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Judge Sarokin Joins the Blogosphere:
H. Lee Sarokin served as a United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey from 1979 to 1994, and was a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1994 until he retired in 1996. And more importantly for our purposes, he has just started a blog, appropriately named X-Judge. His first post, The Constitution and a Trip to the Dentist, is here.

  Hat tip: Former Sarokin clerk Eric Muller.
Tom R:
Wasn't he Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip's proto-Karl Rove figure in Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here?
12.10.2006 3:05pm
Carl Levin (mail):
Boy am I glad to see that someone is finally becoming the voice of reason and shouting it from the rooftops. This guy Padilla, you know, he was just misunderstood. His character was defamed because people have been saying that he wanted to detonate a radiological bomb in a big city, and really, nobody has anything solid on him. We should let him go, and give him a job at Los Alamos.
12.10.2006 3:47pm
JonC:
Judge Sarokin's only posted once, so I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and wait to see how his blog develops. But if his future posts are equally short on legal argument and long on emotional rhetoric, I don't think I'll be reading him often-- which would be unfortunate, since as a former federal judge, one would think he he has many unique insights to share.
12.10.2006 3:51pm
Carl Levin (mail):
And what's really shameful about his trip to the dentist at taxpayer expense is that he had to wear shackles and goggles. When I go to the dentist at taxpayer expense, I wear loafers and occasionally carry a pair of bifocals, and even a guy who was planning to detonate a radiological device in a big city should be afforded the same kind of care. After all, he's in our custody and the least we can do is make him feel comfortable.
12.10.2006 4:00pm
Kate1999 (mail):
Be nice, Carl.
12.10.2006 4:03pm
Carl Levin (mail):
I thought I was, Kate1999. You know, really one of the nicest things in the world that people have ever discovered is how to take a few ounces of radiological waste and pack it on the outside of some conventional explosives and then plant it someplace in a big city, like right next to a fountain or a fire hydrant, or drop it from a small aircraft, detonate it, and force hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate while billions of dollars are spent to clean it up. Why, Padilla could have put one of those right outside the entrance to the NYSE or at the Mercantile Exchange in Chicago and it would have been an incredible gift to all of us. That's why Judge Sarokin is so correct about the abomination about him being "prejudged" as an "enemy combatant."

We should never let that happen again.
12.10.2006 4:16pm
Tom952 (mail):
I think the Judge has gone a long time without suffering disagreement and challenge. This must be painful for him.
12.10.2006 4:20pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
even a guy who was planning to detonate a radiological device in a big city

Right, just like the feds indicted him for. Oh wait.
12.10.2006 4:55pm
Alykhan Velshi (www):
It would be nice if his honor knew that it's spelled 'habeas corpus', not 'habeus corpus.'

But why care about the spelling of legal concepts when you're an expert on its details?
12.10.2006 4:57pm
Carl Levin (mail):
Yup, Anderson, just like you say. I agree completely. The charges are baseless and even the first charges couldn't be proved. Therefore we should let him go.

I'll see you in my moon suit.
12.10.2006 5:25pm
Bottomfish (mail):
So much eloquence:

"No one can dispute that matters of personal appearance and hygiene can reach a point where they interfere with the enjoyment of the facility by others. But one person's hay-fever is another person's ambrosia; jeans with holes represent inappropriate dress to some, and high fashion to others. Thus, no matter how laudable and understandable the goals of the library may be, we cannot - we dare not - cross the threshold of barring persons from entering because of how they appear based upon the unfettered discretion of another.

Society has survived not banning books which it finds offensive from its libraries; it will survive not banning persons whom it likewise finds offensive from its libraries. The greatness of our country lies in tolerating speech with which we do not agree; that same toleration must extend to people, particularly where the cause of revulsion may be of our own making. If we wish to shield our eyes and noses from the homeless, we should revoke their condition, not their library cards. "
12.10.2006 5:39pm
Beerslurpy (mail) (www):
I think the judge had gone 17 years without people calling bullshit on him. The interweb should be like an enema of salt water and glass shards.

