Author Topic: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh  (Read 7060 times)

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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2019, 06:40:04 am »
Thursday, 26th September 2019
A former Texas judge is sentenced for accepting cash bribes stashed in beer boxes

by Faith Karimi









A former Texas judge was sentenced to five years in federal prison after he was found guilty of accepting cash bribes to issue favorable court decisions.

A federal jury in Houston convicted Rodolfo Delgado, 66, of Edinburg, of one count of conspiracy, three counts of federal program bribery, three counts of travel act bribery and one count of obstruction of justice.

In addition to the 60 months in prison, he will get two years of supervised release.

"Rudy Delgado used his position to enrich himself. He didn't just tip the scales of justice, he knocked it over with a wad of cash and didn't look back," US Attorney Ryan K. Patrick said.

"Delgado's actions unfairly tarnish all his former colleagues."

Delgado was a judge for the 93rd district court in Texas, and had jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases within Hidalgo County.

Between January 2008 and November 2016, he conspired with an attorney to accept bribes in exchange for favorable judicial consideration on criminal cases in his courtroom, said the US attorney's office for the southern district of Texas.


One of the attorneys started working as an informant for the FBI in 2016, and would take beer boxes to the judge and slip money into them, CNN affiliate KRGV reported.

During their meetings, the judge and the attorney discussed purchasing "wood," which the latter described as the code word for judicial favors.

On incidents caught on record, the attorney is heard asking Delgado to help him out with a potential client, the affiliate reported.

In some cases, Delgado accepted cash, and asked for details such as the case number, according to the affiliate.

He accepted bribes on three occasions in exchange for agreeing to release three of an attorney's clients on bond.



The bribes ranged between $520 and $5,500, said the US attorney's office.
 
When he found out he was being investigated by the FBI, authorities say he tried to obstruct justice by contacting the attorney and providing a false story about the payments.

Delgado was free on bond after his July conviction.

After his sentencing Wednesday, he will voluntarily surrender to a yet undetermined US Bureau of Prisons facility.





















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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2019, 06:41:58 am »

Tuesday, 1st October 2019
Kansas judge reprimanded for sexual harassment & affair with felon
by Bill Mears & Steve Vockrodt




A panel of judges on Monday publicly reprimanded U.S. District Court of Kansas Judge Carlos Murguia for sexually harassing court employees, having an affair with a felon and being habitually late to court proceedings.

The Judicial Council of the Tenth Circuit issued the rebuke of Murguia after receiving complaints and a subsequent investigation by a special committee.

The council found that Murguia harassed female employees with sexually suggestive comments, inappropriate text messages and non-work contact after hours and often late at night.



The council’s order said employees were reluctant to tell Murguia to stop because of his power; in one instance, Murguia was told to stop his conduct but that he continued anyway.

Murguia, who works in the federal courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas, was also found to be in a “years-long extramarital sexual relationship with a drug-using individual” who was on probation at the time and is now back in prison on felony convictions.

The council’s order said that an affair by a judge doesn’t always rise to misconduct, but that in Murguia’s case, he placed himself in a position where he could be extorted.
 
Murguia was married to Unified Goverment of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas Commissioner Ann Brandau-Murguia, but the couple divorced in 2018, Johnson County court records show.

Lastly, the council found Murguia habitually showed up late to court proceedings, often because he was playing basketball during lunch and leaving lawyers and jurors waiting for his return.

“Judge Murguia was counseled about his tardiness fairly early in his federal judicial career, but his conduct persisted nonetheless,” the council’s order said.

In a statement to The Star, Murguia apologized to his victims and other members of his staff for his conduct.

“I also apologize to my colleagues on the Court, all of whom I very much respect, as well as my former wife, Ann, and our children, my family, my friends, and the public,” Murguia’s statement said.

“I regret that I had an inappropriate relationship with an acquaintance who was on state court probation.”

Even so, the special committee investigating the claims said the judge was “less than candid” and did not fully disclose his conduct when initially confronted with it.

“His apologies appeared more tied to his regret that his actions were brought to light than an awareness of, and regret for, the harm he caused to individuals involved and to the integrity of his office,” the council’s order said.

“Moreover, his misconduct is very serious and occurred over a lengthy period.”

The council could have issued a private reprimand, but said that Murguia’s conduct rose to the level that a public disclosure was necessary as a “powerful disincentive.”

Murguia, a University of Kansas graduate, was appointed to a federal judgeship in 1999 by President Bill Clinton.

He grew up in the Argentine community of KCK and is the the first Hispanic named to the U.S. District Court of Kansas.

Federal judges are lifetime appointments and cases of public reprimand are rare.

“Complaints are not uncommon, but sanction is,” said University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law dean Barbara Glesner Fines.

A reprimand goes on Murguia’s record but does not otherwise affect his appointment.






















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https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/kansas-judge-reprimanded-for-sexual-harassment-affair-with-felon/ar-AAI65Me?ocid=spartanntp

https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article235647457.html

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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2019, 10:18:52 am »
Monday, 28th October 2019
Prosecutors want Black judge who criticized incarceration rates of African Americans removed





Two state judges will begin hearing arguments this week about whether an African American Iberia Parish judge should be recused from more than 300 criminal cases after she criticized prosecutors for a high rate of incarceration of black Louisianans.

The comments by 16th Judicial District Court Judge Lori Landry about the treatment of black defendants have prompted claims of bias by the district attorney’s office and support from community members who believe the judge is being treated unfairly.

Prosecutors with 16th Judicial District Attorney Bo Duhé’s office filed motions for recusal in Landry’s cases, arguing she should be removed because she is “biased or prejudiced against (the DA’s office) such that she cannot be fair or impartial.”




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https://news.law/prosecutors-want-black-judge-who-criticized-incarceration-rates-of-african-americans-remove/
« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 02:49:42 am by Battle »

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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2019, 06:26:03 am »

Friday, 15th November 2019
3 worthless judges involved in shooting at Indiana White Castle suspended without pay
by Alex Johnson





Three Indiana judges have been suspended without pay for their involvement in a shooting during a drunken brawl outside a White Castle restaurant in May.

The state Supreme Court said in an order published Tuesday that the county circuit judges — Andrew Adams and Bradley B. Jacobs of Clark County and Sabrina R. Bell or Crawford County — behaved in a way that was "not merely embarrassing on a personal level; they discredited the entire Indiana judiciary."

Adams previously was sentenced to a year in jail with all but two days suspended after he pleaded guilty to battery in the incident, during which he and Jacobs suffered gunshot wounds.

An investigation by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications depicted the judges as wandering the streets of Indianapolis, where they were attending a judicial conference, in a drunken haze in the middle of the night on May 1st.

The judges and a fourth man, Clark County Magistrate William Dawkins, met up at a bar where they drank for several hours before deciding to go to a strip club, which was closed, investigators said.

So they then went to the White Castle.

The judges remained outside while Dawkins went inside at about 3:15 a.m., according to judicial documents.

