September 24, 2013

Dumbing Down the Courts

Committee for Justice president Curt Levey and noted economist and author John Lott Jr. will discuss Lott’s new book, Dumbing Down the Courts, in a conference call at noon on September 25.  The book is "a critical read for anyone who seeks to understand the judicial confirmation battles of recent decades," said former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese.
Lott’s book uses the largest, most detailed data set on judicial confirmations ever assembled to analyze both the reasons behind the increasingly politicized and protracted judicial confirmation process and the factors that determine a nominee’s chances for confirmation. Subtitled How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges off the Bench, Lott’s book reveals that the brightest nominees have a reduced chance of being confirmed.
Mr. Levey will comment on the book based on his eight years at the center of judicial confirmation battles as general counsel and then head of the Committee for Justice.  Following remarks by Lott and Levey, the floor will be opened to questions from callers.  The dial-in number is 888-752-3232.  The call is part of the Federalist Society’s teleforum program.


September 16, 2013

Obama’s Law Enforcement Priorities

Here is a graphic example of how the media protects federal judges by not reporting their outrages. On July 19, in U.S. v. Strong, a First Circuit majority upheld the seven-day jail sentence of Ronald Strong, a 50-year-old in prematurely poor health. 13 medications for heart and kidney problems produced a sudden uncontrollable attack of diarrhea in a federal courthouse, with a significant mess in a small one-person bathroom.  
While the case of Nidal Hasan, caught red-handed committing mass murder at Fort Hood, dragged on for four years, with many more years of appeals likely, Strong was charged by an Obama-appointed prosecutor within three days – three days! – with willfully damaging federal property, creating a hazard and creating a nuisance. He was found guilty within 113 days and lost his appeal within two years – before the Hasan trial even began.

In my view, it was prosecutorial abuse to even bring such a case and judicial abuse to uphold the conviction.

The essence of the devastating dissent (22) by Judge Torruella, a Reagan appointee, which should be read fully, was that the government had violated the very law it used to prosecute Strong, and he lacked the required criminal intent in dealing with what was, after all, a wholly unexpected accident.

By contrast, I contend that the majority judges, appointed by Clinton and Obama,

were clearly out to get Strong. To declare that he had been "willful," they resorted to rank speculation rather than proof.  Without demonstrating any causal connections, they (1) asserted that he had received "implied notice" of the regulation the government itself was required, but failed, to observe to assure actual notice; (2) cited his loss of a Social Security case; and (3) if that were not enough, found that he "may have" -- "may have"?! -- acted willfully because of the delay in his being given access to the bathroom.  
        Can any honest person believe that activist liberal judges would ever accept "may have" as proof in a murder case?
Finally, this case punctuates the critical importance of the presidents who appoint prosecutors and judges.

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