J.A.I.L. News Journal
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Los Angeles, California                                             December 26, 2004

 
Waiting For Ethics
Out of Washington
 
The Washington Post has done a good research on just one of the many problems within our Federal Judiciary, to wit, conflicts of interest. However, the Washington Post is totally a babe in the woods when it comes to a proposed solution, i.e., seeking a solution from Washington.

 
washingtonpost.com
Congress Needs to Step Up on Judicial Ethics

Wednesday, December 22, 2004; Page A26

What would happen if you found out that the judge hearing your case had taken an all-expenses-paid vacation to, say, Amelia Island Plantation with your adversary? Sadly, as Carol D. Leonnig reports, the answer is nothing ["New Rules for Judges Are Weaker, Critics Say," news story, Dec. 17].

Between 1992 and 1998, over 230 federal judges -- or more than a quarter of the federal judiciary -- traveled to resorts at the expense of private interests with a stake in federal litigation. Under the pretext of "educating" judges about complex legal issues, some of the nation's worst polluters and their allies wined and dined these judges in such places as the Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, S.C.; the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort & Spa in Arizona; and the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Fla. And the public, including the parties opposing these companies in court, didn't know about it.

The Judicial Conference has made it clear that judges are unwilling to police themselves. It is up to Congress to step in and restore some semblance of responsibility and impartiality among our judiciary.

JAMES C. TURNER
Executive Director
SUZANNE M. MISHKIN
Associate Counsel
HALT -- An Organization of
Americans for Legal Reform
Washington
2004 The Washington Post Company #########

The problems in our Federal Judiciary goes far beyond conflicts of interest. The Federal Judiciary is up to its neck in corruption. Obviously, only the wealthy could afford to bus Federal Judges around the world on luxury cruses and all expense paid vacations. And why would such wealthy people reach deep into their pockets to finance these vacations for Federal Judges. Ah, yes, they have litigation cases pending before these judges, and they want favorable rulings by them.
 
Naturally, anyone can understand the beneficial potential of wining and dining these Federal Judges who are hearing their cases, but the greater question is, why would these Federal Judges accept such emoluments from litigants who have cases pending before them? Is it because these Federal Judges are too stupid to realize the impropriety of such acceptance? I hardly think so. Or is it that these Federal Judges know that they will not succumb to such temptations? No, I don't think so, for they clearly know that if they do not perform on these gifts, these benefits will be shut off. After all, these companies want something in return, and would not give away their money for nothing. Actually, merely being alone unilaterally with one of the parties to an action is unethical, and morally borders on criminal activity.
 
Don't these Federal Judges know that if they get caught, it will be lights out for them? No! They know that no one can, our will, do a thing about it. After all, they are Federal Judges! They have life-tenure! That it is more likely that Halley's Comet will return before they will be called by Congress to answer Impeachment charges. Hence, their impeachment is the furtherest thing from their minds, and reason tells us that they are 100% safe. Indeed, in the entire history of America there have only been three Federal Judges who have actually been impeached and removed from the bench. Death is more likely their demise.
 
It was Thomas Jefferson who said in 1821: "...the Federal Judiciary; an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow), working like gravity by night and by day..."
 
Already Congress is receiving so many complaints and requests for impeachments of Federal Judges, their knees are knocking under the table. They are merely hoping that this entire mess of the Federal Judiciary will not blow up upon them.
 
Anyway, the Washington Post thinks the answer is Congress. That is, that Congress is going to have to step in and create Judicial Accountability of Federal Judges. Yep, they are waiting for ethics out of Washington. Oh, yes, and perhaps you may have not heard, farmers have now discovered they can breed a type of pig that flies, so brace yourself for pig wings to come to your supermarket shelves soon. I understand that they are much more delicious than chicken.    -Ron Branson
 
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