That was when two men drove by in a car and shouted something out the window, to which Bell "extended her middle finger" in response, investigators said.

The men pulled into the parking lot and got out, which led to "a heated verbal altercation ... with all participants yelling, using profanity, and making dismissive, mocking, or insolent gestures toward the other group," according to the documents.

The confrontation ended when one of the men from the car, identified as Brandon Kaiser, pulled a gun and shot Adams once and Jacobs twice, investigators said.

Both men underwent emergency surgery and were hospitalized for several days.

Investigators said Adams kicked Kaiser in the back during the scuffle.

That's why he was criminally charged with battery, while Jacobs and Bell weren't charged.

According to court documents, the investigation found that Bell was so drunk she couldn't remember flipping off the car, but she

"concedes that the security camera video shows her making this gesture."

In her statement to detectives, Bell said she was good friends with Adams and Jacobs, whom she described as

"very protective of me."

She also told investigators that she gets "mouthy" when she drinks.

"I'm fiery and I'm feisty, but if I would have ever thought for a second that they were gonna fight or that that guy had a gun on him, I would never, never ...," Bell said, according to court documents.

The quotation trails off in the original document.


All three judges were brought up on disciplinary charges, leading to this week's order.

The Supreme Court suspended Adams for 60 days and Jacobs and Bell for 30 days, all without pay.

Dawkins, the magistrate, was inside the White Castle at the time of the altercation and wasn't part of the case.

Kaiser is scheduled for trial in early January on 14 counts of aggravated battery, battery with a deadly weapon, battery, carrying an unlicensed handgun and disorderly conduct.

The other man in the car, Alfredo Vazquez, who is Kaiser's nephew, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery in early November and was sentenced to 180 days of home detention and a year of probation.



















Would You Like To Know More?
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/crime-courts/judges-involved-shooting-indiana-white-castle-suspended-without-pay-n1082706

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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2019, 10:19:49 am »
Monday, 18th November 2019
Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas suspended following federal indictment

by KHOU11




A Harris County District Court judge has been suspended following a federal indictment unsealed last week.

Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas, 44, is the presiding judge for the 164th District Court for the State of Texas and has jurisdiction over Texas civil cases in Harris County.

She is charged with seven counts of wire fraud.

The federal indictment detailed she allegedly spent campaign donations on personal expenses.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued the suspension on Tuesday pending her criminal matter.

She is suspended without pay.

Smoots-Thomas, who previously used the name Smoots-Hogan, allegedly embezzled campaign contributions individuals and political action committees had made to her re-election campaigns.

The indictment read seven counts of wire fraud, including $761.74 on Zales Jewelry, $1,163.91 dollars on a Prada purse, roughly $1,213.82 on vacation airfare.


They say she also spend $9,941.99 on school tuition, and $11,809 on her home mortgage.

But Smoots-Thomas’ attorney Kent Schaffer said she paid them back.

“We had several meetings with them to explain the entries of several charges, and the fact that the charges were reimbursed," Schaffer said.

But he said U.S. Attorneys wouldn’t listen.

Instead, Schaffer is calling this political prosecution, saying prosecuting a state judge for a state crime in federal court has never happened before.

“She’s a black female Democrat, and I think they saw this as an opportunity to get her off the bench and try to start putting Republicans back on the bench in a county where there’s none that exist," Schaffer said.

KHOU 11 political analyst Bob Stein said the defense may try to justify some of those charges as campaign expenditures.

“Paying your mortgage payment is not a campaign activity, but I can imagine buying jewelry and cosmetics while she was on the campaign trail, might be," Stein said.

He said, though, if a candidate misuses campaign funds, they usually get the opportunity to pay it back before charges are filed.

“It often leads not to a criminal prosecution, but to some correction, and usually in a public way," Stein said.

If convicted, each charge carries a punishment of up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Schaffer said Smoots-Thomas will not be removed from the bench unless she is convicted.

The FBI conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ralph Imperato and John Pearson are handling the case.

“The defendant in this case is a judge, whose responsibilities are to make sure the law is followed and carried out,” stated Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner, of the FBI - Houston Division.

“She was entrusted to serve the citizens of Harris County with duty and honor. However, the allegations contained in today’s indictment show that the judge put personal enrichment over this duty and honor."

According to her election website, Smoots-Thomas was born and raised in southeast Houston.

She attended school at UT-Austin, University of St. Thomas and South Texas College of Law.

Her law career began in Houston before she was elected in 2008 to her first term as a civil district court judge.

She was elected to a second term in 2012, and in 2016 she ran unopposed in the Texas 164th District Court Democratic primary, according to Ballotpedia, eventually winning a third term.

















Would You Like To Know More?
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/judge-alexandra-smoots-thomas-suspended-following-federal-indictment/ar-BBWHSuu?ocid=spartanntp

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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2019, 07:27:19 am »
Wednesday, 4th December 2019


Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) sent a letter to Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer opposing the nomination of Sarah Pitlyk to the federal district court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Ms. Pitlyk is the eighth judicial nominee advanced by President Trump who has been rated unqualified by the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.

In its assessment of Ms. Pitlyk, the ABA found that she has never tried a case as lead or co-counsel, examined a witness, or picked a jury, among other key responsibilities in which a federal judge should be well-experienced when joining the bench.

Ms. Pitlyk has also made a career trafficking in alarming and racist stereotypes about African American women and women of color.

Just last year, she co-authored an amicus brief in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky in which she argued in favor of sex and race-selective abortion bans, which prohibit abortion providers from performing abortions if the reason for the abortion is the race or sex of the fetus.

She based this argument on unfounded claims that “babies of minority mothers are aborted at a far higher rate than their white counterparts” — claims that are unfounded and deeply offensive.
















Would You Like To Know More?
https://www.naacpldf.org/press-release/ldf-sends-letter-opposing-nomination-of-sarah-pitlyk-to-the-federal-district-court-for-the-eastern-district-of-missouri/


https://www.naacpldf.org/wp-content/uploads/Letter-Opposing-Sarah-Pitlyk.pdf

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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2020, 11:44:05 am »
Thursday, 13th August 2o2o
Texas judge charged!
by Biba Adams





Alexandra Smoots-Thomas, a suspended civil court judge, has been charged after allegedly shooting at her husband’s girlfriend during an argument.

Smoots-Thomas was suspended last year after being charged with spending campaign funds on jewelry, luxury items, her mortgage payments, and more.

After being charged with 10 counts of wire fraud, she continued to campaign for re-election this year.

She lost in the Democratic primary runoff on July 14th.


Prosecutors claim the Harris County district judge misused nearly $25,000 in campaign funds between January 2016 and March 2017.

Now the suspended judge is facing felony charges after an incident at the victim’s home.

Investigators told ABC13 that Smoots-Thomas was in the woman’s driveway honking and causing a disturbance.

According to police, when the woman came outside, Smoots-Thomas shot at her.

