Since we’re USA only right now I think it’s a good time to clear the air some. First off is the post title in quotes, which means it is a reader comment to the link I am about to drop but first.
There is no one commenter that has caused me more problems than our own Ashton O’Dwyer. Lifers understand why Slabbed welcomes Ashton here despite all the headaches. I’ll admit that I harbor a personal affinity for the man because, as the late Frank Davis would say he’s naturally N’Awlins. That does not mean I approve of his racial views, however, but some people get hung up on that part. That I can not help. Now to the jacking part.
Early on in the oil spill litigation Slabbed covered some of the problems I saw coming – heck one of our 2010 oil spill stories crossed over in a big way in fact. Due to the size and complexity of the topic and my epic legal battle with Aaron Broussard’s Goatherd there was no way I could take it on circa 2012 but luckily for everyone Jason Berry at American Zombie has tackled it and his body of work on the subject is very impressive. I mention this because Jason’s work has crossed over and this is the latest from the mainstream media:
Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
APPOINTING FEDERAL JUDGES A BAD IDEA!
Last week’s column discussed the election of judges and the undue influence of campaign funds. A number of responses suggested doing away with judicial elections, and following the federal path of presidential appointment. But is the appointive process really better than electing judges? Do citizens get better choices and more competent jurists? Not the way the system works at the federal level.
First of all, presidents do not really choose federal judges outside of the Supreme Court. At the district court and court of appeals levels, the president, as a general rule, defers to the choice of the state’s U.S. senators. If the president is a democrat, the democratic senator in the home state of the proposed appointee makes the recommendation. So to qualify in most states as a federal judge, it’s not what you know but whom you know.
There are no better examples of rank political persuasions over judicial choices than right here in my home state of Louisiana. As quoted in last week’s column, Huey Long said it best: “I’m all for appointin’ judges as long as I can do the appointin.” Cronyism has been the deciding factor in a number of federal appointees to the bench.
At the court of appeals level, incompetent judges have sparked a wave of concern and criticism. Because the U. S. Supreme Court is hearing fewer cases as each year goes by, the federal court of appeals is the last vestige of hope for any effort to overturn a lower court decision. Out of more than 10,000 appeals filed last year at the nation’s highest court, only 65 were even considered. The action is at the court of appeals level. And hands down, the worst such court in the nation sits right there in New Orleans.
Except as permitted by law, a judge shall not permit private or ex parte interviews, arguments or communications designed to influence his or her judicial action in any case, either civil or criminal. A judge may obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on the law applicable to a proceeding before the judge if the judge gives notice to the parties of the person consulted and the substance of the advice, and affords the parties reasonable opportunity to respond. Where circumstances require, ex parte communications are authorized for scheduling, administrative purposes or emergencies that do not deal with substantive matters or issues on the merits, provided the judge reasonably believes that no party will gain a procedural or tactical advantage as a result of the ex parte communication. A judge shall not knowingly accept in any case briefs, documents or written communications intended or calculated to influence his or her action unless the contents are promptly made known to all parties. Judges of appellate courts shall also avoid all actions or language which might indicate to counsel, litigants or any member of the public, the particular member of the court to whom a case is allotted or assigned for any purpose. Similar circumspection should be exacted on the part of court officers, clerks and secretaries.