Monday Music: Ashton’s getting some traction.

If you think about it folks this really is an elite group: James Gill, Jason over at AZ and me. I’ll add that Mr Letten has been shown lots of tough love in the comments here on his handling of the local political corruption scandals though I have a far more moderate viewpoint there.  But in AROD’s case there is no excuse folks.  And the local AUSA that did the dirty work on the appellate level for Team Letten is up for a lifetime appointment on the 5th Circuit.  Hopefully somebody in the Senate will ask for an explanation.  I think the public deserves one.

H/T Editilla on today’s musical selection.

sop

15 thoughts on “Monday Music: Ashton’s getting some traction.”

  1. Lifetime appointments must come to an end. Some polling should be done among both lawyers and the general public to see what percentage approves of lifetime appointments. It's what Tom Porteous used to say, "For life, baby."

  2. No one should be appointed to any position for life. Doing this makes them immune from doing their job correctly and keeps them above the law. We have far to much of that for temporary positions that seem to become lifetime due to the outside influence of BIG MONEY!!!!

  3. I invoke "fair use."

    It is time to reconsider Article III, Section I of the Constitution, which gives federal judges lifetime appointments. I know, I know, this is sacred territory. And the Framers both carefully considered judicial tenure and eloquently defended the term of good behavior for judges in Federalist 78 and a refusal to impose age limits for judges in Federalist 79. Permanent tenure was a bulwark against legislative and executive encroachment and improper influence and was an incentive to get the most fit and skilled individuals to leave lucrative practices to join the judiciary.

    But lifetime tenure also skews the impact of each appointment, giving a president the temptation to pick young ideologues who will leverage the presidency for many decades thereafter. And lifetime tenure increases the stakes of each appointment, making tough battles tougher, encouraging the use of more hardball tactics and giving opposition parties more reasons to block as many appointments of a president as they can, to leave these lifetime plums open for a president of their own.

    The arguments for lifetime tenure are not as powerful as they were back then. Nowadays, given that federal judicial pay is about the same as that of a second-year associate at a major law firm, lifetime tenure as a judge is not quite the same lure as it was in the 1780s. And while lifetime tenure does insulate judges from pressure from Congress, the president, attorney general or other officials, a long-term fixed appointment could easily provide comparable insulation.

    My first cut at this would be to leave the Supreme Court as it is, with lifetime appointments; there are few enough appointments, and the system can easily handle the infrequent, knock-down, drag-out battles. But I would recommend a 12- or 15-year appointment for lower court federal judges.

    These appointments would be nonrenewable, to take away the pressure on the judges in the last year or two of their terms to shift their opinions to conform to the desires of the president or his party. For relatively young people, it would be possible to serve and then build a capital base for children and grandchildren. For older people, it could be a capstone for a career. For presidents, appointments could be made without the temptation to go young to solidify your legacy for even longer.

    IT IS TIME TO END LIFETIME APPOINTMENTS!!!!

  4. Sock puppet , Editilla and Wayne, Argee 100% .The supposed reasoning behind lifetime appointments, to protect against having to collect campaign funds from parties who later the judges might feel beholden to, is the BIGGEST BS ever dreamed up by some of our early constitutional fathers.

    To all the corrupt federal judges and those awaiting appointment – you may be lifetime but you are not ETERNAL lifetime – Go to HELL BABY for eternity, you Pharisees bastards with no purgatory pray outs for you that is if you believe in that BS too.

  5. Wayne, I got your message. I talked with Ashton over the weekend….I'm going to meet with him and possibly interview him on cam. His story has my attention, I just haven't been able to wrap my head around it until now. Thanks.

  6. As if the Federal Courts don't homecook. The difference is that no state court judge has a free-ride for life. I agree there is homecooking everywhere, but you are deflecting attention from the main issue, which is this antiquated, nonsensical process of giving lifetime appointments.

  7. Sock : How about a State and Federal review every so many years based on the number of reversals a higher court has to remand back to a lower court. For every reversal by the next higher court the greater the penalty which would prevent a higher court from giving their possible brotherhood friends on a lower court a free ride cause their ass would be on the line to a greater degree.

