SLABBED (not exactly) Daily – August 5, 2010

On a slow news day – or a day when it’s not so hot – any one of these stories could take an entire post to cover.  However, today is neither and without going further, here is news you can use:

Making a diagnosis of “improper influence” requires a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. Not only is it unrealistic to think we can eradicate all judicial biases, instincts, leanings or interests, however termed, but it is also unwise. We want our judges to live in the real world, so that they can bring their life experiences and common sense to the table when deciding cases. Judges must remain “partial” to some influences, therefore, like the case law, and controlling statutes, and perhaps even basic standards of decency and morality, too. As The New York Times recently cited, former Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s view on recusal was that if a justice’s mind was “a complete tabula rasa” in relevant respects, it “would be evidence of lack of qualification, not lack of bias.”

While I hope you’ll follow all the links, but by all means, read this opinion post on recusal from Law.com.

  • Staying with matters of public policy for the moment, let’s talk unemployment rates. Online news is filled with stories like this about the uptick in unemployment rates – and all appear to have been written by someone clueless about the issue.

Here’s a clue – anyone reporting on the increase should start by defining “seasonal”.

Nearly five years after Hurricane Katrina — and against the backdrop of a national recession and a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — the New Orleans region is poised to rebuild communities that are safer, more sustainable and more economically robust than before the storm, an analysis released today by a partnership of local and national think tanks shows.

Reaching that goal, however, will require reversing a number of troubling trends that continue to retard the region’s progress, including reliance on a handful of stagnant industries, a wide gap between the rich and poor, and a high crime rate, according to “The New Orleans Index at Five”, a project of the Washington-based Brookings Institution and the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center.

  • There’s nothing “seasonal” about Mississippi’s two vacant U.S. Attorney positions – but Main Justice provides the comfort of knowing both positions are also vacant  in neighboring Arkansas is in a similar position.

While I feel the Mississippi vacancies are due, in part, to finding a candidate without a tie to USA v Scruggs, it should be noted that both Mississippi and Arkansas share the distinction of having a high profile potential Republican candidate for President.

  • And, then, there’s this lighter note – “lighter” unless you, too, have been frustrated when traveling two-lane highways with slow moving traffic (a fairly regular event in my life). Check out Huff-Po’s China Plans Huge Buses That Can DRIVE OVER Cars and be sure to take a look at the photo.

6 thoughts on “SLABBED (not exactly) Daily – August 5, 2010”

  1. Of course we want the judge to have some “real life” experience, but your “particiality philosophy” doesn’t overide Federal Law. According the Code of Judicial Conduct, “RULE XII., RECUSAL OR DISQUALIFICATION, A commission member shall recuse himself in any matter in which recusal would be required by a judge under the Code of Judicial Conduct or where his impartiality might reasonably be questioned. CANON 5 Extra-Judicial Activities/ A Judge Shall Regulate Extra-Judicial Activities to Minimize the Risk of Conflict With Judicial Duties C. Financial Activities. (1) A judge shall refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on the judge’s impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties, exploit the judge’s judicial position, or involve the judge in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court on which he or she serves. (2) Subject to the requirement of subsection (1), a judge may hold and manage investments, including real estate, and engage in other remunerative activity but shall not serve as an officer….[and] (3) A judge should manage investments and other financial interests to minimize the number of cases in which he is disqualified…
    As soon as a judge can do so without serious financial detriment, he or she shall divest himself or herself of investments and other financial interests that might require frequent recusation. RULE III. FORM OF COMPLAINTS. Complaints made to the Commission concerning the misconduct or disability of a judge should be in writing and should specify the misconduct or disability complained of, and should be signed by the complainant[s]. The Commission, however, may consider alleged misconduct or disability of any judge from whatever source, including anonymous complaints and news reports, and may do so on its own motion. RULE IV. RECEIPT OF COMPLAINTS; SCREENED OUT COMPLAINTS.All complaints should be directed to the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, who is the Judicial Administrator of the State of Louisiana, at 400 Royal Street, Suite 1190, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130-8101

    RULE VI. CONDUCT OF INVESTIGATIONS.With respect to a preliminary investigation for the purpose of determining whether a hearing should be held on any complaint, the Commission may cause such investigation to be made in any manner it deems proper. It may be made by the Chief Executive Officer, the Judicial Administrator, by Special Counsel, or by any other person designated by the Commission who is not a member of the Commission, such as a Special Counsel Ad Hoc. Section 27. Intermrim Disqualification (1) indentifies this conflict of interest and refusal to withdraw from the case a felony, (2) it also reflects on the judge’s honesty and trustworthiness as judge.

    Read more: http://www.prwatch.org/Judge%20Feldman%20Dollars%20and%20Sense (Article below is a clip from the website above, Submitted by Lisa Graves on June 24, 2010 – 2:50pm)
    Income
    Judicial salary (excluding benefits and retirement): $169,300
    Earnings from investments: up to $174,000
    Due to the way the disclosure form obscures actual amounts, the range of his investment income adds up to between $37,524, if he received the bare minimum at each disclosure threshold, and $174,000, if he received the maximum. The investment earnings constituted between about 20% of his federal salary and over 100% of it.

    It’s certainly fair to say that as of his last known financial disclosure report, Judge Feldman was plainly an investor and speculator in oil and gas exploration, including deepwater drilling, and profited from these investments.

    SERIOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST! Philosophize all you want, but untill you change the Supreme Court Laws concerning this CONFLICT OF INTEREST in the CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT, philosophy does not win over Federal Laws.. your case is closed!
    Wendy R. Wyatt

  2. O.K. How about THIS for “real life” experience: The Internet is ABLAZE with allegations that the Judge who disenfranchised 7 million California voters with his “gay marriage” decision is a HOMOSEXUAL. And how do you expect the openly LESBIAN Elena Kagan to vote on homo, abortion, marriage and adoption issues. While the following issues are more applicible to male homosexuals than female (just what the hell does one call them?), ask Judge Walker from California his views on: AIDS, HIV, syphilis, gornorrea, herpes, drug use, including intravenous drug use, starting at a much earlier age than the rest of the population, multiple sexual partners (none of the readers of SLABBED can count that high). And I could go on and on, which is why I wouldn’t want to share a foxhole with a homo (or a blood transfusion). Call me whatever you want, BUT THIS IS SICK. We need to take our country back. Ashton O’Dwyer.

  3. At one time Ashton a majority of the voters would have outlawed interracial marriage too.

    Even voters do not trump our consitution, a document which supposedly guanantees basic rights, liberities and specifices the power of and limitations on our government.

    I’m not gay but I do not begrudge those that are the right to pursue life and liberty. I am grateful the gay community do not begrudge me my rights to same.

    NMC obviously isn’t one of our favorites here on Slabbed with the way he runs down the Rigsby sisters for Ed Rust but he has pretty good legal analysis of the California ruling along with an interesting graph on the topic up over at his place. Check it out.

    sop

  4. SOP: We can have an honest disagreement, and I mean no personal disrespect. But focus on the “process”, not the result. What’s the difference between a Judge who owns “oodles” of oil and gas stock ruling against the DOI’s moritorium, and a Judge who lives an openly QUEER lifestyle deciding that being queer isn’t a “choice” (he’s full of shit), and that queers can legally marry (“adopt” is coming, so they can groom little queers)? The queer blood donors almost ERADICATED the hemophaliacs in this country through AIDS infected blood and blood products. I hope you never need a transfusion from one of your “equals”. And by the way, after queers, Negro males probably have the “most” tainted blood and STD’s. Ashton O’Dwyer.

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