Police told the Houston Chronicle that Smoots-Thomas pointed a shotgun out of her vehicle’s window when the girlfriend came at her with a large board.

The woman tried to smack the shotgun away with the board, after which the judge reportedly fired three shots, then fled the scene.

"My client was in a car and the other woman was outside the car,” said Smoots-Thomas’ attorney Kent Schaffer.

“I believe she was carrying a club or some sort of stick with the intent to assault my client and a gun appeared. A shot was fired but nobody was hurt.”

Schaffer said she was charged on Wednesday and held on a $10,000 bond.


















Would You Like To Know More?
https://thegrio.com/2020/08/13/texas-judge-charged-shooting-husband-girlfriend/

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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2020, 12:10:37 pm »
Sunday, 27th September 2o2o
LDF Issues Statement on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Nomination to the United States Supreme Court





Today, Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court:

“President Trump’s decision to announce a nominee to fill the seat of the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is unacceptable. Early and absentee votes are already being cast for the November general election — and nominating a candidate for a lifetime appointment to this nation’s highest court during this electoral period undermines the democratic process and is a disservice to the American public. Senators must also respect the clear will of the American people, and honor the precedent they set in 2016, by declining to consider any nominee until the winner of this presidential election is inaugurated.

“We are already in a constitutional crisis. The President of the United States has refused to commit to the peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election, celebrated attacks on journalists and protesters, encouraged his supporters to vote more than once, and defended white supremacist terrorists. To protect our core democratic values and stop our descent into authoritarianism, the other branches must supply the checks and balances our Founders envisioned. Now is not the moment for the Senate to allow the President to pack the highest court in the land.

“In 2016, Senators refused even to consider President Obama’s nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy that arose when Justice Scalia died in February of that year, deeming it too close to the presidential election. In the words of Senator Thom Tillis, because the presidential primaries were ‘already under way,’ it was ‘essential to the institution of the Senate and to the very health of our republic to not launch our nation into a partisan, divisive confirmation battle during the very same time the American people are casting their ballots to elect our next president.’

“Yet, now that the President shares their partisan affiliation, many of those same Senators have reversed course — promising to vote on President Trump’s nominee even though the general election is already underway. Our constitutional democracy depends on those in power acting with principle. For the Senate to disregard a rule it created just four years ago because of partisan considerations demeans both the Senate and the Court, and it is an assault on the rule of law itself.

“Although the Senate must not consider any nominee before the inauguration, President Trump’s nomination of Judge Barrett only underscores these concerns. Judge Barrett has written that she believes the doctrine of stare decisis, which is essential to the rule of law because it means that judges generally respect prior decisions, should be revisited and may itself be unconstitutional in some instances. And she has said she could ‘not defend’ the statement by another Justice that the oath he ‘took to support the Constitution and laws of the United States’ must govern the resolution of all cases regardless of his personal views.

“Disturbingly, Judge Barrett has also spoken before the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a result of its extreme anti-LGBTQ views, including its advocacy for the re-criminalization of homosexuality. In no uncertain terms should a Supreme Court justice, tasked with respecting the rule of law and upholding civil rights protections, be affiliated with a group that seeks to actively dismantle and criminalize the rights of others.

“We are also well aware that the strength of our core civil rights principles hangs in the balance with an even more conservative court. Over the past eight years, this Court has upheld affirmative action and the disparate impact standard under the Fair Housing Act on 5-4 votes. The protection of rights for Black voters remain in peril. The stakes could not be higher for the communities of people we represent.

“President Trump should have never moved forward with a Supreme Court nomination during an ongoing election. Now that he has, the onus is on the Senate to remain true to democratic principles – and its own precedent – and avoid holding hearings or a vote on this nominee until after the next session of Congress has been seated and the next president has been inaugurated in January 2021.

“At this moment, American democracy stands at a precipice. The trajectory of this country – for generations to come – could very well be determined by the Senate’s actions at this critical juncture. It is this body’s duty to act in the best interests of the American people they represent — and, as a result, they must refuse to move forward with considering a Supreme Court nominee until the individuals elected in November take their oaths of office.”















Would You Like to Know More?
https://www.naacpldf.org/press-release/ldf-statement-on-judge-amy-coney-barretts-nomination-to-the-united-states-supreme-court/

https://www.naacpldf.org/wp-content/uploads/Judge-Barrett-Nomination-9.26.20-FINAL.pdf

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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2021, 12:07:25 pm »
Wednesday, 7th April   Twenty One
Remembering Legal Analyst Midwin Charles
by Dr. Jason Johnson







One of the more morbid parts of the journalism business is the process of writing obituaries.

Oftentimes, for older celebrities or historic figures, there’s a rough draft obit on hand so that the moment the person passes you can go straight to publication.

Most newspapers and TV networks had an obit written up the moment Congressman John Lewis announced he had cancer; many have already written one up if and when DMX is pronounced dead.

While we don’t talk about it in public, every television network and news site across the country already has a video memorial prepared for the day that Rev. Jesse Jackson transitions.

However, these are all famous people, whose legacies belong to the entire planet.

What you never expect is to have to write an obituary about a friend, someone you worked with, cared about and just assumed would always be there.

This is why it’s so hard to write this obituary about Midwin Charles, an amazing lawyer, television legal analyst and all-around light to anybody who knew or worked with her.

I met Midwin Charles in 2015, at the place where almost every Black person in media met each other at some point or another:

Roland Martin’s former TV One show NewsOne Now.

I had seen Midwin on television before, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing and the Ferguson uprising.

National networks had just started to discover what I affectionately referred to at the time as the Black Lady Lawyer Crew.

There was Eboni K. Williams, Faith Jenkins, Tanya Miller, Yodit Tewolde and Midwin — this whole new crop of young talented and brilliant Black women lawyers who were suddenly all over the television screen pushing into a space that had been exclusively for white guys in expensive suits until then.

I remember sitting next to Midwin as we discussed Black Lives Matter; she was brilliant and stunning and completely knew the room like she’d been born for this work.

We exchanged numbers and even though I was living in Atlanta at the time, we said we’d connect in D.C. or New York whenever we could.

Over the years I got to know Midwin on and off-camera.

Between SiriusXM, MSNBC, the Clay Cane Show, Next Nation Podcast, Roland Martin’s show and Midwin’s own Instagram live, I’d probably been on the air with Midwin Charles more than any other Black woman in media not named Tiffany Cross.

She was always smart, and upbeat, but more importantly to me, she was a friend and ally, and what you would affectionately refer to as “a real one.”

She was always good to send a “YASSSSS” text when she saw me on-air, followed up with a lightly chiding screenshot of how I needed to adjust my studio lights to take the glare off my glasses.

Midwin Charles may have spoken like she was in front of the Supreme Court and looked like she just stepped off a Miami runway but there was never anything pretentious or fake about her.

In majority-white legal and media spaces, Midwin moved with the grace and ease of a seasoned pro.

