The Courts; This is Why I Trust Them

ATeam

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Republican Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, partly because he promised to appoint conservative judges to the bench. He and the Republican-controlled senate made good on that promise, confirming hundreds of conservative judges, including three to the U.S. Supreme Court, which gave that court a decisive majority.

But a funny thing happened on the way to a conservative court. As the constitution intended, the judges, are appointed for life, and they develop their own views on the law. For them it's not about what's conservative or not. It's about the law as they see it. And the "as they see it" part is exactly why a judge is a judge. He/she is appointed to decide what the law means and how it applies when others cannot agree.

That independent-minded-judge phenomenon showed itself in a Supreme Court ruling made today when the Court let stand a legal victory previously won by a transgender student. When one would think this so-called conservative court, which is dominated by so-called conservative judges, would rule against a transgender student, they ruled to preserve the student's previous victory.

Transgender Student wins as Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

This is why I trust the courts. For the most part, most of the time, the judges consider the law before they consider their politics, and before they consider the president who appointed them and the senators who confirmed them.
 
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LDB

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True, and for others it would be why they distrust them. It's all opinions.
 
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Turtle

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For the most part, most of the time, the judges consider the law before they consider their politics,
Yeah, for the most part. It's the other parts that are the problem. Keep in mind that there is a good reason why Senators ask judicial appointees about their judicial philosophy. It's not because they consider the laws before their politics. Some judges interpret the laws based on original intent and the actual text of the law (Textualism, constitutionalism), whereas other judges believe the courts can and should go beyond the applicable law to consider broader societal implications of its decisions (judicial activism). These two judicial philosophies are in direct conflict with each other.
 
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ATeam

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True, and for others it would be why they distrust them. It's all opinions.
Yes, I suppose it is all opinions. But how else can it be? When one side is arguing one opinion about how the facts should be interpreted, and the other side is arguing a different opinion, what other mechanism is available for society to have a ruling made? That's exactly what judges and juries are tasked to do, is it not? Hear the cases being made and render their opinions.

That does not give judges and juries carte blanche. When I served on a jury, we heard the cases being made and then heard the judges instructions about what the law said about how to interpret the evidence and what could be considered and what could not. When making rulings from the bench, judges must consider the same.

Yes, it's all opinions, but there are guardrails to keep people on track.
 
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ATeam

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Yeah, for the most part. It's the other parts that are the problem. Keep in mind that there is a good reason why Senators ask judicial appointees about their judicial philosophy. It's not because they consider the laws before their politics. Some judges interpret the laws based on original intent and the actual text of the law (Textualism, constitutionalism), whereas other judges believe the courts can and should go beyond the applicable law to consider broader societal implications of its decisions (judicial activism). These two judicial philosophies are in direct conflict with each other.
Yep, and that's part of why I trust the courts. Judges are fully vetted before they are confirmed. While the majority of senators may favor one judicial approach over another, and accordingly confirm their judicial picks, senators of all stripes seem to do a pretty good job of picking people who are competent in the law. The judges may surprise people by ruling in a way contrary to how the senators expected them to in certain cases, but it almost never happens that a federal judge is impeached because he or she was incompetent in the law.

Also, to the extent you can neatly group judges into one of two groups (textualism, constitutionalism), it frequently happens that judges within those groups disagree with each other. When that happens, various people will praise or criticize the judges' opinions, but rarely their competency.
 
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Turtle

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I never said anything about competency. Incompetent judges at the federal level are extremely rare, and nominees who are not competent basically never get confirmed. An activist judge is still going to be competent in the law. In fact, the more activist a judge is the more competent he's likely to be in the law.

I simply prefer a textualist judge who interprets written laws as they are written, and as they were intended when created, in precedent. Laws, and the narrow exceptions to them, are usually created for a specific reason.

One glaring example of judicial activism is, President Obama had explicit legal authority under the law to create the DACA program by executive order. Under the same exact law President Trump had the same explicit legal authority to dismantle DACA by executive order. But SCOTUS ruled Trump couldn't get rid of DACA, despite what the law says, and what the intent of the law was when it was created. SCOTUS went outside the law and ignored precedent and instead applied, essentially, feelings to consider the broader societal implications allowing Trump to end the program. Unless broader societal implications are part of the law as written, they shouldn't be considering them. That's the job of the legislators.

Another example is the recent 6-3 SCOTUS ruling that says if you're here illegally, under the law you are entitled to a bond hearing within a reasonable time frame, where you can be released while awaiting your immigration hearing. Federal statute says once you've been given a final order of deportation you don't get to file another withholding application to try and stay, and if you've been deported and then reenter illegally again, you don't get to have yet another bond hearing but are required to be held without bond while you wait to be deported again. That's exactly what the law says, and it'sr eally hard to interpret it to say something else.