  8. "As if the Federal Courts don’t homecook." – Sock Puppet 10/25/11

    I just had to offer the following in support of that statement.

    While working as a paralegal for the plaintiffs in a large toxic-tort class action lawsuit, I took a phone call one day from the Federal Judge presiding over that case. The Federal Judge had called our law office to speak with my boss who wasn't in the office. The Federal Judge was so frantic that he decided to speak with me so I could then locate my boss and pass on the Federal Judge's message.

    The Federal Judge was frantic because my boss (the Federal Judge's dear friend) had filed a supplemental and amending petition in the case that named several new chemical companies and insurance companies as defendants. One of those new defendants was now represented by a law firm that also represented the Federal Judge's wife in an auto accident tort suit. This created a serious conflict for the Federal Judge.

    In his ex parte phone call to our office, the Federal Judge instructed me to tell my boss that we (the plaintiffs) had to dismiss that particular defendant before all the other defendants found out. The Federal Judge said he was certain the other defendants would have him recused from the case. The other defendants had previously filed numerous motions to remand this toxic-tort class action back to state court – that's how badly they wanted out of this particular Federal Court.

    So, my boss and his co-hort (the Federal Judge's former law clerk) concocted a pleading saying we had no evidence against the particular defendant, and moved to dismiss.

    I have an ethics complaint pending with the ODC, complete with documents, pleadings, memos, etc.

  9. NAAS, you could not possibly be referring to CF, RH, and E"T"D?

    I agree with you, and it does not matter whether it's state or federal court, plaintiff or defense; this kind of home cooking (as referenced by nolalon) happens all the time.

    HellsSpeed has a good idea, but I think all judges have to have term limits. There needs to be a grass-roots effort to end lifetime appointments.

  10. Yes, Calvin C. Fayard, Jr., Judge Richard T. Haik, Sr. and Elizabeth "Tuppy" Dougherty.

    The case eventually settled for $28+ million. The attorneys received 52% of the funds in costs and fees. Some of those "case costs" included airfare, lodging and meals for the Fayard wedding on Nantucket, trips to Aspen and Telluride, Colorado, etc.

    Somebody even talked the "class counsel" into setting up a seperate fund from which to pay Tuppy Dougherty's costs in defending against my ethics complaint. I believe that qualifies as waiving the confidentiality of that proceeding.

    In fact, Tuppy is back working the same case (settled in 2004) trying to get the "opt-out reserve" of $2 milion paid to the class counsel. The defendants had set up the opt-out reserve in the event anyone who originally opted out of the settlement might want to re-join.

    Somehow, Fayard, et al. convinced Special Master Pat Juneau that, since none of the opt-outs has filed any suit since 2004, then their claims are prescribed. Haik signed an order accepting the recommendation of Juneau.

    I'm no lawyer, but I believe these are people over whom that federal court has no jurisdiction because they officially removed themselves from the class by opting out of the settlement.

    There were about 200+ defendants in that case. So, there were about 100 defense lawyers working the case. The defense counsel set up a web site so they could discuss the case and post documents, etc. Well, a certain plaintiff attorney was able to get the password, etc. to access that defense counsel web site.

    More on that later…

  11. With all this talk about judges and improper relationships, i have a question. Should a judge recuse himself from a case if the defense counsel is sometimes hired by the judge as a special master? I am currently involved in a case where the judge said on the first day of testimony

    "i don't know the law, and usually when i get a case like this i hire attorney xyz to instruct the court, but i can't do that in this case because attorney xyz is counsel for the defense"

    We planned to file a motion to recuse this judge, but when i told my attorney of some issues i wanted brought up, certain statements by the judge which would show his bias and disregard of the law, she said that it had been "edited" from the record. This judge is well known to readers of slabbed.

  12. NAAS: Your complaint involves ex parte communication through a third party but that is not surprising. I've seen enough ex parte communications in the halls and Judge's chambers of U.S. District Court to know the Judges have no fear of prosecution. I hope you are successful in your complaint but don't hold your breath for penalties or impeachment which is really what should ideally happen.

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