She loved working with Stephanie Ruhle on MSNBC and we talked on more than one occasion about their great on-air chemistry.

Within Black media circles, Midwin Charles was one of those people who everybody respected and was number one on any list of “Yo, why isn’t she a bigger deal? Why isn’t she signed to a network?” conversations.

She and I had long conversations about the challenges of racism, sexism and colorism in the media industry.
 
The dedication she had to still be a practicing lawyer with a thriving practice, working in the community and still working in television.

For many of us, Midwin was like Taraji P. Henson before Empire, or Viola Davis before How to Get Away with Murder.

She was Black famous, and we all just knew she was a step away from the opportunity that would give her all the flowers she deserved.

She gave all of that love back too.

Midwin was always rooting for women that she worked with including Joy Reid, Tiffany Cross and many others.

She was a champion for Black men and women.

Like most people in my life, I just assumed Midwin was going to be part of the larger crew until we all got old and were poking fun at the next generation.

The last time I talked to Midwin Charles was just over two weeks ago.

We were doing that thing you do during the pandemic, which is making plans to make plans to connect on Zoom or over the phone or on IG live.

She seemed fine as usual, and as I pore over the DM’s and text messages we exchanged my eyes well up wondering if there was something that I missed.

If I should’ve reached out sooner, or just told her again how fly she was, just one last time before getting wrapped up in my own life again.

I got a call yesterday from a friend and colleague, Clay Cane, at SiriusXM radio right before I was about to teach my Morgan State University students in our afternoon Zoom class.

When I didn’t pick up he texted:

“Call me when you can. It’s urgent.”

I called him back, and he told me the news.

Midwin Charles had passed.

I was in shock.

I was sad.

I was in pain all at once.

We got off the phone, and all I could bring myself to do was tell my students,

“Please…..Call your parents, call your friends, text somebody today and tell them you love them. Just do it. You never know when it’ll be the last time … Class is cancelled today.”

I’m still processing my grief about Midwin Charles transitioning, but what I want the entire world to know is this:

She was a wonderful person.

A loving daughter, sister, colleague and friend.

You don’t meet many people like her in this lifetime and you want to make sure you show all of the love, support and appreciation you can for people like that when they are here.

I’ll be forever blessed with the memory of our talks about life, love, family and politics, her encouraging texts and all the times I got to work with her.

As will everyone else who got even a glimpse of what an amazing and meaningful woman she was.

The world is a sadder place without Midwin Charles and she will be sorely missed.
























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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2021, 05:29:37 pm »
Friday, 9th April  Twenty One
President Biden to Sign Executive Order Creating the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States



President Biden will today issue an executive order forming the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, comprised of a bipartisan group of experts on the Court and the Court reform debate.

In addition to legal and other scholars, the Commissioners includes former federal judges and practitioners who have appeared before the Court, as well as advocates for the reform of democratic institutions and of the administration of justice.

The expertise represented on the Commission includes constitutional law, history and political science.

The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals.

The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.

To ensure that the Commission’s report is comprehensive and informed by a diverse spectrum of views, it will hold public meetings to hear the views of other experts, and groups and interested individuals with varied perspectives on the issues it will be examining.

The Executive Order directs that the Commission complete its report within 180 days of its first public meeting.


This action is part of the Administration’s commitment to closely study measures to improve the federal judiciary, including those that would expand access the court system.

The two co-chairs of this Commission are Bob Bauer, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University School of Law and a former White House Counsel, as well as Yale Law School Professor Cristina Rodriguez, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice.

COMMISSIONERS

Michelle Adams
Michelle Adams is a Professor of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she teaches Constitutional Law, Federal Courts, and Federal Civil Rights.

At Cardozo, she is a Director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy and was a Board Member of the Innocence Project.


Kate Andrias (Rapporteur)
Kate Andrias is a Professor of Law at the University of Michigan.

She teaches and writes about constitutional law, labor and employment law, and administrative law, with a focus on problems of economic and political inequality.


Jack M. Balkin
Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.


Bob Bauer (Co-Chair)
Bob Bauer is Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the New York University School of Law and Co-Director of NYU Law’s Legislative and Regulatory Process Clinic.


William Baude
William Baude is a Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Constitutional Law Institute at the University of Chicago Law School, where he teaches federal courts, constitutional law, conflicts of law, and elements of the law.


Elise Boddie
Elise Boddie is a Professor of Law and Judge Robert L. Carter Scholar at Rutgers University.


Guy—Uriel E. Charles
Guy-Uriel E. Charles is the Edward and Ellen Schwarzman Professor of Law at Duke Law School.



Andrew Manuel Crespo
Andrew Manuel Crespo is a Professor of Law at Harvard University where he teaches and writes about criminal law and procedure.



Walter Dellinger
Walter Dellinger is the Douglas Maggs Emeritus Professor of Law at Duke University and a Partner in the firm of O’Melveny & Myers.


Justin Driver
Justin Driver is the Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

He teaches and writes in the area of constitutional law, education law, and prison law.


Richard H. Fallon, Jr.
Richard H. Fallon, Jr., joined the Harvard Law School faculty as an assistant professor in 1982 and is currently Story Professor of Law.



Caroline Fredrickson
Caroline Fredrickson served as the President of the American Constitution Society from 2009—2019.



Heather Gerken
Heather Gerken is the Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law at Yale Law School and one of the country’s leading experts on constitutional law and election law.



Nancy Gertner
Nancy Gertner was United States District Court Judge (D. Mass.) from 1994—2011.



Jack Goldsmith
Jack Goldsmith is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and co-founder of Lawfare.


Thomas B. Griffith
Thomas B. Griffith served on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit from 2005—2020.



Tara Leigh Grove
Tara Leigh Grove is the Charles E. Tweedy, Jr., Endowed Chairholder of Law and Director of the Program in Constitutional Studies at the University of Alabama School of Law.


Bert I. Huang
Bert I. Huang is Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law at Columbia University, where he received the Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching from the law school’s graduating class.


Sherrilyn Ifill
Sherrilyn Ifill is the President & Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation’s oldest and premier civil rights law organization fighting for racial justice and equality.


Ifill began her career as a Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union, and then as an Assistant Counsel at LDF where she litigated voting rights cases in the South.


In 1993 Ifill joined the faculty at University of Maryland School of Law, where she taught civil procedure, constitutional law, and a broad range of civil rights and clinical offerings.


Her scholarship focused on the critical importance of a racially diverse judiciary to the integrity of judicial decision-making.

Ifill also studies and writes about racial violence.


Her critically acclaimed book, On The Courthouse Lawn: Confronting The Legacy Of Lynching In The 21st Century, is credited with inspiring contemporary conversations about lynching and reconciliation.

Since returning to LDF as its 7th President & Director-Counsel in 2013, Ifill has led the organization’s bold advocacy in the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, on behalf of clients fighting voter suppression, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, and a broad array of other urgent civil rights issues.

Ifill is a member of the American Law Institute and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Vassar College, a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and numerous honorary doctorates.


