Today is the first Monday in October, and you know what that means.
Well for President Bush Monday means fried chicken and mashed potatoes, but for the rest of the country who cares, the First Monday in October means the beginning of the new term for the Supreme Court.
The Robert’s court finds itself as the most divided court in history with four justices in the conservative bloc, 4 justices in the liberal bloc, and moderate conservative Anthony Kennedy in the unlikely position as the sole voice of what the law in America means.
One wonders what Roberts, with the most divisive supreme court term in history behind him, would say now about his confirmation testimony in which he said- with a straight face- that he had no ideological agenda to pursue and viewed his job as an umpire-“ just calling balls and strikes as I see em.”
Last term saw the Court eroding the rights defendants have under habeas corpus, and for the first time since Brown v. Board of Education, the court came down on the side of school segregation, ordering Seattle and Kentucky to stop their school integration program.
Roberts came to the job promising to bring consensus and trying to avoid divisive 5-4 opinions. He currently leads a court that has turned the formerly mild John Paul Stevens into the great dissenter.
The Court’s decision in Bowles v. Russell closing the courthouse doors to a prisoner, who following a federal judge’s instructions filed a notice of appeal on the 17th day after a decision, when the law only gave him 14 days, prompted this outburst from Justice Souter:“it is intolerable for the judicial system to treat people this way.” He added, “There is not even a technical justification for condoning this bait and switch.”
And this was Steven’s opening paragraph of his dissent in the desegregation cases:
There is a cruel irony in THE CHIEF JUSTICE’S reliance on our decision in Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U. S. 294 (1955). The first sentence in the concluding paragraph of his opinion states: "Before Brown, schoolchildren were told where they could and could not go to school based on the color of their skin." Ante, at 40. This sentence reminds me of Anatole Frances observation: " [T]he majestic equality of the la[w], forbid[s] rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." THE CHIEF JUSTICE fails to note that it was only black schoolchildren who were so ordered; indeed, the history books do not tell stories of white children struggling to attend black schools. In this and other ways, THE CHIEF JUSTICE rewrites the history of one of this Court's most important decisions.
We watch the opening of the new term with the suspicion that four ideologues have set out on a course to re-write many more of the Court’s most important decisions in a manner that fits into their philosophy. What they fail to recognize is that by ignoring the importance of precedence, they are turning the court into a political pendulum, and what they do now is destined to be un-done by the opposite political philosophy when the court, some time in the future, has a different majority with different beliefs. In the end it is the majesty of the law which suffers through the diminishment of legal rationale, replaced by partisan argument of ipse dixit reasoning.
The 11th Circuit Historical Society is at it again!!!!
You just can’t keep these wild guys quiet. Its party party party all the time. This time it is tomorrow, Tuesday October 2, 2007 at 6:30 PM., at their regular hangout at the Historical Museum across the street from the Civil Courthouse at 101 West Flagler Street. The topic tomorrow is the book written by retired Circuit Court Judge Seymour Gelber: "On Behalf of Children - A History of Judicial Activism in the Dade County Juvenile Court." Call 305.375.1619 or 305.375.1492 to RSVP with Judge Scott Silverman and his staff.
And finally, comes this lengthy email from Rick Freedman who tirelessly devotes his time to this court appointment mess:
Beginning Monday, October 1, 2007, there will be major changes taking place in the Court Appointed Counsel system.
The Offices of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel can begin operation on October 1, 2007. Our Regional Director, Joe George has not found office space, nor has he hired the approximately 48 employees (attorneys and staff) and therefore he will not be open for business on Monday (nor should he be, adds Rumpole. Ever.). That means the conflicts should continue to flow at the same rate until Mr. George opens his office. This could occur as late as December 31, 2007. (or perhaps the first of never. Rumpole)
Because of some quirky language in the bill, the AOC will still maintain the Registry and Judge Farina as the Chief Judge will still be responsible for overseeing the Registry. The Screening Committee will continue to function, with Gene Zenobi as Chair, and the Fee Review Committee will continue with David S. Markus as Chair. Having said that, the AOC will NOT be responsible for the distribution of the conflict cases. They have been doing this job effectively for the past 39 months. Now that responsibility shifts to the Clerk of the Court and Harvey Ruvin. (Rumpole says, oh this oughtta be good. Given their efficiency for losing files, lets see how quickly the clerks grind the court appointment system down to the efficiency of .....well.....the clerk's office. People will wait for months to get lawyers appointed, and while they're at it they should make the judges run up and down the hallways of the ninth floor the way we do to get files. I can see it now: "Dear Judge, in order to have the clerk appoint an attorney on your case, please go to the ninth floor, wait in the public line until you get to the window. Then the clerk will give you a number. Walk that number down to the attorney's room and wait for the clerk. That clerk will then call out numbers. When your number is called, you will be given a password. Then walk back to the original line, wait in line, and go to the window and give the clerk the password. The clerk should enter the password in the computer to give you a name, but in all likelihood, the clerk will tell you the system is down, and to come back in an hour. Hope this makes your court appointment experience an enjoyable one. Sincerely, Harvey Ruvin, clerk of the everlasting lines and circuit court."
On Monday, each in court Calendar Clerk will have software on their computers that will allow them to see the Registry and whose name is next on the appointment wheel. When a conflict is filed by the Public Defender's Office, the in court clerk will be directed by the Circuit Court Judge to assign the case to the next attorney on the list. The software has been tested to make sure that multiple court clerks operating in different courtrooms can pull this off all at the same time; (without the same attorney getting all the appointments).
Each Judge will determine the procedure for assigning the cases, with three possible alternatives: (Rumpole notes, just what our dear robed readers need, more decisions to complicate their lives and make them late for lunch at the club.)
1. The Calendar Clerk pulls up the next name and the attorney is immediately assigned to the case. The judge signs the appointment order and the appointment package is mailed to the attorney. If the attorney does not want the case, it becomes their responsibility to put it back on the calendar and WITHDRAW from the case.
2. The judge passes the case and asks his JA to attempt a phone call to the next name on the list. If the attorney is contacted, the JA can tell the judge the answer before the end of the calendar.
3. The judge indicates that the case will print out the next day and in the interim, the JA will contact the attorney that is next on the list to see if they want the case.
Therefore, if the Judge chooses option one, you will have NO choice, you will be appointed to the case. If you want out, you must affirmatively take action to do so. Email is also being considered as a way to communicate quickly that a case has been assign to you. Those in charge understand that this system is a work in progress and we expect there to be much change during the next three months.
Rumpole says, we will believe it when we see it.
See You In Court, not getting court appointments.
JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG
WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM. Winner of the prestigious Cushing Left Anterior Descending Artery Award.