In 1974, an inmate was
- stripped of good time credits,
- put into solitary confinement,
- a record of disciplinary misconduct was created against him -
- the American Inns of Court (providing for free travel of SCOTUS law clerks who de facto decide cases while judges of the court travel for speeches, write books and otherwise entertain themselves);
- State-Federal Judicial Councils, a secret-membership quasi-judicial organization that was designed to "relieve tension" between state and federal courts brought, obviously, by civil rights litigation (where state judges appeared as defendants in civil rights lawsuits in front of federal judges - in other words, the organization serves to fix federal civil rights cases behind closed doors, in secret consultations between state and federal judges - which, on retirement, one of state participants in such "Council", the retired (attorney licensing) judge Thomas Mercure freely admitted:
- appellate advocacy;
- ethics and complex civil litigation;
- alternative dispute resolution services, including mediation and arbitration.
- dismiss such pro se civil rights lawsuits of inmates (convicted of a crime) and pretrial detainees (presumed innocent) for human rights violations during incarceration/detention;
- certify for the appellate court that the appeal from their own decision will be frivolous; and
- impose an anti-filing injunction if the inmate dared to file such a "frivolous" lawsuit three times.
"The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, is a U.S. federal law that was enacted in 1996. Congress enacted PLRA in response to a significant increase in prisoner litigation in the federal courts."
The U.S. Supreme Court, in 2006, openly admitted that the PLRA was designed to decrease prisoners' civil rights litigation in Woodford v Ngo:
" Congress enacted the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), 110 Stat. 1321–71, as amended, 42 U. S. C. §1997e et seq., in 1996 in the wake of a sharp rise in prisoner litigation in the federal courts, see, e.g., Alexander v. Hawk, 159 F. 3d 1321, 1324–1325 (CA11 1998) (citing statistics). The PLRA contains a variety of provisions designed to bring this litigation under control. See, e.g., §1997e(c) (requiring district courts to weed out prisoner claims that clearly lack merit); §1997e(e) (prohibiting claims for emotional injury without prior showing of physical injury); §1997e(d) (restricting attorney’s fees)."
Notice that the top court of the country, the final destination for Americans to review their human rights violations
(because of the provision in human rights treaties ratified by the U.S. that they are not "self-executing", Americans cannot go outside their country to international judicial forums, like the United Nations Human Rights Council or the European Court of Human Rights)
required the states not to look into WHAT CAUSES the "sharp rise in prisoner litigation in federal courts" as to the reasons for the sharp rise of prison population in the U.S. (which is the highest among civilized nations), the prison conditions and human rights violations in American prisons - but simply to suppress that litigation, "bring it under control".
The district courts were instead charged by the U.S. Congress to act practically as advocates for the state and federal executive branch of the government in such litigation in their task of "weeding out prisoner claims that clearly lack merit" - that, for courts who are mostly populated by judges/former prosecutors, would include every single prisoner lawsuit.
I have written here about the details of that particular statute and how it cuts off human rights complaints by prisoners completely, as well as about is unconstitutionality (that holds up only because no attorney would dare to challenge it, for fear to lose his/her license and livelihood).
That was not the first "cut my workload, there are too many civil rights cases" legislature federal courts asked from the U.S. Congress which the U.S. Congress obliged to give them.
In 1925 it granted such a request of the U.S. Supreme Court and changed its review of all incoming petitions from mandatory to discretionary, thus making the U.S. Constitution discretionary for application by the states:
" The Judiciary Act of 1925 (43 Stat. 936), also known as the Judge's Bill or Certiorari Act, was an act of the United States Congress that sought to reduce the workload of the Supreme Court of the United States."
See - an easy solution to the rise of human rights violations in the country (because of increased population - the freed slaves and the incoming immigrants fleeing the 1st World War in Europe and the Russian revolution): just cut the oxygen, refuse to review the majority of petitions, and the "sharp rise in litigation" will just die.
A great solution, especially considering that "ministers of justice", judges, asked for it, isn't it?
A recently retired federal appellate judge Richard Posner has published a whole book describing how federal courts discriminate against pro se civil rights litigants - including a mention that pro se appeals in federal courts reviewed not by judges, but by law clerks, and judges give only a several-minute overview of their clerks' recommendations as to how to decide this or that case (of the entire massive appellate records, which is impossible to read in that span of time).
Moreover, Judge Posner portrayed the procedure of review by federal appellate court as considering any pro se litigant as practically feeble-minded, illiterate, low-status person not worthy of a real and full judicial review, but only by review of judicial assistants, clerks.
By the way, going back to Wolff v McDonnell , the start of this article - courts now require all class actions to be represented by a licensed attorney, thus foreclosing any class actions by inmates like those helped by Robert McDonnel to file a class action against the Nebraska prison system.
- belong to,
- incorporate into themselves (as "organized bars" - I wonder, why the history of such incorporation is not taught in law schools, eh?),
- get money from for their elections and otherwise (see Inns of Court, Judicial Councils and other "exercises in civility") and control speech of - about themselves, the 1st Amendment be damned,
- demand that all candidates into that branch of the government must necessarily have several years of good grace from the current corrupt members of that branch - being "attorneys in good standing";