Tag Archives: judicial independence

Judicial Ethics and the Supreme Court – NYTimes.com

Judicial Ethics and the Supreme Court – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Judicial Ethics and the Supreme Court

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. tried to address growing concerns about ethical behavior and conflicts of interest on the Supreme Court in his annual report on the federal judiciary. But he skirted the heart of the problem: the justices are the only American judges not bound by a code of ethics.

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Read the full article here: The New York Times

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Republicans Turn Judicial Power Into a Campaign Issue – NYTimes.com

Republicans Turn Judicial Power Into a Campaign Issue – NYTimes.com.

Republicans Turn Judicial Power Into a Campaign Issue

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidates are issuing biting and sustained attacks on the federal courts and the role they play in American life, reflecting and stoking skepticism among conservatives about the judiciary.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas favors term limits for Supreme Court justices. Representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas say they would forbid the court from deciding cases concerning same-sex marriage. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania want to abolish the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, calling it a “rogue” court that is “consistently radical.”

Criticism of “activist judges” and of particular Supreme Court decisions has long been a staple of political campaigns. But the new attacks, coming from most of the Republican candidates, are raising broader questions about how the legal system might be reshaped if one of them is elected to the White House next year.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Actively Engaged – NYTimes.com

Actively Engaged – NYTimes.com.

October 19, 2011, 9:30 pm

Actively Engaged

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‘Empathy’ Is Code for Judicial Activism – WSJ.com

‘Empathy’ Is Code for Judicial Activism – WSJ.com.

MAY 28, 2009

‘Empathy’ Is Code for Judicial Activism

What damage did Democrats suffer when they attacked Miguel Estrada?

Both President Barack Obama and Republicans get something they want from the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.

Mr. Obama said he wanted to replace Justice David Souter with someone who had “empathy” and who’d temper the court’s decisions with a concern for the downtrodden, the powerless and the voiceless.

“Empathy” is the latest code word for liberal activism, for treating the Constitution as malleable clay to be kneaded and molded in whatever form justices want. It represents an expansive view of the judiciary in which courts create policy that couldn’t pass the legislative branch or, if it did, would generate voter backlash.

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Read the full story here: The Wall Street Journal

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A Study in Judicial Dysfuntion – NYTimes.com

A Study in Judicial Dysfuntion – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

A Study in Judicial Dysfunction

Harsh state judicial campaigns financed by ever larger amounts of special interest money are eating away at public faith in judicial impartiality. There are few places where the spectacle is more shameful than Wisconsin, where over-the-top campaigning, self-interested rulings, and a complete breakdown of courthouse collegiality and ethics is destroying trust in its Supreme Court.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Colorful Judge Biery at eye of legal storm – San Antonio Express-News

Colorful Judge Biery at eye of legal storm – San Antonio Express-News.

Colorful Judge Biery at eye of legal storm

Since Medina Valley ruling, he has heard threats and calls for ouster.
Updated 02:18 a.m., Sunday, July 3, 2011

Federal Judge Fred Biery has issued rulings peppered with poems, laced with humor and sprinkled with references to baseball.

He once sent someone to jail for “aggravated stupidity” after the man uttered a four-letter profanity in court. When a prospective juror demanded to be paid $100 an hour for his service, Biery had a counteroffer: a “chauffered ride” by U.S. marshals to a contempt of court hearing.

The chief judge of the federal court system‘s Western District of Texas is no stranger to controversial legal fights, having ruled on toll roads, contamination of neighbors’ groundwater by the former Kelly AFB and San Antonio‘s attempts to regulate strip clubs.

But a recent case has drawn more than criticism — along with threats. There’s also a movement to oust him.

In a lawsuit filed in May by the parents of an agnostic student, Corwyn Schultz, the judge granted the family’s request for a temporary order barring organized public prayer at the Medina Valley High School graduation.

Appeals judges disagreed and allowed prayer at the ceremony in Castroville. But long after the prayers, pomp and circumstance, the fallout continues, with Biery as its target.

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Biery’s rulings can be colorful, quoting from works of philosophy, theology — including religious scripture — and citing even more unusual authorities like songwriter James Taylor.

He occasionally titles them in blunt nonlegalese: “Righteous Indignation Order Concerning Shameful and Unscrupulous Greed by Two Physicians,” for example.

Biery’s summary of arguments in the form of poetry may seem flippant, and his actions to jail those who disrupt his court may seem extreme, but they’re within ethical and legal bounds, observers said.

Read the full article here: San Antonio Express-News

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Ethics, Politics and the Law – NYTimes.com

Ethics, Politics and the Law – NYTimes.com.

The ethical judgments of the Supreme Court justices became an important issue in the just completed term. The court cannot maintain its legitimacy as guardian of the rule of law when justices behave like politicians. Yet, in several instances, justices acted in ways that weakened the court’s reputation for being independent and impartial.

Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Recuse Me – NYTimes.com

However the courts eventually resolve the challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage, the record of the case will contain an ugly footnote: the last-ditch effort to retrospectively disqualify the federal judge who ruled that the ban is unconstitutional. It turns out that — horrors! — the judge, Vaughn R. Walker, is gay. Perhaps, his critics suggest, Judge Walker secretly intends to marry his partner of 10 years and has thus improperly placed himself in a position to reap personal benefit from his own ruling.

Raed full article here: Recuse Me – NYTimes.com.

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You Get the Judges You Pay For

Unter diesem Titel hat die New York Times heute ein Editorial zu der Tatsache, dass in 39 der amerikanischen Bundesstaaten Richter in ihr Amt gewählt werden.

“In 39 states, at least some judges are elected. Voters rarely know much, if anything, about the candidates, making illusory the democratic benefits of such elections. Ideally, judges should decide cases based on the law, not to please the voters. But, as Justice Otto Kaus of the California Supreme Court once remarked about the effect of politics on judges’ decisions: ‘You cannot forget the fact that you have a crocodile in your bathtub. You keep wondering whether you’re letting yourself be influenced, and you do not know.'”

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Unabhängigkeit der Justiz (7)

Wie die New York Times berichtet, zweifelt eine führende liberale Gruppe [Common Cause] die Unabhängigkeit von Clarence Thomas und Antonin Scalia [beide Richter am Supreme Court] im Verfahren um die Finanzierung von Wahlkämpfen an, weil sie (zu) Enge Verbindungen zur Koch-Gruppe haben, die ganz massiv mit Spenden zugunsten republikanischer Kandidaten in den letzten Wahlkampf eingegriffen hat und weil Clarence Thomas’ Ehefrau Virginia eine konservative politische Grupppierung (mit)begründet hat, die gegen die Obama Regierung agiert. Common Cause will erreichen, dass das Verfahren, in dem im vergangenen Jahr der Roberts Court eine richtungsweisende Entscheidung zur Ausweitung der Wahlkampffinanzierung durch Corporationen getroffen hat, aus diesem Grunde neu aufgerollt werden muss. Dies wäre absolutes Neuland für die Justiz  der USA, in der Richter einen sehr großen Spielraum haben bei der Entscheidung, ob sie sich selbst als befangen aus einem Verfahren zurückziehen.

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