Still, I am kind of annoyed that Padilla hasnt been charged with anything. You would think if even 1/100th of the stuff they say about him were true that he would already be serving a lengthy sentence.
12.10.2006 5:57pm
marghlar:
I think the judge had gone 17 years without people calling bullshit on him. The interweb should be like an enema of salt water and glass shards.

That's just silly. On the district court, his decisions were reviewed by appellate judges. Even on the circuit court he had to persuade his colleagues or suffer dissents. Maybe his first post isn't the finest work of blogging I've ever seen (by a far sight) and it's definitely short on reasoned argument. But that's no need to be uncivil.
12.10.2006 7:33pm
marghlar:
Still, I am kind of annoyed that Padilla hasnt been charged with anything. You would think if even 1/100th of the stuff they say about him were true that he would already be serving a lengthy sentence.

Agreed.
12.10.2006 7:34pm
Erasmus (mail):
Since when do all blog posts need to be tightly reasoned arguments?
12.10.2006 7:51pm
JonC:

Since when do all blog posts need to be tightly reasoned arguments?


Since never, if one is indifferent to persuading anyone that one's opinions are worth taking seriously.
12.10.2006 7:58pm
Beerslurpy (mail) (www):
Without even focusing on the non-reviewable stuff judges can do to influence trials, 99 percent of a judge's existance isnt in getting smacked down by appellate courts. And even when it happens, he doesnt go there and get a verbal lambasting.

I was under the impression that judges generally had near absolute power over lawyers, parties and witnesses in their courtrooms. This sort of power tends to produce the sort of deference not found on the internet.
12.10.2006 8:04pm
marghlar:
Sure, it's possible that he might be more cowed by having his writing scrutinized by a random selection of web readers than by a group of federal circuit judges. But I kinda doubt it. Much of the criticism on the web amounts to more snark than substance. Some of it is useful, but much is just angry fluff.

And yeah, he made plenty of near-to-unreviewable calls on discovery and evidence. But I guarantee you that his mind was far more focused on the issues of law that were not so insolated (at least if he is like the federal judges I have known).
12.10.2006 8:44pm
Jeff_M (mail):
Carl,

Through the witty sarcasm it's obvious that you believe Mr. Padilla is guilty of a serious crime at best and treason at worst. Why? Because the executive says so? Our system was set up to protect citizens (and Mr Padilla is a citizen) from that type of tyranny.

It's easy to at least see the argument for why the executive should be able to declare some foreign national an enemy combatant, and then let him rot in some cage (though I don't necessarily agree with that policy). It's simply unbelievable that anyone would argue that the executive should be able to do that to a citizen. Disgusting.
12.10.2006 8:56pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Yup, Anderson, just like you say. I agree completely. The charges are baseless and even the first charges couldn't be proved. Therefore we should let him go.

Putting stupid statements into other people's mouths is fun, isn't it? Glad I could provide a moment of amusement for you.

The Padilla case is shocking, or should be. I refer conservative readers to the reliably conservative Judge Luttig's scathing remarks on the U.S.'s conduct of the case, for those of you who didn't savor them when they were published.
12.10.2006 9:14pm
DougJ:
I wish they'd give me goggles and noise cancelling head phones when they took me to the dentist. Then I couldn't see what was happening to my teeth or hear the sound of the drill. And I wish the taxpayers would foot the bill as well.

Padilla doesn't have it so bad, if you ask me. Not for a guy who would behead all of you if given the chance.
12.11.2006 8:27am
James Fulford (mail):
Judge Sarokin is either famous or infamous, depending on your point of view, for freeing Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. He was played by Rod Steiger in the movie The Hurricane, which was notably inaccurate.

You can read about Sarokin's decision here and here.
12.12.2006 4:08am
Tom R:
Apologies - it was Lee Sarason.
12.12.2006 6:09pm