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Bill Aims to Prevent Federal Judges from Reading the Volokh Conspiracy:

From now on, federal judges will only be allowed to read blogs sponsored by the Federal Judicial Center, a government organization.

Well, not quite, but pending legislation does aim to prevent federal judges from attending seminars put on by George Mason's Law School's Law and Economics Center, among other educational centers. According to John Fund, who provides a detailed critique, the bill "would flatly ban federal judges from attending anything other than a government-sponsored program" [but see update beow].

If so, why let federal judges read the Volokh Conspiracy (and I know several prominent federal appellate judges who do)? After all, though most of us conspirators teach at state schools, we have not been vetted by the FJC. Three of us even teach at George Mason, and receive Summer research funding from the LEC. And as for the red herring of "corporate funding" (the LEC, for example, gets less than 10% of its funding from corporations, and does not disclose the funders, so there will be no question of quid pro quo), have you noticed that the VC carries ads? Sure, the VC doesn't provide transportation or accommodations, but we do provide the best legal commentary on the web for free. Given the implicit value of our time, this is much more valuable than an off-season stay at a resort. And we don't even demand that judges spend many hours doing background reading, unlike the LEC!

This whole non-issue has been stirred up by Doug Kendall's Soros-funded Community Rights Council. Recall that Kendall filed an ethics complaint against Sixth Circuit Judge Danny Boggs for serving on the board of FREE, a Montana-based free market environmentalist group that, among other things, runs education seminars for federal judges. Chief Judge Loken rejected the complaint, and wrote, "Reasonable people, unlike the complainant, do not presume a lack of integrity and impartiality from a judge's association with legitimate judicial education, no matter how controversial." And later (alluding also to related allegations against D.C. Circuit Judge Doug Ginsburg): "there is no factual foundation to support an inference of wrongdoing by anyone ... Rather these allegations typify the character assassination that is all too common in our nation's capital.... By use of this tactic, it is the complainant who is undermining public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, not the judges complained of."

UPDATE: Tim Dowling from the CRC writes to point out that under the proposed legislation, federal judges would be able to attend (and receive travel reimbursements for) any "CLE sponsored by any bar association, any judicial association (including the National Judicial College and Federal Judicial Center), subject-matter bar associations, and the ABA's Judicial Division." Makes sense, because we all know that bar associations only have the public interest in mind, don't serve the cause of any particular interest group (such as attorneys...), and never take positions on controversial issues, right? And the Federal Judicial Center has money that grows on trees, and therefore is not susceptible to political pressure because Congress provides no funding, right? Well, anyway, we all know that giving government and self-serving interest groups a monopoly over any sort of education is the way to achieve high quality, apolitical, effective education.

Snarkiness aside, I'm puzzled by the inclusion of the NJC in the exemptions, given that it's a private 501(C)(3) organization that accepts donations from private sources, just like, say, the LEC. Among its donors are Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and a couple of tort reform groups. Sounds to me like the CRC is not standing for any principle here other than wanting to shut down the LEC and FREE. [Besides receiving funding from Congress, the FJC also receives funding from private, and at times highly ideological sources, e.g., the Ford Foundation, which it actively solicits.]

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More on the Judicial Education Bill:
  2. The Strange Effort to Limit Judicial Education:
  3. Bill Aims to Prevent Federal Judges from Reading the Volokh Conspiracy:
justwonderingby:
Yep, it's ridiculous. You know it is undeniable that law schools are VERY liberally biased... one wonders whether this would be proposed if judges were getting there education from Yale, Harvard, or... any other law school except Mason, Pepperdine, Chapman, or Ave Maria.
12.20.2007 9:02am
tarheel:
While I agree that such a flat ban (if that's what this really is) would be silly, I'm curious...if the private funding of LEC is a "red herring" why are you so careful to note the funding source for the CRC? Could it be that you think Soros has an agenda? If so, why should people not assume that LEC funders have an agenda as well? And is the solution to that really donor anonymity? I would argue that donor disclosure is the better approach, unless the LEC wants to go all private.
12.20.2007 9:06am
Wallace:
Federal judges don't read blogs.

