in the media and social media.

But, the criticism continues.

Here are some more comments about the situation:

and, in a more "courtly" language:

When a client sends a lawyer to court, it is the client's not the judge's choice who the client sends.

No apologies for the choice of lawyer needed.

What is needed is discipline - or, better, removal of Judge Garaufis.

He forgot one portion of his oath of office - that there are no titles of nobility in the United States.

Not even for cantankerous federal judges.

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