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Archive for the ‘activist judges’ Category

Courts for sale

Posted by Charles II on March 2, 2014

Judith Resnik, NYT:

SHOULD wealthy litigants be able to rent state judges and courthouses to decide cases in private and keep the results secret?

The answer should be an easy no, but if the judges of Delaware’s Chancery Court persuade the United States Supreme Court to take their case and reverse lower federal court rulings outlawing that practice, corporations will, in Delaware, be able to do just that.

Posted in activist judges, corruption, judicial rulings, judiciary | Comments Off on Courts for sale

“Journalists” for hire: Groundswell as the right’s brain

Posted by Charles II on August 5, 2013

This came out ten days ago, but I missed it. Fortunately, so far the “journalists” are people recognized as being flagrant partisans. But having anyone in media collaborating with politicians to message is remarkable. The involvement of Judicial Watch, a tax-exempt group, in strategy sessions, should land them in hot water with the IRS. And having the wife of a Supreme Court Justice in the middle of it is disgraceful.

David Corn, MoJo:

Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner—has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for “a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation,” according to documents obtained by Mother Jones.

Dubbed Groundswell, this coalition convenes weekly in the offices of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal watchdog group.

One of the influential conservatives guiding the group is Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a columnist for the Daily Caller and a tea party consultant and lobbyist. Other Groundswell members include John Bolton, the former UN ambassador; Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy; Ken Blackwell and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council; Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch; Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum; Catherine Engelbrecht and Anita MonCrief of True the Vote; Allen West, the former GOP House member; Sue Myrick, also a former House GOPer; Diana Banister of the influential Shirley and Banister PR firm; and Max Pappas, a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Several conservative journalists have enthusiastically participated in Groundswell’s deliberations. In March, Mark Tapscott, the executive editor of the conservative Washington Examiner…

At another Groundswell gathering, according to the minutes, the members decided to ask Breitbart‘s Stephen Bannon to arrange for his media organization “to get senators on the record regarding their support [or non-support]” of the filibuster that GOP Sens. Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz were threatening to mount against the gun control bill. This suggested that the Groundswellers thought they could task Breitbart News to pursue a story that would be strategically useful for the group.

Groundswell has forged a particularly close relationship with Breitbart.

Posted in activism, activist judges, Media machine, Republicans acting badly | 1 Comment »

He wouldn’t hurt a fly

Posted by Charles II on August 25, 2011

What “chokehold incident?” She threw her neck into Prosser’s hands, he was just an innocent bystander. In the words of Norman Bates’ Mother: “Prosser wouldn’t hurt a fly.” –Perry Winkle, at ATAPM

Eric Kleefeld, TPM:

The special prosecutor appointed to investigate the alleged physical altercation at the Wisconsin Supreme Court — in which liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley accused conservative Justice David Prosser of grabbing her neck in a chokehold during an argument — has officially decided that no charges will be filed in the incident.

WisPolitics reports that Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett — a Republican who agreed to make a determination in the case after numerous officials in Dane County (Madison) had recused themselves…

At least we don’t have a double standard of justice in this country. If a Democrat is accused of wrongdoing, a Republican is appointed to investigate. And if a Republican is accused, then a Republican will do the investigation.

Bah. Charges like this by people like Barrett do not get filed unless there is substance to them. One can only hope that Prosser gets stopped before he hurts someone.

Posted in abuse of power, activist judges, Republicans acting badly | 1 Comment »

Those who make peaceful reimbursement impossible

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2011

Via ql at Atrios’s dive, KTUU-TV (MSNBC) reports that:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court gave corporations a major win Wednesday, ruling in a 5-4 decision that companies can block their disgruntled customers from joining together in a class-action lawsuit. The ruling arose from a California lawsuit involving cellphones, but it will have a nationwide impact.

In the past, consumers who bought a product or a service had been free to join a class-action lawsuit if they were dissatisfied or felt they had been cheated. By combining these small claims, they could bring a major lawsuit against a corporation.

But in Wednesday’s decision, the high court said that under the Federal Arbitration Act companies can force these disgruntled customers to arbitrate their complaints individually, not as part of a group. Consumer-rights advocates said this rule would spell the end for small claims involving products or services.

Breyer [dissenting] added that a ban on class actions would prevent lawyers from representing clients for small claims. “What rational lawyer would have signed on to represent the Concepcions in litigation for the possibility of fees stemming from a $30.22 claim?” he wrote. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined his dissent.

