Judge in NSA case in ACLU's pocket? - Page 5 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #41 of 116 (permalink) Old 08-25-2006, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by JimSmith
That, sir, I won't deny. But please, carry that standard into the booth with you when you vote, and pay close attention to the recent slew of scandals afflicting the Party in power. It is not some inherent Republican characteristic, it is human nature. The Democrats at the moment are not the target of the same level of bribery because they are just not a good place for the investment, so to speak. The conflict of interest issue, if held to the standard you are proposing in this thread in a vindictive and politically motivated way, would clearly disqualify nearly everyone runniing for Congress. But, do your research and vote by your standards. Just don't make the standard a rubber yardstick or a tool absent from the voting booth altogether. Jim
Generally I vote for the people that I think will do me the least amount of damage. That is generally a conservative group of contenders.

As to Democrats being less likely to be the subject of bribery, well that may be true, but that will also change if and when they get back into power. The fact is I still trust liberals far less then conservatives, so it's not likely I'll vote that way.

I am quite offended by being called vindictive and politically motivated when I am clearly less aggressive and politically directed then many, if not most that have added to this thread. Perhaps your own political agenda has perverted your
view of that, but never the less that is still true.

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post #42 of 116 (permalink) Old 08-25-2006, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce R.
Generally I vote for the people that I think will do me the least amount of damage. That is generally a conservative group of contenders.
Generally, I am in agreement with this, but specifically this group of Republicans are, for one, NOT CONSERVATIVE. They are fiscal liberals and social conservatives. The worst kind of both IMO. I'm all about tax cuts when coupled with spending cuts but the tax cuts and discretionary spending increases is like borrowing from your kids' future. I'm also for the conservation of my liberties, something which seems to be in opposition to this administration.
I have a hard time imagining anyone, including the Dems, inflicting the amount of damage to me and this country that this "conservative" administration has wrought. These guys are radicals, not conservatives.
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post #43 of 116 (permalink) Old 08-25-2006, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by That Guy
Generally, I am in agreement with this, but specifically this group of Republicans are, for one, NOT CONSERVATIVE. They are fiscal liberals and social conservatives. The worst kind of both IMO. I'm all about tax cuts when coupled with spending cuts but the tax cuts and discretionary spending increases is like borrowing from your kids' future. I'm also for the conservation of my liberties, something which seems to be in opposition to this administration.
I have a hard time imagining anyone, including the Dems, inflicting the amount of damage to me and this country that this "conservative" administration has wrought. These guys are radicals, not conservatives.
I cannot argue with that assessment.
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post #44 of 116 (permalink) Old 08-25-2006, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by That Guy
Generally, I am in agreement with this, but specifically this group of Republicans are, for one, NOT CONSERVATIVE. They are fiscal liberals and social conservatives. The worst kind of both IMO. I'm all about tax cuts when coupled with spending cuts but the tax cuts and discretionary spending increases is like borrowing from your kids' future. I'm also for the conservation of my liberties, something which seems to be in opposition to this administration.
I have a hard time imagining anyone, including the Dems, inflicting the amount of damage to me and this country that this "conservative" administration has wrought. These guys are radicals, not conservatives.
The problem I have is that I'm very pro 2nd Amendment, and the Dems. record there isn't very positive, of course I can't say to much about the Republicans either as of late.

"Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon, the pigeon knocks over all the pieces, on the board and then struts around like it won the game."
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"The only people who have quick answers don't have the responsibility of making the decisions."
Justice Clarence Thomas
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post #45 of 116 (permalink) Old 08-26-2006, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Botnst
I don't see what the problem is with that.

Would you suggest that judges ought not be allowed to belong to organizations that have an interest in constitutional issues?

Bot
Would you suggest that it is proper for a judge who has intimate ties with the ACLU to not disclose the exiostence of those ties?

Had they known about the judge's intimate financial ties witht he ACLU the government attorneys could have:

1. Known about the situation and be ready for it; and
2. Had the opportunity to brief the issue of the apparent conflict of interest (apparent or real) and build a case for appeal.

Judges must be purer than Caesar's wife.

Anything less than that corrupts the system.

Regardless of how you come on the issue, you should be horrified by the blatant judge-shopping that went on here.