Michael S. Kang
Michael S. Kang is the William G. and Virginia K. Karnes Research Professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and nationally recognized expert on campaign finance, voting rights, redistricting, judicial elections, and corporate governance.



Olatunde Johnson
Olatunde Johnson is the Jerome B. Sherman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School where she teaches and writes about legislation, administrative law, antidiscrimination law, litigation, and inequality in the United States.


Alison L. LaCroix
Alison L. LaCroix is the Robert Newton Reid Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.



Margaret H. Lemos
Maggie Lemos is the Robert G. Seaks LL.B. ’34 Professor of Law, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research, and faculty co-advisor for the Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke Law School.


David F. Levi
David F. Levi is the Levi Family Professor of Law and Judicial Studies and Director of the Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke Law School.



Trevor W. Morrison
Trevor Morrison serves as Dean of NYU School of Law, where he is also the Eric M. and Laurie B. Roth Professor of Law.



Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson is the Emerson G. Spies Distinguished Professor of Law and the Caddell and Chapman Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.



Richard H. Pildes
Professor Richard H. Pildes is Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law and one of the country’s leading experts on the legal aspects of American democracy and government.



Michael D. Ramsey
Michael D. Ramsey is Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, foreign relations law, and international law.



Cristina M. Rodríguez (Co-Chair)
Cristina M. Rodríguez is the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School.


Kermit Roosevelt
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Bertrall Ross
Bertrall Ross is the Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.



David A. Strauss
David Strauss is the Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law and the Faculty Director of the Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic at the University of Chicago.



Laurence H. Tribe
Laurence Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law Emeritus at Harvard University.



Adam White
Adam White is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and an assistant professor of law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, where he directs the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State.



Keith E. Whittington
Keith E. Whittington is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University and is currently the chair of Academic Freedom Alliance.


Michael Waldman
Michael Waldman is the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2021, 09:55:18 am »
Sunday, 11th April   Twenty One
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general and human rights activist passes away at 93
by Grant McCool






(NEW YORK, NY) -Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who helped shape U.S. civil rights law during the Johnson administration but went on to travel the globe to fight human rights abuses by his own country as he saw them, pass away at age 93.

Clark, one of the architects of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1968, passed away on Friday, family member Sharon Welch said, according to media outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post.

In a lengthy career of representing unpopular causes, Clark defended or gave advice to Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Liberian political figure Charles Taylor and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

Domestically he was active for conservative politician Lyndon LaRouche, Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and antiwar activist the Reverend Philip Berrigan.

In the 1990s, he helped found the International Action Center in New York, which drew attention in 1999 for street protests condemning the U.S.—led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

In an interview with Reuters in July 2001 as he was preparing to give Milosevic legal advice on charges filed by a U.N. international war crimes tribunal, Clark discussed his commitment to human rights.

“For 30 years I’ve supported the idea and worked for the creation of an international criminal court that has universal jurisdiction and is independent of all political influence and that has the power to prosecute the high and the mighty as well as the weak and the defeated,” Clark said.

“Equality is the mother of justice. If there is no equality in law, there is no justice.”

Cuba’s president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, lamented Clark’s passing on Twitter on Saturday.

“He was an honest and supportive man that stood by our side during crucial battles and denounced the great injustices committed by his country worldwide,” Diaz-Canel wrote. “#Cuba pays him grateful tribute.”

Hanan Ashrawi, a former member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, wrote on Twitter that Clark “was an indefatigable defender of Palestinian & human rights, a lawyer who knew & pursued genuine justice & the rights of the oppressed.”

The United Nations recognized Clark’s work in 2008 by naming him one of the winners of its prestigious prize in the field of human rights.

Others who have received the prize include former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and South African leader Nelson Mandela.

Clark was born in Dallas into a prominent Texas family on December 18th, 1927.

His father, Tom Clark, was named U.S. attorney general by President Harry Truman in 1945 and then to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1949.

Ramsey Clark served in the Marine Corps in 1945-46, making the rank of corporal, attended the University of Texas and the University of Chicago and then practiced law in Dallas.

He joined the Justice Department under Democratic President John Kennedy in 1961 and served in top posts until Democratic President Lyndon Johnson nominated him as attorney general in 1967.

His father retired from the Supreme Court to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

In the years after government service, Clark raised eyebrows many times by befriending some of the declared enemies of the United States, including Gaddafi, Saddam and Milosevic.

Clark, in response to a 1986 U.S. military attack on Libya which Washington had accused of terrorism, visited the North African country.

At the outbreak of the 1991 Gulf War, Clark defied the U.S.-led coalition to visit Saddam in Baghdad.

He returned to Iraq several times over the years to condemn U.N. sanctions that were depriving Iraqi children of food and medicine.

He joined Saddam’s defense team when the former Iraqi president went on trial for war crimes and even lectured the judge on how to conduct a fair trial.

In the Milosevic case and in the case of a Rwandan militiaman he represented on war crimes charges, Clark argued that the international tribunals established by the United Nations were illegal because there was no provision for them in the U.N. Charter.

As a top Justice Department official, Clark engaged himself in civil rights.

Among his many tasks were surveying Southern school districts desegregating under court order in 1963 and supervising the federal presence at the University of Mississippi following the admission of James Meredith as the school’s first black student.

Clark also helped draft and direct passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 containing the first federal open housing law.

In an ironic twist considering his later activist role, Clark as attorney general oversaw the prosecution during the Vietnam War of an antiwar group known as the “Boston Five” for helping draft resisters.

Four of the five, including famed pediatrician Benjamin Spock and Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin, were convicted.




















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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2021, 11:19:49 am »
Wednesday, 12th May  Twenty One

According to Scott Hechinger on Twitter, "In Oregon 100s remain imprisoned based on a kkk-era law to silence Black jurors."

"Last week, Chelsea Clinton called upon Oregon's Attorney General to topple this law."

Here's the Attorney General claiming she's doing all she can. Shes not. Time to set record straight."

ellen rosenblum: "Thank you @ChelseaClinton for your passion and commitment to racial justice. We are working hard to find fair and equitable outcomes in all impacted cases. My promise to Oregonians is that I will continue to review cases through the lens of Justice and Fairness."


"First, a background on the law: Most think of the kkk in terms of physical violence. Intimidation. But they also used legal & legislative process to pass laws exacting legal violence. In Oregon they pushed a law to silence jurors. "Non-unanimous juries."

In Louisiana in 1898, the kkk pushed non-unanimous juries to “establish the supremacy of the white race" & “ensure African-American juror service would be meaningless.”


"In 1934, Oregon joined them. At the time of the law’s passage there were *34,000+ active kkk members in Oregon."

"Impact: Black people are already less likely to be selected to be on a jury."

"More likely to be accused of crime. Non-unanimous juries led to disproportionate convictions."



*They would have never been convicted & sent to prison anywhere else in the country.*


"The kkk got their way."

