We end the weekend with a lot more questions than answers regarding the emergency closure of the civil courthouse.
Can judges and staff- who just recently were told to wind down remote Zoom hearings and return to their chambers and courtrooms safely go to 73 West Flagler street and get their laptops and files and belongings?
Where will the vultures go if the courthouse collapses?
The denizens of the REGJB are wondering: What about us? Is our building safe?
No engineer we, we posit that the old gray lady is a strong as can be. But for a slight sway in the foundations we noticed in June 2004 when we were a recipient of an unlikely guilty verdict (later reversed on appeal) the building has withstood hurricanes and Santeria spells stoutly.
An Open Letter to Chief Judge Altonaga:
Dear Judge Altonaga:
You preside over a district that has a multi-courthouse complex just down the road from the now condemned civil courthouse. Many of your former state colleagues are in need of a courtroom to try their cases. The federal system is opening slowly. Surely within the confines of the King or Atkins building there must be a courtroom or two you can spare.
And yes, we are aware that there probably is a bureau in Washington whose entire mandate is to make sure federal properties are not appropriated by the states. Several CFRs need to be consulted, with reams of red tape needing to be cut.
But we are a "United" states. We help each other when we need it. When a pandemic hit our country, the federal government stepped up and ....Ok...bad example. But when a Hurricane devastated Louisiana President Bush flew over the storm devastated areas on the way to a vacation and ....alright...another unfortunate example. When the South rebelled against the North Lincoln saved the Union. Let's start with that. It's just a few courtrooms. The lights are already on. The AC is being used and paid for with our tax dollars.
How about it? A little Federal/ State comity and before you know it Bernie Sanders will be having lox and bagels with Mitch McConnell as they agree on a tax and spending bill. Maybe your small act of kindness will go a long way towards healing bitter divides. (Of course many of those civil lawsuits might be forced to seek removal to federal court. But why go there when a simple courtroom and some coffee and water will go a long way to helping everyone?)
Best of luck in your new endeavors as CJ of the SDFL.
Your obt. svt.,
H. Rumpole, Esq., Blog Proprietor.