The 3 activist justices went outside the law in their dissent and argued, "In sum, I can find no good reason why Congress would have wanted categorically to deny bond hearings to those who, like respondents, seek to have removal withheld or deferred due to a reasonable fear of persecution or torture."

But that's precisely what Congress did. If you've already received a final order of deportation or have been deported and illegally enter again, you don't get a do over. But activist judges think you should, despite what the law plainly states.
 

muttly

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Yes, it's all opinions, but there are guardrails to keep people on track.
There is very little if any checks in certain areas. The judges are like minded with the prosecutors. And the appellate similar as well. No more than a rubber stamp agreement. ( see the judge Sullivan/ Gen Flynn episode)
 
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Turtle

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A federal judge just vacated a grand jury indictment because the wasn't.... diverse enough.
 

RLENT

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Big day coming up this Monday @ 10AM:

First (felony) sentencing for a January 6th participant (Paul Hodgkins, who reached a plea deal)

Be interesting to see how that shakes out.

Even though the courtroom will be open, the public and media can still dial in to listen to the proceedings.
 

RLENT

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Big day. They're sentencing someone who took selfies. Lol.

The reason why it's a "Big Day", is because it's the first Jan. 6th felony case to be adjudicated before a judge ... and it may establish a baseline for other cases going forward.

The sentence pronounced could be light, heavy, or moderate ... and may provide some insights into how future sentencings will go.

BTW: you spelled "obstruction of an official proceeding" incorrectly above.

The government dropped the other charges he was indicted for as part of the plea deal: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
 

muttly

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The reason why it's a "Big Day", is because it's the first Jan. 6th felony case to be adjudicated before a judge ... and it may establish a baseline for other cases going forward.

The sentence pronounced could be light, heavy, or moderate ... and may provide some insights into how future sentencings will go.

BTW: you spelled "obstruction of an official proceeding" incorrectly above.

The government dropped the other charges he was indicted for as part of the plea deal: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Yes, I read all the other non violent stuff he did for protesting in an unrestricted area.
Perhaps the "baseline" sentencing should be very similar to the 2018 Kavanaugh protests in which they did the same thing that this fellow did: protesting and selfies.
But that wouldn't have the "shock and aweish" feel to it that the blue anons are clamoring for.
 

RLENT

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Yes, I read all the other non violent stuff he did for protesting in an unrestricted area.

Newsflash:

He was in a restricted area.

:tearsofjoy:

Perhaps the "baseline" sentencing should be very similar to the 2018 Kavanaugh protests in which they did the same thing that this fellow did: protesting and selfies.

Nope - he admitted that it was his intent to obstruct (stop) the proceedings.

But that wouldn't have the "shock and aweish" feel to it that the blue anons are clamoring for.

Personally, I rather doubt his ultimate sentence will be of the "shock and awe" variety.

That doesn't mean however that insurrection apologists won't be utterly outraged by whatever it is however.

It's all about the fee-fee's dontcha know.
 

muttly

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Newsflash:

He was in a restricted area.

:tearsofjoy:



Nope - he admitted that it was his intent to obstruct (stop) the proceedings.



Personally, I rather doubt his ultimate sentence will be of the "shock and awe" variety.

That doesn't mean however that insurrection apologists won't be utterly outraged by whatever it is however.

It's all about the fee-fee's dontcha know.
Correct. Restricted area. Just like the Kavanaugh protesters. And they also admitted their goal was to disrupt proceedings. What sentence did they get?
2 years? Lol.
 
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danthewolf00

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The Kavanaugh protesters stormed a federal building past armed guards and got slapped on the wrist for punishment....they filled the hallways to the point nobody could walk through yet....yet that was a Democrat backed operation.
 
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RLENT

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So 8 months for Hodgkins.

Probably a reasonable sentence - certainly didn't let him off scot free and it's not excessive.

In other news:

January 6th defendant Robert Morss ordered detained until trial.

Judge Mehta has formally accepted Caleb Berry's guilty plea (Oath Keeper's conspiracy defendant) - he is cooperating with the government ... but is still facing 51-63 months in prison at this point according to the judge. He is the second Oath Keeper defendant to confirm that the group arranged to stash guns at a hotel in VA.

That makes at least 20 people that have entered a guilty plea (there are probably more but their pleas have not been entered yet)

A DEA agent, Mark Ibrahim, has been busted - charged w/ four counts in connection to January 6, including making a false statement and entering a restricted grounds with a firearm.

Trump ally Thomas Barrack was arrested and charged along with three other defendants for acting as agents of a foreign government. Barrack was head of the scandal-plagued Trump Inaugural Committee.
 

muttly

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8 months is excessive. Compare that with Kavanaugh protesters: - charges dropped. The egregious part apparently was holding a Trump 2020 flag.
Misuse of the statute in charging him too:
Screenshot_20210721-032846.pngScreenshot_20210721-032942.png
 
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