"Current Oregon Attorney General ellen rosenblum was once a state judge."

"Presided over countless non-unanimous juries."

"Sentenced Terrence Hayes to 13 years in 2004."


"While I was not kidnapped by white men in hoods, I was caged because of their law."

"The impact of non-unanimous Jim Crow juries has not only been felt by those locked up because of them."



"Non-white jurors were demoralized."


Attacked by their "peers."

"Shut up."

"Silenced."

Cash Spencer: “It breaks my heart. The system is not built for me.”


"Enter Calvin Duncan."


"Former jailhouse lawyer wrongfully imprisoned for close to 30 years."

"Learned about non-unanimous juries while inside."

"When released in 2011, he didn't relax."


"Filed petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court 22 times over 7 years."

"Denied every time."

"He kept fighting."


"Finally, in 2019, on Calvin's 23rd attempt, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case to end non-unanimous verdicts."

"Most of Oregonian's significant leaders past & present joined a powerful brief asking the Supreme Court to topple this law."

"But not Oregon AG ellen rosenblum."

"Instead of joining Oregon's most powerful leaders--bipartisan--to petition the Supreme Court to finally topple the racist stain on Oregon's past/present, *Oregon Attorney General ellen rosenblum joined LOUISIANA* to ask the Supreme Court to keep the racist law alive & thriving."

"Fortunately, the Supreme Court didn't listen to Oregon Attorney General ellen rosenblum."

"In April 2020, the they finally acknowledged what was long obvious: This racist law was unconstitutional."

"Gorsuch wrote opinion."



"Here's Calvin Duncan celebrating on the Supreme Court steps:"

"Despite her fight in the Supreme Court to maintain the racist status quo, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, still claimed to be happy about the ruling."

Called it "important & welcomed."

"To move past an "embarrassing stain on our progressive state."

"But she kept fighting."

"Ramos v. Louisiana only applies to future cases."

"So Ellen Rosenblum is fighting every single person convicted in the past from having the opportunity to have a new, fair trial."

Calvin Duncan: "It's sad that a person with so much power can just let those people remain in prison."

"Ellen Rosenblum told Chelsea Clinton she asked courts for retrials for 400."

No: Over her strenuous objection, Justice Gorsuch and the Supreme Court's decision *mandated these retrials.*

"No choice."

"But she's fighting every case she can."

"How?"


ellen rosenblum: "In fact, we have already asked the courts for retrials in over 400 cases. I’m confident we’ll work together to right the wrongs of past injustice and achieve a more equitable state."

"Right now, the Supreme Court is deciding whether their ruling in Ramos v. Louisiana (outlawing racist non-unanimous jury verdicts in Oregon) will apply retroactively."

"To past cases."

"Once again, Oregon AG ellen rosenblum has asked the Supreme Court to block Justice for Oregonians."

"Right now, Oregon Attorney General ellen rosenblum is claiming she's merely "awaiting guidance" from the Supreme Court before applying retroactive justice."

"Not only did she file a brief arguing *against retroactive justice, but is fighting every single current request for relief."

"Right now, in Oregon state courts, Oregon AG ellen rosenblum is raising legal things called "affirmative defenses" to block claims for relief for those imprisoned bc of a kkk law."

"That they're too late."

"Or too early."

"Or that they previously asked for justice so can't again."

"Right now, in Oregon state courts, AG ellen rosenblum is arguing in case after case that the Supreme Court's unjust & overly restrictive law on retroactivity (nearly impossible to overcome) governs Oregon law."

"But it's still very much an open question."

"Oregon could be better."


"There are other arguments Oregon Attorney General ellen rosenblum is raising in case after case."

"Bottom line question: How could she?"

"How could she acknowledge the racist stain of non-uanimous juries on Oregonians yet do everything in her power to maintain that very racist stain?"

"How can Oregon Attorney General ellen rosenblum "promise to Oregonians...that I will continue to review cases through the lens of Justice and Fairness" when she's fighting every single case that she has acknowledged are based on verdicts that undermine "Justice and Fairness?"

"How can Oregon Attorney General ellen rosenblum say  she's "confident we’ll work together to right the wrongs of past injustice & achieve a more equitable state" when she's literally the only person who both has the power to "right the wrongs" & is refusing to "work together"?

"Fact: ellen rosenblum can act."

"Right now."

"Her claim that she must wait on the ultra-conservative Supreme Court for direction on Justice in Oregon is both false & a supremely dangerous precedent to set."

"As Chelsea Clinton put it: State leaders can/must act: "Today, state leaders should be taking every opportunity to use their power to end systemic racism. It is not enough to denounce it when you have the power to end it. Oregon's AG Ellen Rosenblum @ORDOJ has the power to topple a racist law. And she must."



"ellen rosenblum's claims that it's not her place to take a stand is ludicrous."

"There is precedent for rosenblum taking a stand that went against existing Oregon law."

"In 2014, rosenblum refused to defend Oregon’s then-current ban on same-sex marriages in court."

"She knows this."




Juries are supposed to be unanimous.

But I was convicted under an unconstitutional law.
by Terrence Hayes




I was at home in Oregon last April, four years after being released from a 12-year and eight-month prison sentence, when I learned that the U.S. Supreme Court had decided that the method of my conviction was unconstitutional.

Not only that, it was based on a law rooted in racism.

In 2004, I was convicted of criminal charges and sentenced even though two of my jurors didn’t think I was guilty.

If my trial had happened in any other state other than Oregon or Louisiana, I would not have been convicted at all.

Every juror’s voice is supposed to matter — the right to a “jury trial” means the right to a unanimous verdict — but up until 2020, not in Oregon (Louisiana changed its law on its own in 2018).

And all because white supremacists wanted to stop minorities and marginalized groups from having a voice on juries so they could convict whomever they wanted to.

While we usually think of the domestic terrorist group known as ku klux klan in terms of lynchings, bombings and intimidation, we often overlook the influence that the domestic terrorist group known as kkk had in government, especially in Oregon.

Throughout the 1920s, the domestic terrorist group known as kkk took advantage of a rise in racial, xenophobic and anti-Semitic hatred, which set the stage for the passage of Oregon’s non unanimous jury law in 1934.

Violence is not just physical, it was and remains institutional.

While I was not kidnapped by white men in hoods, 70 years later, I was caged because of their law.

When I heard about the Supreme Court’s decision recognizing that my conviction was unconstitutional, and that it was “rooted in racism," as Justice Brett Kavanaugh said in oral arguments, "in a desire, apparently, to diminish the voices of Black jurors in the late 1890s,” I should have been filled with a sense of happiness or at least of vindication. I felt neither.

While it was a blessing to learn that no one would ever be convicted with a nonunanimous jury again, this alone did not free me or those in similar positions.

Why?

Because of a legal term called “retroactivity.”

When new rules are announced by the U.S. Supreme Court, they don’t automatically get applied “retroactively.”