And for those who think that this is no big deal, and that judge shopping does not have a detrimental effect on the judicial system, then why are liberals so vehemently opposed to ANY judicial appointment by President Bush.

Think about it.
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post #46 of 116 (permalink) Old 08-26-2006, 10:30 AM
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So you are saying federal judges are appointed non-politically? That a judge appointed by Jimmy Carter should not reflect Jimmy Carter's views, and one appointed George Bush would not reflect George Bush's views? And when a Democratic president arrives, will you, unlike the nasty old Democrats, be in favor of whatever judges the Democrats appoint? Also, your statement "intimate ties with the ACLU", do you have some proof of that? As far as I can see, it's just some bullshit you made up.
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post #47 of 116 (permalink) Old 08-26-2006, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FeelTheLove
Did you see a problem with Cheney going duck hunting with Scalia?
Can you, at least for once, stay on focus and answer the question posed by BB w/o going off on another "i-hate-Bush" rampage?

Take each case on a case by case examination.

Not only did this judge give money to an organization that gives money to the ACLU (a significant amount of cash at that), but she is also a trustee and treasurer of that same organization.

Thus, she could, and can, control, cash infusions to the ACLU.

Answer this if you can (w/o veering off topic, if you can).

Shouldn't the judge, at the very least, have informed the parties of her connection to the ACLU, when hearing a case brought by the ACLU.

And, apropos to that, don't you think it is rather peculiar that the ACLU brought this lawsuit in a federal District Court with a friendly judge?

Or is your anti-Bush, anti-Republican phobia so deeply entrenched that it blinds you to those kinds of sins?

Finally, to answer your question, I do think it was improper for Scalia to have gone duck hunting with the VP.

If Imade the rules, judges would not be allowed to accept any "freebies" including lunches, from others. A few years ago in California there was a big influence-peddling scandal involving some state judges in San Diego. As a result of legislation passed in its aftermath, judges cannot even accept a free lunch from attorneys or other people who may have business in fornt of the court (not just in front of the particular judge).

I think that's the right way to go. And judges should not be allowed to maintain membership in organizations involved, or connected to, political lobbying or activism.

Keep our judges clean and pure.
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post #48 of 116 (permalink) Old 08-26-2006, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FeelTheLove
So you are saying federal judges are appointed non-politically? That a judge appointed by Jimmy Carter should not reflect Jimmy Carter's views, and one appointed George Bush would not reflect George Bush's views? And when a Democratic president arrives, will you, unlike the nasty old Democrats, be in favor of whatever judges the Democrats appoint? Also, your statement "intimate ties with the ACLU", do you have some proof of that? As far as I can see, it's just some bullshit you made up.
Is not BS that I made up. The NYT, that bastion of liberalism, itself reported about the intimate ties.

As trust me, nothing gets as intimate as money. Or as someone said, "money is the mother's milk of politics."

She can and does control how much money the ACLU gets form her "group"-- of which she is THE treasurer and a trustee.

Yes, I am saying that judges should be content-neutral.

I want judges to read the law and interpret cases ont he basis of precendent.

I want judges to issue content-neutral opinions that stick to the subject at hand w/o editorializing about this, that or the other.

In other words, I want judges to be as blind as to who brings the case as the statute of lady justice is.

I do not want activist judges, liberal or conservative, imposing their personal philosophies on me.

Do YOU have a problem with that proposition?
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post #49 of 116 (permalink) Old 08-26-2006, 10:44 AM
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Judges impose their personal philosophies all time. I get the impression that if Scalia imposed his judicial philosophy on us, you would be ok with that, but when someone you disagrees with does, well then!
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post #50 of 116 (permalink) Old 08-26-2006, 10:49 AM
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Let's all look at the Times article you cite. First thing I noticed is that you are in error when you claim she is the "treasurer". She is the "Secretary", and the group seems involved in community awareness issues that involve discriminations, it is not some kind of political advocacy group:

Conflict of Interest Is Raised in N.S.A.
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
The New York Timew
Published: August 23, 2006


WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 — The federal judge who ruled last week that President Bush’s eavesdropping program was unconstitutional is a trustee and an officer of a group that has given at least $125,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan, a watchdog group said Tuesday.