So, if companies cheat their customers for less than about $50,000 each (the approximate sum at issue that it takes to get a lawyer to represent you), no law applies and they’re home free. What do consumers have left to defend themselves? The five Justices who delivered this monstrosity are nothing better than criminals in black robes.

Posted in abuse of power, activist judges, Supreme Court, You're On Your Own-ership Society | 1 Comment »

The Siegelman crescendo

Posted by Charles II on January 19, 2011

Jim White reports that the essential final decision on whether Governor Don Siegelman is set free or continues to be jailed will take place Wednesday, January 20th:

When the definitive history of the dismantling of the system of justice during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in the United States is written, the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman will deserve its own chapter. The next episode in this sad saga will play out on Wednesday in a satellite courtroom for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Jacksonville, Florida. I will try to be in the courtroom for the oral arguments, but unfortunately, the Eleventh Circuit allows no electronic devices of any type in the courtroom, so I will have to take notes and then prepare a report from the notes.

The panel who will hear arguments is Gerald Tjoflat, J.L. Edmondson and James C. Hill, the same panel who heard the previous Siegelman appeal. They are described as experienced and respected, but were appointed by Republicans and are conservative. Note, for example, that Tjoflat was one of the very few judges arguing to keep Terry Schiavo alive.

Siegelman has been punished by what might well be called judicial attainder: activist judges making laws after the fact. We have watched the right not make any protest over this outrageous abuse of the courts over the course of five years.

Posted in abuse of power, activist judges, Don Siegelman | 2 Comments »

1. Corruption in the National Guard and 2. Justice DeLayed

Posted by Charles II on November 15, 2010

The Washington Spectator is an itty bitty four page semi-monthly (Lou Dubose, editor) that you can get for $15.

It’s worth a lot more.

From their lead story about corruption in government contracting, by Shawn Martin and Lou Dubose (by subscription):

“It’s a closed society, run from inside,” said a National Guard source who has been involved with the Guard for more than 20 years. “It’s the rabbits watching the lettuce. [Whistleblower Thomas Ubl’s] suit cracked it open….That’s why I am talking. The only thing that has the potential to change this right now is the [qui tam] lawsuit. It’s money. It would sting them. It’s reporters looking at a corrupt system.”

Basically, contractors hire retiring National Guard officers involved in procurement at extraordinary salaries, as well as their family members. For example, the wife of a procurement officer was hired at almost $60/hour.

Thomas Ubl filed a qui tam suit for false claims. The firm had agreed to settle with Ubl for $11M. But the DoJ forced the case to trial, where it managed to lose, despite the fact that there were some pretty obvious examples of false claims. The company, for example, produced a statutorily-required sheet for labor rates dated 2000, but conceded in court that the sheet was backdated. The company also had some interesting labor practices, paying the daughter of the owner for 394 hours of work she did not perform “to max out [her] 401(k).” The son was paid as a college graduate even though his only post-high school training was a five month National Guard course. The judge, Liam O’Grady, is of course a Bush appointee.

And, one would guess from his rulings, on the gravy train.

The other story of interest is that DeLay’s trial began in early November in Austin. He was indicted in 2005.

What was that saying about justice DeLayed is justice denied?

Posted in activist judges, Busheviks, corruption, Department of Injustice | 1 Comment »

Lies enthroned

Posted by Charles II on October 24, 2010

Perjuring oneself to get placed on the highest court in the land is an abomination in the biblical sense.

Robert Parry explains:

On Friday, former federal prosecutor Lillian McEwen, one of Thomas’s girlfriends in the 1980s, broke a long silence and confirmed that Thomas did engage in sexual harassment of women at work and did discuss pornography in the way that Anita Hill and other women described to the Senate during Thomas’s confirmation hearings in 1991.

During those hearings, Thomas angrily denied the allegations, calling them “a high-tech lynching.” Simultaneously, his right-wing allies mounted an aggressive campaign to destroy the credibility of Hill and other accusers.

The tactics worked. Thomas narrowly won Senate confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he has remained a reliable vote for every right-wing position that the justices consider.

However, it is now obvious that Thomas committed perjury as a necessary element of gaining his seat as one of nine justices on the Supreme Court – and only its second African-American. Though perjury before Congress is a felony, the Right appears to have suddenly lost its enthusiasm for demanding impeachment as the proper remedy for high officials caught lying under oath.

The sexual harassment was bad.

