"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.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The mercenary tell-all of Judge Posner and the silence of the "legal experts" about Posner's decades of misconduct, to the detriment of thousands of appellate litigants

Recently, a famous federal appellate #JudgeRichardPosner - famous for his proliferant writing and appearances outside the court for a number of decades - have published a book.

Of course, the question is, how a 78-old judge with a large caseload had the time to put together yet another book (he has published many while "serving" as a judge, begging the same question - where did he get the time?).

Writing a book is not a walk in the park, it is a full-time job.  Judge Posner somehow had many books published.  I already discussed on this blog the BIG public issue of where judges who publish books, teach outside the courtroom and make trips all over the country during business time of the court, get time to do that.

There is no question that such behavior takes away from their work as judges, the quality of opinions which they produce.

As to judges of federal appellate courts, which all developed a "policy" of reviewing only a small number of cases with full opinions, and to issue only summary orders for nearly 100% of pro se litigants, with no proper review, analysis and resolution of issues, BECAUSE the court is very busy and cannot use its precious time equally for all appellants, it becomes even a bigger issue.

Judge Posner was a federal appellate judge for 36 years, since December 1, 1981.

As Judge Posner confirms in his new book, he had authored plenty of article, "blog posts", and full-blown books while working as a judge:

" intellectual activity was never limited to the court; in my lifetime I have authored or coauthored not only many books but also countless articles and blog postings; and though many of the books and articles and blogs preceded my becoming a judge, a large number of them have been written and published since my appointment."

Posner, Richard. Reforming the Federal Judiciary: My Former Court Needs to Overhaul Its Staff Attorney Program and Begin Televising Its Oral Arguments (Kindle Locations 186-188). Kindle Edition.

And that is an understatement of the century.

Books published by Judge Posner are listed on Amazon on 12 pages - only lists of books.

Now, I do not doubt that Judge Posner is a very talented lecturer, teacher and scholar.

But, what I as a taxpayer and member of the public, am appalled about is that Judge Posner considered it possible to take enough time out of his full-time job as a judge to write that 12 pages of lists of books, to teach in all those schools (brilliantly, I do not doubt), to travel across the country, to make those interviews to the press and the media.

He had a full-time job as a judge on a court reviewing death penalty cases, and cases of constitutional violations by the government, his court, as other federal courts, repeatedly claimed to the U.S. Congress and the American public being overloaded and understaffed.

Yet, at the very same time,

  • he found enough time to write books, lecture, travel the country during his court's business time, and
  • his court unlawfully reduced appellate review of practically all pro se civil rights appeals, to summary orders -
when Posner was a judge of that court, and when Posner was the Chief Judge of that court, setting up the court's policies.

If judges do not have enough time to treat equally all of appellants who pay equal filing fees and have an equal right to a full review of their appeals, not a negligent fly-over-the-roof review, if any at all, through a summary order, like described in this law review article,

where do the same judges find time (for their own entertainment and financial gain), like Judge Posner did, to write books, teach for a fee, participate in various societies,

speak for a fee or travel to speak for free, but have his/her expenses paid + entertainment and lavish wining and dining?

It does not look like a little bit of corruption, it is corruption.

And Judge Posner was part of that corrupt setup for a very long time, doing NOTHING to change it.

So, why would now the 78-old judge who was appointed for life, would retire instead of (like practically all federal judges do) "assume senior status" and pretend he authors opinion when his law clerks do that for him, until he drops dead or until the court can no longer conceal that a certain judge has completely lost his mind to dementia?

Why would Judge Posner only now become this revolutionary and rubble-rouser and claim that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit discriminates against pro se litigants and "does not give them a fair shake"?

Like, he did not know it before?

Like, he did not PARTICIPATE in the discrimination before, and did not create, enforce and perpetuate this discrimination?

Oh, no.

Apparently, first, Judge Posner had a piss-off battle, some kind of a grudge with his colleagues on the court, and at 78, apparently decided that a federal pension + book royalties and speech engagements/teaching fees will be enough for him in his "sunset years".

Second, Judge Posner retired with a door-slam for a distinct financial reason - to sell his new book.  I bet it will be selling well now.

Of course, it is too little too late for Judge Posner to persuade the public that he truly cares about that same discrimination - because, if he does, and he knew about it for years while being on that court, he should have gone public about it while still there, while still being able to make a difference about it through court decisions, while voicing dissent about tossing appeals of pro se litigants through summary orders.

There is no question that there is a silver lining in Judge Posner's self-serving door-bang retirement jest:

  • he is a public figure of a caliber and renown who cannot be easily smeared by the court system for his criticism of the system's flaws;  
  • the discrimination against pro se litigants in state and federal courts, and in federal appellate court specifically, does exist, and public attention was drawn to it by Judge Posner, no matter how late and for what self-serving reasons.

But, let me ask a question - a rhetorical question.

What would Judge Posner do if, when he is still on the bench, an attorney practicing in "his" court would publicly raise the question of "his" court's discrimination against pro se litigants, and listing Judge Posner as one of the judges who are practicing that discrimination (which would be correct)?

I have no doubt in my mind that such an attorney would be severely disciplined and would likely lose his/her law license and livelihood.

As it is happening from time to time, with increasing frequency, around the country.

Because in our day and age only a well-renowned judge, and only on the doorstep of his retirement, can tell the truth about discrimination in our courts.

And only to sell a book.

That are my thoughts on the timing of Judge Posner's "revolutionary" retirement.

As to the contents of the book, I will publish a full review of the book later.

Stay tuned.

And actually, the best accuser against Judge Posner here is - Judge Posner:

So, for 35 years, this judge created, promoted, perpetuated and financially gained from the discrimination against pro se litigants as a matter of policy, including in a position of Chief Judge of his court who could do away with that discrimination, as a matter of policy and rule of court, in one pen strike.

And 6 months ago he somehow "awoke from a slumber of 35 years" and "wanted to do something about it".

Like - sell a book, for $11.99 in paperback, or for whatever dribbles in royalties from KindleUnlimited sales.

So, for the public, and for the "legal experts" who are salivating over the supposed brilliancy of Judge Posner while having no courage to address his screaming misconduct over the years - this judge deserves only one "badge":  shameless.

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