Yes, this is primarily the milieu of our favourite federal blogger. But unlike us, he is not anonymous and needs to go before these judges. We suffer from no such concerns.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE: Federal District Judge William Zloch (former chief Judge the of Southern District of Florida); Federal District Judge Federico Moreno (current Chief Judge of the Southern District of Florida); The Honorable Donald Graham (next in line to the throne of Chief Judge of the Southern District of Florida.)
Our play begins as Chief Judge Fred Moreno opens his mail sometime shortly after February 9, 2009. He receives this memo (courtesy of the DBR) from Judge Zloch wondering whether Judge Moreno would step down early as Chief Judge so that Judge Donald Graham could have a turn in the Captain's seat?
The problem for Judge Graham, as succinctly divined by Judge Zloch, is that while Graham is next in line to the throne, certain arcane federal regulations do not allow judges to become chief judges if their term would begin after they turn 65 (or after they turn into a pumpkin at midnight.) With apparently nothing better to do than look at a calendar, Judge Zloch discovered that Judge Graham will turn 65 on December 15, 2013, while CJ Moreno's term is due to expire on June 30, 2014. If things play out the way they currently are set, Judge Graham will miss out on his turn. He will have to settle for his measly job for life, salary and pension and benefits for life, and how sad would that be?
Apparently very sad in Judge Zloch's view.
Calling Judge Graham a man of "tremendous moral character and courage" , Zloch cited to the precedent that Judge John Gobold, Chief Judge of the 11th Circuit, stepped down early so Judge Roney could become Chief Judge and avoid being "Grahmed out". (cf, Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803)
The strong rumor is that Judge Moreno responded thusly: "Why don't you practice what you preach? You could have stepped down early for me and you didn't."
Federal District Court Judges slugging it out. Now that's what we like to see. Almost makes Broward look civil.
The odd part of Judge Zloch's memo ("All we are saying, is give Graham a chance") is that he saw fit to send it to not just the other Judges in the Southen District, but also to the following individuals: Congressman Alcee Hastings (impeached as a Judge from the Southern District); Congressman Kendrick Meek; lawyer H.T. Smith; lawyer Johnny McCray; lawyer Perry Thurston; lawyer Larry Handfield; and others.
Now for some reason we were left off that list. But what do every one of those individuals on that list have in common? Hint- it's not their birthdays.
Apparently while race is not a factor for Justice Clarence Thomas in any decision, it is the deciding factor for Judge Zloch in who should become chief judge and why.
In the final analysis, this memo is a slap in the face to Judge Graham. He has many many things to be proud of. He is a universally well respected Judge. There isn't a lawyer I know who would not put Judge Graham on the top of any list of judges they would like to try a case in front of. Judge Graham is accomplished, bright, fair, and charitable. To debase his accomplishments by insinuating that his race played or should play any part whatsoever in his success is demeaning.
But by all means let this not be the end of it. Hopefully Judge Moreno's memo will be leaked, and this can end up as a special on TBS: "When Federal Judges Fight." In any event, it spared you, dear reader, another boring exposition on Ayn Rand's views on the epistemology of individual rights.