On October 26, 2016, a well-known law professor Jonathan Turley made a presentation in front of 1300 federal Administrative Law Judges, and, in his report about that presentation, stated that he considers just 2.5 hours spent per an administrative appellate case a due process violation.
2.5 hours per appellate case = a due process violation
Let's remember that expert opinion.
And, with this number in mind, let's see how much time does the U.S. Supreme Court spend on review of one petition.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court's own admission on its website, takes "approximately" 8,000 petitions for writs of certiorari (final appeals) per year.
There are 365 days in a year and 24 hours in every day - that is indisputable.
365 x 24 = 8,760 hours in a year
Let's compare these two figures:
- There are 8,760 hours in a year;
- The U.S. Supreme Court receives 8,000 petitions a year, and
- The overwhelming majority of petitions are decided within the same year, often within months of when they were filed.
8,760 / 8,000 = 1.095 hours, or 1 hour 6 minutes that would have taken every U.S. Supreme Court Justice to review every filed petition if every U.S. Supreme Court justice would have used every minute of every day, 365 days a year, 24/7, for reviewing those petitions.
That's more than 1/2 of 2.5 hours spent on an administrative appellate case that Professor Turley said was already a due process violation.
But, justices of the U.S. Supreme Court do not and cannot physically use every second of every day to review petitions.
U.S. Supreme Court Justices have
When we factor all of it in, U.S. Supreme Court Justices - presumably - work per year:
365-10-(52*2)-65 = 186 days, 8 hours each day
186 x 8 = 1,488 hours
So, U.S. Supreme Court Justices have
1,488 / 8,000 = 0.186 of an hour, or, approximately, less than 1/5 of an hour, that is less than 12 minutes, to review, research and decide each of the certiorari petition, each coming to court with complex legal issues, several underlying court decisions, often reversing one another, after years of litigation.
12 minutes per petition.
Remember, Professor Jonathan Turley stated that 2.5 hours, which is 150 minutes per administrative appellate case, is such an inadequately short time reminding him of a conveyor in Detroit, and a due process violation.
12 minutes is 12.5 times less than that.
And, those 12 minutes do not take into account:
- cases reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of its original, not appellate, jurisdiction;
- review of briefing and oral arguments, legal research and drafting of final opinions for cases accepted for review;
- the judges' sick leaves - of course, Ruth Bader Ginsburg can claim that she was reviewing cases while undergoing cancer surgeries and chemos, but, first, it is unbelievable, and second, to me as a litigant that would constitute a problem - a review under surgery and/or chemo may suffer through the judge's, let's say, lack of concentration and energy;
- the time judges take for hobbies such as writing books and then advertise and promote them, including book interviews and book tours; and such as theater performances - and preparation for such performances;
- the time judges take during working days to attend private events.
For example, only recently, 6 out of 8 judges attended the ceremony of re-naming George Mason School of Law after the recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia.
The justices did not attend that ceremony during their 3-month vacation, but cut into their just-commenced new term, into their work time, into somebody's 12 minutes-per-petition time.
The ceremony was held on October 6, 2016, on a Thursday, in the middle of a business week. Justices who attended the ceremony - instead of doing their jobs - are:
- Elena Kagan
- Anthony M. Kennedy,
- Clarence Thomas,
- Stephen G. Breyer,
- Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. and
- Sonia Sotomayor
See picture posted on Twitter from the ceremony announcing attendance by 6 U.S. Supreme Court justices:
See the time stamp when the picture was posted - 2:10 p.m.
Chief Judge Roberts and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wisely did not attend.
Now, these "ceremonies" that have nothing to do with the jobs of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, but which "justices" attend, during their work time and despite the number of petitions that they cannot physically conscientiously review, analyze and decide already (including death penalty appeals), are not the only encroachment on the "justice's" time.
Justices also write books.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg just published a book on October 4, 2016, a 400-page book:
That is in addition to the time it took her to follow the news, give interviews as to her opinions
Also, here are books by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer:
I wonder when the justice got time to write those. If justices have so much time to write books, they cannot complain about crushing caseloads, can they? Apparently, they are writing books INSTEAD of doing the jobs taxpayers are paying them for - and need to be replaced by those who will actually do their jobs properly.
* * *
So, judges of the U.S. Supreme Court spend even less than 12 minutes per petition (186 days judges work per year, with 8 hours per day = 1,488 hours per year to read, research and resolve 8,000 petitions) given their important hobbies and trips.