This means, for all of us unlucky enough to have been victims of laws that the nation's highest court deems brutal, unconstitutional and racist before the Supreme Court ultimately says so, we are condemned to continue to suffer.

When the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that immigrants are denied the right to effective assistance of counsel when they are not informed of the immigration consequences of their guilty plea, for example, countless people already deported, torn from their families, convicted or otherwise locked up before the decision, were denied any relief.

When the Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that juries — not judges —were the only ones who could ultimately decide to condemn someone to death, those already on death row, facing down the end of their lives because of the whim of a single judge, received no mercy.

And when the Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that juveniles must be specially protected against police interrogation, all those convicted as juveniles then serving time, or burdened forever by the scarlet letter of a conviction, had no second chance.

I am free now.

I am a husband and a father.

I am a man dedicated to my community.

I try my hardest not to be defined by the stain on my record and reputation.

However, I am still bound by the chains of an unconstitutional conviction on my record.

This impacts my employment, housing opportunities, my reputation and so many other aspects of my life.

I served my time, but my conviction could follow me for my entire life.

We are all condemned by a marker in time that allows injustice and, in my case, institutional racism to persist.

I’m also bound by the trauma and guilt of my unconstitutional incarceration.

I went to jail when I was 20, and my two baby daughters were stripped from me.

I wasn’t able to be there to support them as they grew up.

I also was unable to grow up.

Instead of critical developmental milestones in my 20s, from education to simply learning who I was, I was under the constant stress, turmoil and struggle to survive so I could get home to my loved ones, all while fearing whether I would ever truly be able to reconnect with them when I was released.

I lost family while I was in, I missed graduations and weddings, I lost what should have been a normal life for more than a decade.

I didn’t even know what normal was.

And then within months of me coming out, just trying to start reestablishing myself and building connections with my family and community, my 17-year-old cousin, Quanice Hayes, was killed by Portland police in February 2017.

Fortunately, there is some hope and this is a fight I believe is worth fighting.

We don’t have to rely on the Supreme Court — states have the power to provide retroactive justice.

Right now in Oregon, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum could stop fighting us in our quest to vacate racist convictions based on our unconstitutional nonunanimous jury law even if the Supreme Court justices won’t.

Rosenblum has even acknowledged that the law they struck down was “linked to racism and anti-Semitism” and “an embarrassment to our otherwise progressive state.”

So far, though, Rosenblum has resisted calls to topple this monument to Oregon’s racist past by invalidating previous convictions.

The attorney general even filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging it not to apply the ruling retroactively.

Ellen Rosenblum was a judge back in 2004.

And Ellen Rosenblum was the very judge who presided over my case, rejected my attorney’s arguments that my jury conviction was unconstitutional, and sentenced me to prison time.

While I can imagine it would be hard to acknowledge her own role in perpetuating systemic racism, that she was part of allowing so many people of color to be mishandled in the jury process, I still believe that Rosenblum has the moral courage to do what’s right.

It seems everyone, including conservative Supreme Court justices and Oregon’s attorney general herself, admits that my conviction is the result of racism.

But not racist enough to rectify?

I hope that as stories like mine emerge, the attorney general chooses to do the right thing and allow the basic right to a fair trial.

Everyone deserves their day in court but for far too many, the scales of justice were tipped against us.

The attorney general can and must right these wrongs.

As our country and our state examine our laws, policies and practices and the disproportionate impact they have had on communities of color, we must look backward to repair the damage we have done.





Terrence Hayes is a leader with Liberation Literacy, which works with people in prison and outside to build social justice literacy. He is also a member of Oregon DA for the People.








« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 06:21:57 pm by Battle »

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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #27 on: July 20, 2021, 07:45:17 am »
Tuesday, 20th July Twenty One

According to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Twitter, "Tiffany Cunningham, the first Black judge to ever serve on the Federal Circuit. She has the technical expertise, deep knowledge of the law, and longtime experience as an intellectual property litigator to know the importance of applying the law evenhandedly."



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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2021, 12:18:40 pm »
Tuesday, 3rd August Two Thousand and Twenty One
To Protect Democracy, We Have To Fix The Supreme Court
by Ben Jealous




It’s been six months since the Biden-Harris administration began, ushering in an era of hope after four bitter and disheartening years.

We have much to celebrate.

At the same time, there are ways in which our future is wavering on a knife’s edge: will we fulfill the promise of a more inclusive democracy, or be dragged backwards by the same forces that tried to reverse the presidential election on January 6th?

Will our federal government step up to protect voting rights, or will more and more states suppress them?

Can we protect and expand health care?

I am proud of the commitment of advocates who are pushing the Biden-Harris administration and the new leadership in Congress to be their best.

But there is another critically important step we have to take if we want voting rights, or health care, or workers’ rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, or any of the rights we are fighting for to survive.

We have to fix our Supreme Court.

For decades now, the same far-right forces that are fighting justice and equal rights for all our citizens have been working to pack our federal courts.

Their crowning achievement has been the capture of the Supreme Court, now dominated by ultraconservatives.

The Supreme Court has dealt devastating blows to the Voting Rights Act.

It has made it easier for companies to violate the rights of working people.

It opened our elections to unlimited spending by corporate interests.

And it is undermining health and safety regulations.

This matters greatly because even as we welcome the opportunities for change that we voted for in electing the Biden-Harris administration and Democratic leadership in Congress, there is a real risk that laws passed now — for progress that real people want — could be eviscerated by a far-right Supreme Court.

We can’t let that happen.

Fortunately, there are solutions on the table.

President Biden has formed a Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States to study ideas for reforming the Court.

They include a first-ever code of ethics for Supreme Court justices – a good idea in any era.

They also include proposals that would address the unique moment we are in now, when the Court has been so politicized and distorted by partisan interests.

One idea is to set term limits for justices.

Another is to add more seats to the Court, which would have a direct impact in easing the current crisis of a “captured Court.”

There will be lively debate over these proposals, including pushback from traditionalists who think we should not mess with the makeup of the Court.

But the number of seats on the Court has been changed before – not once, but half a dozen times.

It’s also important to remember that we didn’t get here though a traditional or normal course of events.

The current Court makeup was achieved by cynical political machinations of Mitch McConnell, the former Senate Majority Leader.

mcconnell refused to hold hearings for President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland, thereby stealing the seat for Neil Gorsuch.

He did this on the flimsy pretext that it was too close to a presidential election.

Then, proving conclusively that he has no shame, mcconnell forced through Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation for the late Justice Ginsburg’s seat even though voting had already begun in the next presidential election.

So there are clear wrongs to be remedied.

The Roberts Supreme Court is losing the confidence of the American people, if it hasn’t lost it already.

In its current form it is becoming a political body incapable of protecting the rights of all, interested only in those of the privileged and powerful.

And that means Supreme Court reform needs to be an integral part of our campaigns for justice and equity on all fronts.

We are fighting too hard for justice to see progress wrecked on the shoals of a rock-solid conservative Court.

