J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California                                          March 24, 2006
The Inherent Right of ALL People to Alter or Reform Abusive Government.
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Vote YES on Amendment E for your future and your own good!

"Deliberate Disregard of Material Facts" Will Be Fully Defined
South Dakota: A November referendum, if approved,
would trash judicial independence by permitting
 lawsuits against judges for such vague charges as
"deliberate disregard of material facts."

Posted on Tue, Mar. 21, 2006

Judges under Fire

Editorial | Unbalanced criticism

Just imagine trying to evict an old bachelor judge from his ancestral farmhouse. That one stunt is proof that attacks on the independence of America's judiciary have gone too far.

Good thing for U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter that most voters in his New Hampshire hometown last week turned against the idea of seizing his house.

The justice can breathe a sigh of relief, even if he knew all along that the proposed seizure would never stand up in court, that the intent was symbolic punishment.

Property-rights activists mounted the campaign in anger over the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision last year that upheld state governments' power to seize private property for purposes of economic development. Eminent domain critics suggested taking Souter's home and converting it into the Lost Liberty Hotel.

OK, perhaps you think there's something cheeky and borderline amusing about the Souter campaign.

There's nothing funny, though, about the overall climate of attacks on judges and the bedrock idea of judicial independence.

From property rights, to end-of-life issues, to criminal sentencing and more, judges' decisions are under siege in a way that threatens courts' critical role as check-and-balance.

The Souter controversy seems benign compared to the malevolence afoot in South Dakota: A November referendum, if approved, would trash judicial independence by permitting lawsuits against judges for such vague charges as "deliberate disregard of material facts."

In practice, the state's Judicial Accountability Initiative Law - that's right, the acronym is JAIL - will serve to cow judges who seek to exercise their role as, well... judges.

There's ample evidence, most recently with Souter, that judges are being assailed not for actual wrongdoing, but for making correct, but unpopular decisions.

Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R., Texas) ominously suggested that federal judges in the Terri Schiavo feeding-tube case would "answer for their behavior." Their behavior consisted of following the law in ways a baying pack of politicians found inconvenient.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) also mused last year that courthouse violence could stem from unpopular rulings. After such reckless comments - and with the murders last year of a Chicago judge's husband and mother - it's no wonder that about 1,500 federal judges have put in for government-installed security systems at their homes.

The Bush administration hasn't helped by resisting court oversight of terror suspects' detention and of warrantless spying on Americans. The White House sends a message that the courts aren't needed as a check on the potential abuse of power.

Thankfully, we're seeing some push-back - none more eloquent than a recent speech by retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Warning "against those who would strong-arm the judiciary," O'Connor said, "It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

*   *   *

Holding judges accountable for any "deliberate violation of law, fraud or conspiracy, intentional violation of due process of law, deliberate disregard of material facts, judicial acts without jurisdiction, blocking of a lawful conclusion of a case, or any deliberate violation of the Constitutions of South Dakota or the United States, notwithstanding Common Law, or any other contrary statute" (2, South Dakota J.A.I.L. Amendment) is arbitrarily and irresponsibly labeled as "malevolence" in the above editorial, without citing any facts to support that unfounded conclusion.
The editorial fails to cite any evidence from the J.A.I.L. Amendment that indicates that judges "are being assailed not for actual wrongdoing, but for making correct, but unpopular decisions." To the contrary, the violations of law cited above show otherwise. Making false statements contrary to the evidence is a violation of the SPJ Code of Ethics http://spj.org/ethics.asp.
Any of the seven violations listed will be fully explained, described, and defined in the court record and presented to the judge(s) for rehearing or reconsideration, and the judge given every opportunity to question any vagueness he may claim before making his ruling. The record will consist of specific quotations, illustrations, definitions, and empirical evidence clearly showing proof of any violations alleged-- thus eliminating any question of vagueness. There should be no excuse for vagueness of charges once all judicial remedies have been exhausted and a complete court record established by the time the matter is presented to the Special Grand Jury under J.A.I.L.

J.A.I.L.- Judicial Accountability Initiative Law - www.jail4judges.org
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"..it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless
minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.." - Samuel Adams
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is
striking at the root."                         -- Henry David Thoreau    <><

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