According to various books published about law clerks of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices, such law clerks are mandated to work 80 to 100 hours per week, 7 days a week, no vacations, and are not allowed to stop working even during lunch breaks - for law clerks, a separate section of the cafeteria within the courthouse is devised so that they could continue working and discussing cases while eating.
That's 5,200 hours of work per year, 3.5 times more than the judges work.
Yet, we the litigants for whom the U.S. Supreme Court is the last step for JUDICIAL review of our long-suffering cases, expect JUDICIAL review, and not review by inexperienced youngsters who were not (1) nominated by the U.S. President and were not (2) confirmed by the U.S. Senate to decide cases of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have no authority to delegate decisions of cases, including the decision whether the court will or will not exercise its discretion to review a certain petition, to inexperienced privileged youngsters, no matter how well educated, who are NOT JUDGES OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT.
This is one of a book reviews on the book about U.S. Supreme Court Justice's law clerks traded on Amazon.com:
It does appear that, while Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court PHYSICALLY do not have enough time to properly handle their jobs and review their caseloads, it appears that they don't even attempt to do their jobs, instead unlawfully delegating their authority to privileged youngsters, the "Junior Supreme Court" as U.S. Supreme Court Justices "jokingly" call these house slaves, who make decisions to toss 99.9 per cent of cases and have the high court decide only cases from its "Echo Chamber" - the 66 lawyers, connected with the court, whose cases, according to Reuters, are repeatedly heard by the U.S. Supreme Court while others are tossed.
Those people whose certiorari petition, painstakingly prepared following punitive U.S. Supreme Court rules that are designed to block people from filing meritorious cases with the U.S. Supreme Court - and to give judges more time for their worthy pursuits, such as book-writing, theater, white-water rafting and hunting trips with high-ranking litigants - we the average Joes and Janes whose petitions are tossed not even by judges, but by the "sorcerer's apprentices", never even know the names of those people who decided our fates.
Let's face it.
There is NO U.S. SUPREME COURT in this country.
There is NO RIGHT OF JUDICIAL REVIEW in that court.
With cases decided by young law school graduates instead of judges - there is no JUDICIAL review in that court - unless you are "connected" with judges through prior clerkships, hunting trips or through other social connections.
12 minutes per petition per judge is NOT judicial review.
Law clerks deciding cases is NOT judicial review.
In the U.S. Supreme Court, there is no impersonation. Yet, there is no physical possibility for judges to conduct review of petitions and records, and do research in the less than 12 minutes they have during the year for each petition on their caseloads, so there is no avoiding of the fact that it is law clerks and not the U.S. Supreme Court justices who make decisions as to which cases they review and which they toss (save for those cases which come from "their own", connected attorneys and parties, the "Echo Chamber", and the trip sponsors).
Senator Cruz recently came up with a brilliant idea that the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court emptied with the death of judge Antonin Scalia, can remain empty.
I would say that if all other 8 seats are emptied, it will only be better for this country - the way the High Court operates.
A lot of savings for taxpayers who would not need to pay for the posh marble palace, the over 2 million dollars in salaries of judges alone per year, the enormous amount of money for salaries to maintain and provide security for that building - where 9 people (now 8) do nothing for a lot of money of our money, and do something for a little extra for the connected attorneys and parties.
A marble palace that,
- for over $2,255,100 in salaries of judges per year ($260,700 for the Chief Justice and $249,300 per each of 8 associate justices) and
- for over $3,182,000 in salaries for clerks per year (approximately $86,000 per each of 4 law clerks per each of 9 justices, 5 law clerks for the Chief Justice) , not even counting the benefits that go with the salaries, and the salaries and benefits of the support and security personnel of the U.S. Supreme Court - decide 80 cases per year, and
- with a marble building worth many millions of dollars; and
- with a multi-million budget for support staff.
The court is a huge waste for the American people.
That, of course, is not the position of the U.S. Supreme Court justices, for example, Justice Anthony Kennedy testified before the U.S. Senate, asking for MORE money for the U.S. Supreme Court and claiming that the court is the absolute joy and pride of the American people and an example of the rule of law in this country.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. CHAIRMAN. CONGRESSMAN BISHOP, CONGRESSMAN WOMACK.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND GREETING TO JUSTICE BREYER AND TO ME, AND WE BRING OUR MESSAGES OF GREETING FROM OUR COLLEAGUES.