Let’s raise our voices for term limits and more Supreme Court seats at the same time we’re calling for the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the Equality Act, immigration reform, reproductive rights, health care and fair pay.

Let’s not trust our future to a captured Court.

Ben Jealous serves as president of People For the American Way.

Jealous has decades of experience as a leader, coalition builder, campaigner for social justice and seasoned nonprofit executive.

In 2008, he was chosen as the youngest-ever president and CEO of the NAACP.

He is a graduate of Columbia University and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and he has taught at Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.









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Re: The Judge Who Replaced Brett Kavenaugh
« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2021, 06:59:01 pm »
Friday, 10th September  Twenty One
Good For Nothing Garbage judge Kills Himself
by JUSTIN FENTON






An Eastern Shore judge, who had been on a leave of absence for more than a month amid an investigation into illicit images of children, took his own life Friday morning as federal agents moved in to arrest him.

Judge Jonathan G. Newell, 50, was pronounced dead at 6:43 a.m. from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

A judge since 2016 and before that Caroline County’s top prosecutor for more than a decade, he was to be taken into custody on federal charges of sexual exploitation of a child, prosecutors said.

A boy that Newell took on a hunting trip on Hoopers Island discovered a hidden camera in the bathroom on July 23rd, and his parents reported it to police, which The Sun reported last week.

When confronted by investigators, Newell is believed to have chewed up and swallowed a camera memory card, authorities said in a criminal complaint unsealed Friday.

A neighbor of Newell posted pictures on fakebook saying the FBI was outside his Henderson, Maryland home asking him to come out over a loudspeaker.

The neighbor, Kimberly Keith, said that she heard flash bangs and what she believed to be gunshots, and later an ambulance.

The parents of two boys who Newell took on the trip had retained attorneys, who issued a “no contact” request to Newell on August 4th.

The letter cited, “information and belief … that [Newell] engaged in criminal conduct.”

It asked that he stay away from the boys’ school and associated events, and warned that any contact will result in the parents contacting Maryland State Police for “potential witness tampering.”

The FBI interviewed several young males, who said they had been to the hunting lodge with Newell and that while in the bathroom, Newell checked their bodies for ticks, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in federal court and unsealed Friday following his death.

“At least two of the males stated they were naked when Newell checked them for ticks — one stated that he moved his own genitalia for Newell to look for ticks, and the other initially did not recall if Newell touched his genitalia, but later stated that Newell once or twice moved the minor’s genitalia to look for ticks,” FBI Special Agent Rachel Corn wrote in the criminal complaint.

Authorities searched Newell’s home, truck and judicial office, and located a hard drive in his den that they said contained numerous videos of young men showering.

Newell can be seen on the footage setting the camera up, the FBI said.

In one video clip, he can be seen searching a young man’s naked body for ticks.

When confronted by authorities, Newell denied knowledge of a camera, and asked if he could plug his phone into a charger in another room and make some calls.

They saw him reach down multiple times, but believed he was holding the phone charger into an outlet.

A few moments later, the investigator observed Newell’s right hand closed in a fist and saw him place his fist to his mouth.

“The investigator heard a loud, distinguishable, ‘crunch,’ sound from the area of Newell’s mouth."

After another minute or two, the investigator heard the same ‘crunch’ again from Newell’s mouth, followed by Newell immediately reaching for and drinking from a cup located on his dresser,” the FBI wrote in charging documents.

They took him to a hospital and obtained a warrant to have a CT scan performed, which revealed a “foreign object” had been ingested.

The SD card from the camera discovered by the boy was missing, and the FBI believes Newell chewed it up and swallowed it.

Newell was not charged at the time.

Dorchester County State’s Attorney William H. Jones, whose office was one of multiple agencies involved in the case, told The Sun that investigators moved “as quickly as possible.”

“A lot of time and effort and man hours went into investigating this as quickly as possible with an attempt to bring it to resolution,” Jones said.

“There was a lot of evidence, and that evidence takes time to analyze.”

Newell’s defense attorneys, Andrew Jezic and Thomas Morrow, issued a short statement, saying,

“Our hearts break for Judge Newell’s family, especially for his two sons with whom he was very close.”

Joseph A. Riley, the state’s attorney for Caroline County, had previously worked with Newell and said he referred the case to his Jones, his counterpart in Dorchester County, to avoid a conflict of interest.

He lamented that he was unable to comment on the case while it was ongoing, and said he has asked federal authorities to facilitate counseling and other services for the victims and the community.

“This matter now leaves the investigative stage and we as a County, community, and a people begin the healing process", Riley said in a statement.

He said he was not prepared to comment on whether a review of Newell’s work as a prosecutor would take place.

Newell, a republican, has been Caroline County’s only Circuit Court judge, earning $174,433 annually.

The county, population 33,000, also has an appointed family magistrate judge, and civil case examiners.

Judges from other jurisdictions have been filling in to hear Newell’s docket, the judiciary has said.

He took leave following a police raid on his home July 24th, and extended the leave this week to September 23rd.

The judiciary’s communications office had refused to confirm that Newell’s office was searched as part of the investigation, and denied a public records request from The Sun for a copy of the search warrant return left at the courthouse.

Newell began his law career as a public defender in 1999, then became the deputy state’s attorney for Kent County.

He held both positions for two years each.

He was elected state’s attorney for Caroline County in 2003, a position he held until 2016 when Governor Larry Hogan appointed him to be a judge.

He retained that position in 2018 and was serving a 15-year term.

Keith, Newell’s neighbor, said her husband woke her up around 6:10 a.m. and noticed police cars outside the Newell home.

She heard the FBI, over a loudspeaker, saying, “Jonathan, come out, put your hands up.”

She said agents approached the door, and she heard a loud bang followed by two loud bangs a few minutes later.

“Next thing I knew, they were in the house,” she said.

Keith said rumors about the ongoing investigation were “very well known around here.”

Before the investigation, Keith said she found Newell’s fakebook posts to be “very odd.”

“All he ever posted on fakebook was about boys,” she said.

Before his page was deactivated following the police raid, Newell’s page contained many posts about mentoring boys.

They included pictures from the campaign trail, the hunting cabin and wrestling matches.

In March 2020, he posted about bumping into a 13-year-old neighbor during the pandemic.

“Ordinarily to cheer him up I would have teased him, gave him a pat on the shoulder, mussed up his sweaty hair, maybe even sent him on his way with a little swat on the butt,” Newell wrote.

“I think boys especially need physical contact: picking, poking, plucking — its part of how they communicate with one another and show affection, even if it occasionally leads to a fight.”

“Over the last two decades, I’ve helped raise a couple dozen kids, and their parents have helped raise my two boys — hauling sweaty kids back from ball fields and bass ponds, patching up skinned knees and pulling ticks out of armpits, refereeing pickup games and cranking out stacks of pancakes. They turned out to be some pretty decent human beings.”

Newell and his wife divorced last year, court records show.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 08:11:52 pm by Battle »