The group, Judicial Watch, a conservative organization here that found the connection, said the link posed a possible conflict for the judge, Anna Diggs Taylor, and called for further investigation.

“The system relies on judges to exercise good judgment, and we need more information and more explanation about what the court’s involvement was in support of the A.C.L.U.,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which gained attention in the 1990’s for ethics accusations against President Bill Clinton.

Three legal ethicists interviewed said although Judge Taylor’s role as a trustee for a supporter of the civil liberties group would not necessarily disqualify her from hearing the case, she should have probably disclosed the connection in court to avoid any appearance of a conflict.

“It certainly would have been prudent” to notify the parties in the case, including the Justice Department, about the issue, said Steven Lubet, a law professor at Northwestern University and an author of “Judicial Conduct and Ethics.”

“I don’t think there’s a clear answer as to whether she should have disqualified herself,” Professor Lubet said. “But at a minimum, she should have disclosed it.”

In a case brought by the national organization of the A.C.L.U. and its Michigan chapter, among others, Judge Taylor ruled that the surveillance by the National Security Agency without warrants that was approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks violated the Constitution and a 1978 surveillance law.

The Justice Department moved immediately to appeal Judge Taylor’s ruling.

Some legal experts saw the decision as an important affirmation of constitutional principles. But even some supporters of it took issue with the reasoning, and Republicans said political motives drove the judge, whom President Jimmy Carter had nominated to the federal bench.

Questions about a possible conflict of interest appear likely to raise new concerns. The Web site for the group that supported the A.C.L.U., the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan in Detroit, lists Judge Taylor as its secretary and a trustee. It indicates that trustees make all financing decisions for the organization, whose assets exceed $350 million and which gives grants for a variety of community projects.

Judge Taylor declined to comment on the matter on Tuesday, and the foundation did not respond to a message for comment on what role if any she had in awarding the civil liberties grants.

The executive director of the Michigan A.C.L.U., Kary Moss, said her group had received four grants totaling $125,000 from the foundation since 1999. They were a $20,000 grant in 1999 for an educational program on the Bill of Rights, $60,000 in 2000, along with the N.A.A.C.P. and other groups for education on racial profiling, $20,000 in 2002 for work on racial profiling and $25,000 in 2002 for a lawyer to work on gay rights.

The chapter could not confirm a grant of $20,000 for work on gay rights that the foundation listed in an annual report.

Ms. Moss said the question of whether Judge Taylor’s role as trustee posed a conflict “seems to me to be a real non-issue.” She noted that judges routinely work for civil and nonprofit groups, including many that may finance or have ties to parties that come before them in court.

“Judges have not recused themselves when there’s been a much, much stronger connection to an organization,” Ms. Moss said.

Federal law requires judges to disqualify themselves from hearing a case if their impartiality “might reasonably be questioned” based on factors like a financial or personal relationship with a party in the case.

Stephen Gillers, who teaches legal ethics at New York University, said he did not think there were grounds for Judge Taylor to remove herself from the case.

“The question is whether her impartiality might reasonably be questioned,’’ Professor Gillers said, “and the fact that she sits on the board of a group that gives money to the plaintiff for an otherwise unrelated endeavor would not in my mind raise reasonable questions about her partiality on the issue of warrantless wiretapping.”

But he said it would have been wise for Judge Taylor to disclose the issue to the participants in the case. “If there’s any doubt,” Professor Gillers said, “disclose, because it avoids suspicion later.”

Deborah L. Rhode, a law professor who directs the Center on Ethics at the Stanford Law School, said, “I certainly think it should have been disclosed.”

Correction: Aug. 24, 2006

Because of an editing error, an article yesterday about a possible conflict of interest by the federal judge who ruled on President Bush’s wiretapping program misidentified the source of some of the information about grants to the American Civil Liberties Union, a plaintiff, from a nonprofit group for which the judge is a trustee. It was the A.C.L.U., not Judicial Watch, that said the A.C.L.U. of Michigan had received at least $125,000 from the nonprofit group. (Judicial Watch first raised the question of conflict of interest after it identified $45,000 in grants to the A.C.L.U. from the nonprofit, the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan.) The article also misstated the judge’s name. She is Anna Diggs Taylor, not Anna Taylor Diggs.
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