WITH US TODAY I'LL JUST GO IN THE ORDER OF WHERE THEY'RE SEATED, ARE JEFF MINIER, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT -- OR COUNSELOR TO THE CHIEF JUSTICE. AND KEVIN KLINE, OUR BUDGET AND PERSONNEL DIRECTOR.
AND PAM, THE MARSHAL OF THE COURT.
SCOTT HARRIS, WHO'S THE CLERK OF THE COURT.
AND WE -- IS PATRICIA HERE WITH YOU? WE HAVE KATHY AND PATRICIA FROM OUR PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE.
AS YOU INDICATED, MR. CHAIRMAN, WE'RE ALWAYS VERY CAREFUL, VERY CAUTIOUS ABOUT BUDGETARY EXPENDITURES.
AS YOU WELL KNOW, AS THE COMMITTEE WELL KNOWS, THE BUDGET OF THE SUPREME COURT IS A VERY SMALL PART OF THE BUDGET OF THE COURTS AS A WHOLE.
AND THE BUDGETS FOR THE COURTS OF A WHOLE IS A VERY SMALL PART OF THE UNITED STATES BUDGET.
AND I THINK A DAY YOU WILL HEAR PRESENTATION FROM JUDGE JULIA GIBBONS OF THE SIXTH CIRCUIT ON THE BUDGET FOR THE JUDICIARY AS A WHOLE.
AND THIS IS OF IMMENSE IMPORTANCE.
SHE DOES A MARVELOUS JOB FOR THE JUDICIARY.
SPENDS MANY DAYS AND WEEKS ON THIS SUBJECT.
AND THE BUDGET FOR THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY AS A WHOLE, IT'S IMPORTANT, I THINK, FOR THE CONGRESS TO REALIZE, IT ISN'T JUST JUDGES.
THERE ARE 7900 PROBATION AND PRESENTENCING OFFICERS.
AND THIS IS COST EFFECTIVE BECAUSE THIS KEEPS PEOPLE ON SUPERVISED RELEASE.
SO THAT THEY'RE NOT IN CUSTODY, WHICH IS COST SAVING. AND OVER THE YEARS, IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM, WE HAVE A VERY LOW RECIDIVISM RATE FOR OUR -- FOR THOSE WHO ARE ON RELEASE.
IT'S HIGH IF YOU LOOK AT IT AS ONE-THIRD BUT QUITE LOW COMPARED TO THE STATE. SO, THIS IS COST EFFECTIVE.
AND THE FEDERAL COURTS AS A WHOLE, MR. CHAIRMAN, ARE A TANGIBLE, PALPABLE, VISIBLE, CLEAR MANIFESTATION OF OUR COMMITMENT TO THE RULE OF LAW.
WHEN PEOPLE FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES COME, AS JUDGES OFTEN COME, AND THEY SEE THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND THEY ADMIRE IT.
THEY'RE INSPIRED BY IT.
AND THEY GO BACK TO THEIR COUNTRIES AND SAY THAT THIS IS A NATION THAT'S COMMITTED TO THE RULE OF LAW.
AND LAW IS THE CAPITAL INFRASTRUCTURE.
YOU CAN'T HAVE A FREE ENTERPRISE WITHOUT A FUNCTIONING LEGAL SYSTEM. SO WHAT YOU DO IS OF IMMENSE IMPORTANCE, AND WE APPRECIATE IT.
AS TO OUR OWN BUDGET, AS YOU INDICATED, MR. CHAIRMAN, OVERALL, WE HAVE A DECREASE IN OUR OWN COURT OPERATIONS AND EXPENDITURES.
WE HAVE ALMOST EXACTLY A 1% -- A LITTLE OVER 1% INCREASE.
AND THAT IS FOR MANDATED INCREASES FOR INFLATION AND SALARY INCREASES THAT ARE MANDATED.
AND OVER HALF OF THAT, WE HAVE ABSORBED BY COST CUTTING IN THE COURT.
SO, WE'VE ABSORBED OVER HALF OF THE MANDATED INCREASES IN THE EXISTING FRAMEWORK THAT WE HAVE.
THE COURT IS PLANNING TO HAVE, IN THE YEAR 2016, AN ELECTRONIC FILING SYSTEM SO THAT ALL OF THE PAPERS THAT ARE FILED WITH THE COURT WILL BE ON ELECTRONIC FILING.
WE WAITED, IN PART, TILL THE DISTRICT COURTS AND CIRCUIT COURTS COULD GET ON THAT SYSTEM SO THAT WE COULD THEN TAKE IT FROM THEM.
