Sunday, June 19, 2005

Vunce Ve Own All Zee Judges....

Republicans are pecking away at judicial independence with their little peckers. From the NYTimes:
Congressional Republicans are hoping yet again to split the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers nine Western states and has issued some rulings to the dismay of conservatives, saying a breakup is the best way to reduce the caseload of the circuit's federal judges.
Yeah, right. They'd love to "reduce their caseload" so they just hear cases involving Frisco and Hollywood and stay out of the way of the Republican steamroller as it undoes the Constitution and the New Deal and hands the soul of the Nation to their corporate cronies.
Judges on the Ninth Circuit decided that the federal government probably did not have authority to prohibit medical use of marijuana. They decided it was unconstitutional for schoolchildren to recite the full Pledge of Allegiance. In both cases, they were recently reversed by the Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit also seems to be heading toward an opinion on just how schoolteachers may refer to religion in public school classrooms.

"The reason that the issue of splitting the circuit comes up repeatedly is because of dissatisfaction in some areas with some of our decisions," said Mary M. Schroeder, chief judge of the Ninth Circuit and a strong opponent of any split. "This has a long historic basis beginning with some fishing rights decisions in the 60's and going forward to the Pledge of Allegiance case and presently some of the immigration decisions."
Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said last fall that dividing the Ninth Circuit would be a priority. and linked any new judgeships to dividing the Ninth Circuit.
Sensenbrenner again. It seems they use him for a front man because everybody knows he's an old fool.
A split would not directly affect the jurisprudence of the Ninth Circuit, of course. But it might speed the day that Republican appointees become the majority in the new, smaller circuits. Also, any circuit (or circuits) created that excluded California would probably be more conservative, Professor Hellman observed.
Duh. I'm not even a perfesser an' I coulda told ya that!
Most of the judges themselves do not support a split, said Alex Kozinski, a Ninth Circuit judge. "We've taken votes of our judges regularly," Judge Kozinski said, "and we always overwhelmingly vote against the split. And these are the folks that know the work of the court."
Granted there are a lot more people out West than when the court was formed and granted their case load is heavy. Judges all over the country go back to judge school all the time, not to learn more about the law, but to study case management. There's a huge judge school at the University of Nevada in Reno. Yes, case load is a problem and something needs to be done, but it provides a very handy smokescreen to hide the Republicans' true agenda, which is to make sure cases are decided they way they want them to be. They say they want "strict constructionists". What this means is, they will tell the court what the decisions should be and then the court will "strictly construct" the ruling to fit.

As soon as Hitler controlled the German courts, the Third Reich was free to do what it wished. I hope we don't end up like them, in smoking ruins.

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