Too Bad Judgeships Are Political Appointments and Not Based on Merit

Throughout the years that I practiced law (1974-2001), it never ceased to amaze me to see so many men and women sitting as judges who had no business being there. While most judges were intelligent people, there were some who clearly were not. Many judges viewed their positions as ones of immense importance to society and took the time and effort to consider all relevant evidence and to reach fair and reasoned decisions, based on the law. Many, however, did not care about justice, fairness, evidence, or the law. Many viewed their positions as vehicles to advance their personal, political, and sometimes religious beliefs. The vast majority of judges sitting in Los Angeles Country, and I guarantee in other metropolitan areas, were drawn from giant law firms and had spent their legal careers representing big business and insurance companies, or were career prosecutors who never saw an innocent person unfairly charged with a crime. These judges had the interests of corporate profit and claims denial, and law & order, foremost in their minds, and were more than willing to protect such interests, while denying rights and recoveries from middle class and working class litigants, and in making it extremely difficult for the wrongly charged to get a fair day in criminal court.

Since the beginning of time, California governors - and the governors of other states, I'm sure all of the other states - primarily have based their judicial appointments on the political beliefs of prospective judges, and if you wanted to be a judge in Los Angeles, it was a major advantage if you had attended the country club of local universities and were a usc brain surgeon, uh, trojan.
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The same is true in the federal system, and thus we have brain-dead presidents such as george w bush appointing totally incompetent nominees to the US Supreme Court, such as Harriet Miers, and political animals such as george h. w. bush appointing people such as Clarence Thomas, who has done nothing but cast votes in line with his political and religious beliefs, and with the positions advocated by his wife’s employers in the lobbying industry.

So, why discuss this now? Here is why. Running counter to case after case in state courts and federal courts around the country, a federal judge in Louisiana this week upheld a

state law that prohibits same-sex marriage and that prohibits the state from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions. His opinion went on one of the political and religious rants so popular among the likes of Rick Santorum and Paul Broun, stating the if you legalize marriage between two men or two women, then the next step will between a father and daughter, mother and son, or for three or more people. He left out the animal part of it about which Santorum and others so often also speak.

So, just who is this judge, and for what else is he famous, or infamous? Well, this opinion was written by 78-year-old U.S. District Court Judge Martin L.C. Feldman, who has been a federal judge since being appointed by the other brain-dead president of recent times, ronald reagan, in 1983. Dispensing injustice is nothing new for Feldman, and he’s now been doing it for 31 years.

Before this week, his most outrageous case revolved around the gulf coast and big oil. In June of 2010, following the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil rig disaster, a moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling was issued, and it was Feldman, in the case of Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC v. Salazar, who issued an injunction blocking the moratorium. But, there is more to the story and a right wing, pro big business judge, appointed by

conservative darling, telling the government they cannot interfere with big oil making the multi-million-dollar-per-day profits. It seems that Judge Feldman, back in 2010 when he made this ruling, owned stock in Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, in Exxon-Mobil, the world's richest and most power corporation, in
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BlackRock Mutual Funds, the largest holder of stock in BP, and in additional oil companies that all had significant financial interests in continuing offshore oil drilling. Feldman did not recuse himself and no action was taken in big oil-controlled Louisiana, for the stated reason that none of the companies in which Feldman had a financial interest was a party to the particular lawsuit before him (though they all would gain significant financial advantages by virtue of his ruling).

Life tenure of federal judges and appointments based on politics, religion, and big business all contribute to the perversion of a justice system that on paper looks to all the world as one that can and does protect the rights of the poor and powerless. In practice, that is very far from reality.

About theHoundDawg

For many years as a lawyer, I saw much of the good and bad of society, and did what I could to right many wrongs. The lack of understanding of what is good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, as evidenced by such events as the election of King W as president, (who as such far surpassed the evil of richard nixon but not quite that of ronald reagan) lead me in a new direction, to spend my time trying to understand what is happening to our society, to try as best I can to spread my insights to others, and along the way to maybe even eke out a living through the internet.
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One Response to Too Bad Judgeships Are Political Appointments and Not Based on Merit

  1. Bob Orso says:

    Too bad indeed in deed…

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