"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.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Loyalty over the law and reason: Magistrate John Primomo, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, teaches new citizens that love of the government is the pre-requisite for staying in the country

A Texas federal magistrate judge, Judge John Primomo, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, a licensed attorney and sworn officer of the court since 1977 (for 39 years)

a public official sworn to protect the U.S. Constitution, including its 1st Amendment, reportedly told the new citizens - at a citizenship ceremony that if they don't like Trump, they should just leave the country, because "Trump is [their] President".

The statement was improper and misleading on many levels.

First, Trump is not YET their president, President Obama is their president now.

Second, a pledge of citizenship is not a pledge of loyalty to the government.

Last time I checked, We the People is the collective popular sovereign of this country, and the president of the United States is an elected public servant, subject to removal from office for unfitness or misconduct.

So, whoever is the president of the United States, nobody has an obligation to like him in order to remain a citizen of the United States or to live in the United States.

For a federal judge who deals, on a daily basis with civil rights lawsuits directly related with interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, such a public statement of a federal magistrate is downright scary - and, in my opinion, constitutes evidence of unfitness of Magistrate John Primomo to be a judge, or a licensed attorney, because he does not understand the oath of office he has made

  • 39 years ago, when he was licensed to practice law in Texas;
  • 38 years ago, when he was licensed to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas;
  • and 28 years ago, when he became a magistrate judge.

I understand what Judge Primomo was doing - he was publicly announcing his loyalty to the new president.  Yet, the pledge of allegiance is a little bit premature - since President Trump is not in office yet - and does not involve misleading other people into believing that their citizenship depends upon liking the current president-elect.

If for a judge who decides civil rights cases against the government, loyalty to the government is a pre-requisite of citizenship and even being within the United States, such a judge should be immediately disqualified from all civil rights lawsuits.

Which, of course, will never happen.

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