Friday, September 17, 2010

They Write Letters, Old Judges Edition.

What do cranky retired federal judges do for fun?

They write letters denouncing the judicial appointment crisis, of course:
But the use of secret holds and filibusters undermine the credibility of the judiciary and, by contributing to lengthy vacancies on the courts, impede the courts’ ability to ensure that cases can be heard and adjudicated in a timely fashion. At this moment, our courts are overburdened and increasingly certain vacancies are being designated as “emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the Courts because of the length of time the court has been without a judge. This situation is untenable for a country that believes in rule of law.
"Rule of law" -- how deliciously quaint.

Given the myriad and pressing problems facing our nation, to say there is an "enthusiasm gap" among the electorate regarding judicial nominations is an understatement.

But we're grown-ups.

We're supposed to help focus attention on things that matter, and by that I mean Koran-burning nutjobs and enforcing "no-Mosque" zones in culturally significant spots like Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The sad irony is, as Dahlia Lithwick noted recently in Slate, that the issue is truly bipartisan:
Whether you support Obama's legislative agenda or abhor it, having properly functioning courts should matter, because today in America every single legislative action has an equal and opposite legal reaction.
I know I know, Bork payback trumps all.......


Anonymous said...

Good post.

Anonymous said...

Calling the SHUMIE

Shoot The Lawyers said...

This argument is a distant cousin of another favorite of retired federal judges: they don't get paid enough. Are the courts really overburdened? My hunch tells me no. There must be a chart showing the number of civil and criminal filings over the past 20 years in the Southern District. Divide that by the number of judges less the cases that settle out quickly or result in defaults and you will have a pretty good idea of the caseload. A counterpoint to this argument: the Supremes issue fewer written opinions than they did 20 or 30 years ago. Where is the clamor for reducing the number from 9 to 7? Maybe send some of them down here to try cases. But wait. It just hit me. That would be a disaster. Of the 9 justices, I believe Sotamayor is the only one who has ever conducted a trial in district court. But the disaster would be funny: can you imagine someone like Eddie O'Donnell banging heads with Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Godwhacker said...

Rule of law, ha!

More like anarcho-totalitarianism.

Anonymous said...

I can suggest three to get rid of.