Sunday, April 23, 2017

Judge Wendell Griffin Is a Disgrace to the Judiciary

Once upon a time, in an era not long ago, the role of judges was to enforce the law and follow the Constitution. Our democracy is based on the rule of law, and not the rule of man. Then came the Warren Court, which turned the Supreme Court into a judicial legislature. The Constitution evolved into a “living constitution,” which would be molded to fit the social views of the individual jurists. “Social justice,” as defined, interpreted, and applied by progressives will become the leitmotif for judges. Some conservative Supreme Court justices succumb to Potomac Fever and become progressively liberal. Justice Kennedy is an example. He sojourns in Salzberg, Austria during the summer He is imbued with European social justice and believes international law and foreign law should be used in interpreting our constitution. European social democracy is failing the people of Europe. The framers of the Constitution rejected much of European law in drafting the Constitution. The Constitution posited a government of limited powers. The Bill of Rights is intended to protect the rights of the people., Today, judges are no longer be appointed on their judicial expertise and impartiality, but rather on their political views. Judicial appointments became partisan appointments after Senator Kennedy Borked Judge Robert Bork. The Democrats increasingly turned to the courts to advance their political goals unachievable through the political process. Republicans responded at both the state and federal level by seeking conservative appointments to the federal courts. State judicial elections have become pitched battles with out-of-state money pouring into the races. The wishes of the President on appointments cannot always be followed. Senate confirmations under the unwritten rules of the Senate can be vetoed by either Senator of the state in which the judge is to appointed and confirmed. Take the Ninth Circuit for example. California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii each have two very liberal Senators. Thus the Circuit judges and district court judges will be overwhelmingly liberal, whether appointed by a Democratic or Republican president. The Ninth Circuit was the most conservative when I was in law school. It has increasingly become the most liberal and likely to ignore the law and rewrite the Constitution. Judge James Robart and the three Ninth Circuit appellate judges could thereby ignore the Constitution, statutes, and precedence in tossing President Trump’s immigration ban. Judges are human. They are subject to the same emotional response as the rest of us, but are supposed to present an aura of judicial impartiality, such that the public can continue to respect the judiciary. The American people have jaundiced opinions of presidents, governors, and legislators. The judiciary should not lose the respect of the people. Judges can be activists, but most know to couch their opinions in judicial legalese. Arkansas Judge Wendell Griffin, an ordained Baptist Minister, is a prime example of a judge stepping over the line and letting his biases and prejudices blatantly show outside the courtroom for all the public to see. Capital punishment is a major social issue today. Arkansas announced it was planning to execute two death row prisoners within a few weeks. Judge Griffin issued an injunction staying the execution of eight of the defendants. He claimed it was a matter of pure property law. A supplier of one of the drugs to be used in the execution claimed the State of Arkansas was misusing the drug. He ruled, he said, purely as a property matter: “My job as a judge was to apply property law to the facts presented by the verified complaint and decide whether the medical supplier moving party was likely to succeed on its property law claim for return of vecuronium bromide.” He was most likely wrong, but that could be reversed on appeal. The problem is what he did after his decision. He went to a Good Friday anti-capital punishment demonstration and lay on a cot for 1½ hours, professing to be an executed dead man. Judge Griffin blogged: While the world meditates about divine love, forgiveness, justice, and hope, Arkansas officials plan to commit a series of homicides.” He turned his opposition to capital punishment into a political statement, which brings discredit and disrespect on the judiciary. The Alabama Supreme Court has stripped him of his power to decide capital punishment cases. Several Arkansas legislators have called for his impeachment.

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