BUT OF COURSE THIS INCLUDES FILINGS FROM STATE COURTS AND FROM PRISONERS.
WE THINK THIS MAY REQUIRE AN INCREASE IN PERSONNEL BY ONE OR TWO PEOPLE.
WE'RE NOT SURE.
THE PRO SE PETITIONS, OF WHICH THERE ARE -- I DON'T KNOW.
PROBABLY IN THE AREA OF 6,000 A YEAR.
ARE USUALLY HANDWRITTEN, PRISONER HANDWRITTEN.
WHEN THIS IS PUT ON ELECTRONIC RETRIEVABLE SYSTEM, YOU WILL HAVE A DATABASE FROM WHICH SCHOLARS AND ANALYSTS CAN LOOK AT THE WHOLE CRIMINAL SYSTEM, BOTH STATE AND FEDERAL AND MAKE COMPARISONS, HOW MANY -- WHAT ARE THE PERCENTAGE OF CASES WHERE THERE'S A COMPLAINT ON INADEQUATE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL OR SEARCH AND SEIZURE.
AND SO THIS WILL BE A DATABASE THAT WILL GIVE US CONSIDERABLE DATA FOR SCHOLARS SO THAT WE CAN -- SO THAT WE CAN STUDY OUR SYSTEM."
And so on, an so forth.
THIS is a supposedly "brilliant legal scholar" who takes just 12 minutes to make a determination which complex legal issues should or should not occupy the court's "valuable time".
Justice Kennedy can barely put two words together! He is "not sure" about facts that he uses as a basis for his funding request.
If you come to a bank to ask for a loan, and you mumble the way Kennedy did in the U.S. Senate, you will be politely told good bye, with no money given.
All that Kennedy says is some clichés about "the rule of law" in this country - while the same justice undermines that same rule of law by delegating his own duties to a bunch of overworked nameless youngsters.
Kennedy's mumbling testimony raises real questions as to his capacity, competence and energy levels to remain on the bench - as well as who makes "his" decisions in court for him.
Justice Kennedy is on the court for a very long time, and knows how the court operates very well.
Had Justice Kennedy had the residual level of integrity, he should have honestly told the U.S. Senate:
- our court CANNOT PHYSICALLY handle the caseload we have;
- we DELIBERATELY delay introduction of the e-filing system;
- we DELIBERATELY require petition filers to satisfy the costly and unnecessary requirements of our Rule 33, so that less people would file cases with the court;
- we DELIBERATELY allow law clerks to decide which cases we review and which we don't because there is not enough time in the year for the number of judges on the court to meaningfully review all petitions that are filed;
- We need to change that if we are seriously talking about the rule of law and the right of judicial review through the U.S. Supreme Court.
But, that is not what Justice Kennedy said.
Justice Kennedy said that the U.S. Supreme Court
(where as we know, judges spend 12 minutes, if they spend any time at all, on certiorari petitions, 12.5 times less time than what Professor Turley believed to be a due process violation in review of federal administrative appeals, or where the judges, rather, let their secret "Junior Supreme Court" decide cases)
is an ideal of how a court should operate, and an envy to all other countries, that's why Justice Kennedy needs more money for the court to continue to decide 80 cases per year for connected attorneys in the Echo Chamber, likely before or after private trips for judges sponsored by the parties and/or their attorneys.
Since the 18th century when the U.S. Supreme Court was first impaneled, the country's population has changed dramatically, the literacy levels grew, caseloads in lower courts and number of appeals grew, it is now, according to my calculations, 55 TIMES more people in the U.S. per one U.S. Supreme Court Justice than it was at the time the U.S. Supreme Court was first impaneled.
So, a 21st century U.S. Supreme Court Justice does 55 less work for the country than the 18th U.S. Supreme Court Justice did, with a lot more income, power and privilege - which makes no sense at all.
The U.S. Supreme Court is not pride, joy or envy in the national or international community.
At this time, the U.S. Supreme Court,
- the self-serving way it operates deciding cases without disqualification for its own employees and its own benefits (note that Justice Kennedy in his recently testimony to Senate called the court's Marshall 'Pam', while she was appearing in front of the court as an opponent to a petition for the writ of certiorari - decided, without a recusal, in her favor) without a code of conduct that all other attorneys and judges in the country have,
- the games legislators undertake to put in "their own" U.S. Supreme Court justice after Scalia's death - even though all candidates for a U.S. Supreme Court seat should be equally competent, impartial, and decide cases on the merits (if that was really happening, nobody would be interested in the nominating game)
is turning into a laughingstock in the national and international community and a tremendous waste for us taxpayers, if you consider that for the budget of several million dollars per year the court reviews and decides just 80 cases per year, for friends or in high publicity cases.