Lying about it was worse.

But lying about it in order to be able to judge–from the highest court– the truthfulness of others?

Clarence Thomas is an abomination, a lie enthroned, placed there by people calling themselves Christians, but very far from Christ in spirit.

Posted in abuse of power, activist judges, anti-truth, corruption, Supreme Court | 4 Comments »

The Nation’s Values

Posted by Charles II on May 1, 2010

So we have a clear picture of what the values of the United States are when it comes to terrorism:

Enter an e-mail account by knowing someone’s birthdate (allowing him to bypass all security) and publicize e-mails that are supposed to be accessible to the public on request (though not by hacking): 20 plus 1 years in prison (according to Wikipedia, this could be reduced to as little as 15 months).

Torture and even murder suspects: no punishment.

Ironically, Sarah Palin herself illustrates how unjust a punishment this was by likening it to Watergate. The sentences in Watergate, for multiple crimes (per Wikipedia):

  • Haldeman (conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice), 2.5-8 years, reduced to 1-4 years, served 18 months
  • Ehrlichman (conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice), 2.5-8 years, reduced to 1-4 years, served 18 months
  • Liddy (for conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping), 20 years commuted to 8, served 4

  • E. Howard Hunt(conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping), served 33 months
  • John Dean (coverup), 1-4 years, served 4 months
  • So, G. Gordon Liddy, totally unrepentant and uncooperative, involved in multiple crimes including the break-in at Daniel Ellsberg’s office got as severe a sentence as repentant, cooperative David Kernell may get for a single crime. Because of changes in the parole process, Kernell is likely to serve the full 20 years, while Liddy served 4 years. Because of changes in the latitude for judicial discretion on parole, Kernell is likely to serve a stiffer sentence than even Liddy, and will certainly serve more than John Dean. This is fair?

    And John Yoo, he’s guilty of nothing at all. Same for Dick Cheney, George Bush, and even the lower-level people who actually murdered suspects in cold blood.

    Let’s hope that the judge understands how grossly inequitable would be the result that Sarah Palin thinks is just.

    Posted in abuse of power, activist judges, Sarah Palin | 1 Comment »

    Some good news on Paul Minor and others

    Posted by Charles II on December 15, 2009

    Scott Horton writes:

    Federal prosecutors who brought a controversial corruption prosecution against trial lawyer Paul Minor and two Mississippi judges, Wes Teel and John Whitfield, suffered a one-two punch in federal courts this week. The result is that Minor, Teel, and Whitfield are now all likely to be freed.

    An opinion handed down in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans struck down convictions for bribery, finding that the charges, even if true, did not actually constitute a crime….The charges took the novel view that campaign contributions and campaign finance assistance can be viewed as bribes paid to judges. But this rationale was applied to only one side of the political ledger.

    This is how despicable the Republican-controlled justice system became. Democrats were judged to have accepted bribes simply for accepting campaign contributions, even though they could not be said to have done anything in return. Republicans were never similarly charged, as of course they should not be.

    The Southern courts are heavily stacked with Republicans, so the Appeals Court that is rectifying this case, as well as the Supreme Court which is likely to throw out other charges as unconstitutional, are Republican. Nor are the hands of the Obama Justice Department clean, though whether that is due to Monica Goodling hires or to Eric Holder is unclear.

    But the wrongful charges were brought by Republicans, tried by Republicans and wrongfully judged by Republicans. Paul Minor spent time in jail. His wife died while he was there, and he was prevented from being with her, even briefly, near the end by Republicans. There is a deep evil in what was done to him.

    By Republicans.

    Posted in activist judges, corruption, Department of Injustice, Don Siegelman, evil | 11 Comments »

    A good idea on campaign finance reform

    Posted by Charles II on September 7, 2009

    Ralph Lopez has an extremely good idea for campaign finance reform: force corporations to donate only within the districts in which they reside. This could get around the perverse Supreme Court ruling in Buckley v. Valeo (money = speech) that effectively legalized political bribery.

    A risk that Lopez doesn’t recognize is that poor districts could fall under the control of wealthy contributors inside their borders. However, if contributions up to $100 were allowed, that would break the monopoly.

    Still, the best idea for reform is public financing. While that hasn’t made politics in, say, Britain, truly representative, it has substantially removed them from the outright bribery that is blocking healthcare reform and plunging the nation into impossible debt.

    Posted in activist judges, corruption | 8 Comments »

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