Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our New Ruling Class in Action



There is only one angle I want to comment on regarding the case that everyone has been talking about- I am loathe to even mention the name again. Circuit Court Judge Larry Seidlin showed America that judges are not some kind of demi-gods who deserve to have the final word on everything, even though they often do. They are human beings, just like our legislators. Some are better, and some, like Seidlin, are worse. But under no circumstances should people like Larry Seidlin and his fellow judges have the final word on what the rules of society ought to be.

The judge interjected himself into testimony. His behavior during the trial was bizarre. He talked about his daily routine and wardrobe. He chatted nostalgically about his roots in New York, where he was once a cab driver. He referred to people in the trial by nicknames he made up for them such as "Texas," "California" and "Mama". He sobbed. He talked about his marital problems. Most of the testimony he allowed in the trial was irrelevant to the decision. And at the end of it all he made a decision that Susan Filan, an MSNBC legal analyst, called "insane."

My point is simply this: America needs to re-evaluate the power of judges in our society. It's not whether we have given too much authority to these judges, but whether or not we need to pare back the authority they have awarded themselves in a series of rulings and changed legal practices over the years.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always dangerous to choose one case you saw on TV and extrapolate that something is wrong with judges in our society. The vast majority of judges do their job well. Our justice system -- charged with the weighty and often conflicty tasks of (1) protecting the rights of litigants while (2) dispensing justice in a timely and efficient manner, functions surprisingly well, especially when compared with justice systems in other countries.

Maybe I need to go to a blog that I don't like, write about it, and suggest we need to re-evaluate the role of bloggers in our society.

6:15 AM, February 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an attorney, I will say unequivocally that 99%+ of judges are good, decent, intelligent, people performing a thankless service.

As distasteful as the Florida mess was/is it shows a good use of cameras in the courtroom. When the people elect judges, they need some idea of who it is that is up there. The cameras exposed to the voters a weirdo they need rid of.

As a legal professional, seeing him in action made me appreciate the quality of even the small fraction of judges I deal with that I really don't care for.

9:23 AM, February 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with 9:23, and I think this judge is getting so much attention and outrage because he is so unlike most judges. He is not the norm.

I also think more people should pay a visit to their local courtroom and watch some proceedings. Then you would see that most judges are more concerned with the proceedings then their own image. I don't agree with all of the rulings made by my local judges, but I do have confidence in their abilities and decorum.

10:18 AM, February 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judges have made themselves more powerful since the founding of the nation. The founders knew the possibility existed but they assumed that the legislature would not allow judges to tread on their rightful Constitutional jurisdiction. Unfortunately they were wrong. When the legislature figured out that judges would impose what they could not get passed legislatively, individual liberties vanished, the federal gov. expanded its power, and state governments became almost irrelevant.

But until the other branches of government push back, judges will continue to expand the scope of their power.

10:23 AM, February 23, 2007  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

This is Mrs.Moore-

Go find ten more of your friends, so you'll have a better chance when my husband gets home tonight!

12:26 PM, February 23, 2007  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

This is Mr. Moore. I am taking my lovely wife out tonight, the discourse will have to be postponed until tomorrow.

4:23 PM, February 23, 2007  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Judges of course, come from lawyers. Not all lawyers are bad, it is just the 95% that give the rest of them a bad name!

bud-a-bing!

What's the difference between a catfish and a lawyer?

One of them is a slippery, slimey mud-sucking bottom-feeder; and the other one is a fish!


bud-a-bing!

Just some little jokes there. Actually, as a Christian, I want to have a Christ-like atitude toward lawyers- seek Luke 11:52

That was another little joke. I am sure he was talking about another kind of lawyer there. Actually, a lawyer who also preaches married my wife and I.

12:13 PM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Ok, kidding aside, this is not just "one judge you saw on TV". Seidlen is just the LATEST example of why judges should not be allowed to have the power they have. Seidlen is evidence, the over-reach by the courts in Lakeview is evidence. The Kelo decision is evidence.

Judge Hendren sending Wayne Fincher to prison by not allowing him to make constitutional defenses to a jury- something every American should have a right to do- that is evidence. The pattern extends the Lawrence v. Texas case, where the court over-ruled ITSELF from only 17 years before to throw out all state sodomy laws. It extends to discovering a new "right" to redefine marriage in order to accomodate deviants. Throw in Judge Morris in Alabama who wrote "the state cannot acknowledge God" even though the Founders thought it essential that the state do so. That is more evidence. Roe v. Wade is evidence.

This is not about one judge. This is not about "extrapolation", this is about a pattern, and about the unwarranted and disproportionate amount of trust and authority that people give to one branch of the government at the expense of the other two.

2:30 PM, February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cases you cite are all over the board. Examples:

Kelo. Have you read the Kelo decision? It wasn't about exercising power -- in fact, it was about NOT exercising power. The Supreme Court declined to overrule a local jurisdiction's decision to condemn property. Kelo, whether you agree with the reasoning of the decision or not, was a Court exercising restraint, not exericisng power.

Hendren. He is as conservative a judge as you'll find. He enforced a law passed by Congress, that has been around since the 1930s. Maybe you don't like the law, but even the NRA doesn't oppose it.

Lawrence v. Texas and Lakeview are versions of a Court enforcing constitutional standards, but they are very different cases. Lakeview of course involves a state constituional right to an adequate education. The Lakeview Court, in fact, took a conservative approach by never proscribing a remedy and never ordering tax increases.

And, I get so tired of people saying that Courts today are more invasive than in the past. If you think that, then you don't know much about history. Go back and read about a decision called Lochner and the era in which it was decided. The Supreme Court from 1890-1937 was actually more proactive and invasive than our Court was today.

3:21 PM, February 24, 2007  
Anonymous You Know Who said...

Yes, the courts "restrain" themselves when it comes to protecting citizen's constitutional rights to own property or keep and bear arms. They "restrain" themselves from protecting the people against their government. The only "rights" they are keen on are things like abortion, sodomy, ordering legislatures to spend more tax money, and "gay marriage".

If Hendren is "the most conservative judge you will find" then it only makes my point that we need more conservative judges. At any rate I am "beyond left and right" on this one. If conservative means fascist, then I don't want to be one.

Lawrence "enforcing constitutional standards"? They pulled that ruling out of thin air, and it was the exact opposite of their ruling from only 17 years before. Did the constitution change in that time or did they just decide it was time to push the envelop further?

Lakeview: Two of the Justices said the same thing I am saying on Lakeview. They ordered SPENDING increases at it was only a matter of timing that that did not involve tax increases. Legislatures have the power of the purse strings in our form of government and all five who won't respect that should have been impeached.

We could impeach a judge in this country every month for the next ten years and still not get to all the ones that we need to get rid of.

Yes, courts have been intrusive for a long time. In past days, Congress had more guts and actually impeached them for it, which held them back some. 61 trials for impeachment of judges from 1783 to 1960. Since then, maybe two. They have dropped the ball and our nation is worse off for it.

6:33 PM, February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Actually, a lawyer who also preaches married my wife and I."

Polygamy.

8:39 PM, February 24, 2007  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Touche! I should have said that my wife and I were married by a gentleman who preaches in addition to practicing law.

11:43 AM, February 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're quite okay, Mark. "Marry" has for centuries been used as an intransitive verb describing the action of a minister uniting a husband and wife in matrimony. I'm sure the 8:39 comment was nothing more than a cheap joke.

12:50 PM, February 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops! transitive verb, that is.

12:54 PM, February 25, 2007  

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