We do not need this marble circus.
If we do need a U.S. Supreme Court, the one provided by the U.S. Constitution, to ensure that it operates in a way providing MEANINGFUL JUDICIAL review, review BY JUDGES and not by unknown inexperienced youngsters from privileged families, law clerks picked by previous law clerks (according to published books about law clerks, they are picked by "committees" of prior law clerks, practicing attorneys appearing in front of U.S. Supreme Court).
In order for the court to provide meaningful judicial review, we need to scrap the way it operates now top to bottom, and to change the number of judges, the filing system, the life term guaranteeing to the people not independence of judges, but corruption with impunity and waste of public money over nomination fights.
We need to DROP the salaries of U.S. Supreme Court judges.
We need to leave each judge with one law clerk, for research purposes only.
We need to set strict rules for law clerks, such as a 5-day-a-week 8-hour working day, which would discourage judges from using such law clerks as substitute judges.
We need to demand TIME SHEET accountability from such judges, displayed to the public for each day of the judge's work - to make sure that judges write their books, go on their speaking tours and teach in law schools during their spare time, not at the time they have to decide cases.
In Tennessee, a judge is currently being prosecuted in a disciplinary proceedings for leaving the courtroom early - and adjourning a hearing that left a man in pre-trial detention - to speak to schoolchildren.
As to the U.S. Supreme Court, the whole country appears to admire the judge's leaving their office in the middle of their business day in order to attend a "dedication", re-naming of a law school, in exchange for a large private donation, to be now named after Judge Antonin Scalia, who died under mysterious circumstances suggesting corruption by a party in litigation.
Why the double standard?
Why anybody else who leaves their jobs without permission gets sacked, and U.S. Supreme Court justices don't.
Aren't they those with the "crushing caseloads".
Aren't they those who already have only 12 minutes per petition in the entire year, so they should not take an extra trip to the bathroom, much less to a "dedication ceremony" in order to do their job properly.
We also need the judges of the U.S. Supreme Court - as well as in all other courts - to be prohibited to rule on cases while undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation therapy - due to obvious inability of people to have the necessary level of energy and concentration to make life-changing decisions for people and for the country - as Ruth Ginsburg did.
There is no doubt that, while Ruth Ginsburg was undergoing surgeries, chemo and radiation therapy, we had her clerks deciding cases instead of her.
We as citizens have a right to know the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court, and whether at any time any judges are physically or mentally unable to serve - at all times.
We need to require judges to disclose their disabilities - it is as important for us the citizens of this country to know whether the President who holds his finger on the Big Red Button can be physically or mentally disabled to properly handle that button, as it is important for us to know whether judges of the top court who may be holding their fingers on the Big Red Buttons of our lives are physically and mentally capable to do that.
We need to introduce legislation imposing severe punishment on judges, including criminal punishment, for deciding cases in which judges have personal interest, and to prohibit judges to accept "sponsored" trips of contributions from parties or attorneys of any kind.
We need to make sure that the entire review process in the U.S. Supreme Court:
- preliminary review of petitions and records and decisions whether to take the case;
- review of briefs;
- oral arguments;
- research of legal issues involved;
- drafting of judicial opinions
is done by JUDGES THEMSELVES, not their clerks.
Those are JUDICIAL tasks, not tasks for apprentices, and litigants applying to the U.S. Supreme Court, the court of last resort and of last hope, are entitled to JUDICIAL review, not review by law clerks.
- When this country's economy is not so great,
- when many taxpayers are hurting,
- when people are losing homes if they cannot pay taxes,
- when people are put in prison for not paying federal taxes,
public officials of all levels must be held CRIMINALLY accountable when they float around during their taxpayer-funded business time, or waste those taxes on activities unrelated to their job duties.
80 cases (mainly for their own connected attorneys or parties or for publicity circus cases) decided per year in a marble palace by a bunch of self-important people for millions of dollars of our money, while spending 12 minutes, if any time at all, to toss MOUNTAINS of people's petitions where 12 minutes is not enough to even read each case, much less research and decide it, is too much of a luxury for us as a country, for us as taxpayers, to allow to continue.
We have other pressing needs in this country than to throw money away on this marble circus.