They have their clerks read them, summarize them, and make a reccomendation.
12.20.2007 9:19am
AF:
Are you sure the bill would flatly ban attendance, rather than limit the amount of expenses judges can receive in connection with attendance? I haven't seen the recent amendment, but its precursor only bans the latter. I find it very hard to believe there's a flat ban.
12.20.2007 9:24am
PLR:
Micromanaging the federal judiciary appears to be a nonpartisan political sport. Unlike OJ, I'm more surprised by Feingold being on the bill than Kyl.
12.20.2007 9:24am
Bpbatista (mail):
Isn't there a serious separation of powers issue here? How can one co-equal branch of government dictate to another co-equal branch what seminars and CLE conferences it members may attend? Can the Supreme Court dictate on what junkets Congressmen may go, or on what subjects they may hold hearings? Just wondering.
12.20.2007 9:34am
Tim Dowling (mail):
Hi David --

The travel gifts associated with these judicial seminars raise serious ethics issues, the public discussion of which is not enhanced by the snark and hyperbole spewed by you and John Fund. In fact, the ethical questions are so serious that every federal executive branch attorney (and indeed every federal executive branch employee) is prohibited from personally accepting these travel gifts, and I know of no instance in which U.S. DOJ or any other federal agency has accepted reimbursement of travel expenses to allow an agency employee to attend seminars that raise similar ethics issues. The federal judiciary, too, recently recognized the ethics issues raised by these seminars, and the travel gifts associated with them, by reforming its disclosure requirements for these trips.

Under the Kyl amendment, judges would remain free to accept travel reimbursement for seminars and other CLE sponsored by any bar association, any judicial association (including the National Judicial College and Federal Judicial Center), subject-matter bar associations, and the ABA's Judicial Division. And, of course, you could continue to inform federal judges of your views in the marketplace of ideas through your blogs, books, and scholarly writings, and judges of course would remain free to consume those ideas as they see fit. Judges could even attend the George Mason seminars if they paid their own way. We do object when private groups try to skew the marketplace of ideas by offering public servants free gifts of travel to Hilton Head, Amelia Island, Bozeman, and other resort locations that are worth thousands of dollars as an inducement to consume those ideas. In addition, several seminars have raised unique ethics issues that concerned then-pending litigation (some of which are discussed here), which you rather casually ignore.

I won't be able to track this thread today. So go ahead and take the last word. But, as Orin recently suggested, you might consider using thoughtful arguments and a presumption of good faith, rather than silly headlines and less-than-generous characterizations of the other side's position.

Tim Dowling, Community Rights Counsel
12.20.2007 9:40am
K Parker (mail):
Bar Associations good and noble, "private" groups bad. Gotcha, Tim.

If this be snark, gentlemen, let us make the most of it.
12.20.2007 9:50am
PLR:
Interesting points by Tim, which would suggest that John Fund stacked the deck a little in his analysis.

Or maybe lied a little, for those who think that's a dsitinction with a difference.
12.20.2007 9:58am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
What's the difference between the judges being funded to attend state bar association seminars and state-owned law school seminars?

Judges SHOULD be exposed, frequently, to academic thoughts and trends. I find that much more important than having them exposed to the much more mundane world of the bar associations. I see much more danger in judges being paid to attend state bar association seminars then in attending conferences sponsored by institutions of higher education.
12.20.2007 10:04am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
And kudos to John Fund and David Bernstein for the snarky, dismissive tone. When a proposal is contemptuous, it should be met with contempt. This is just another in a long line of efforts by George Soros and others to limit speech, to limit the dissemination of ideas, by requiring either the news media or official government agencies to serve as gatekeepers, deciding what information may be spread and what may not.
12.20.2007 10:08am
Mr. Liberal:

Reasonable people, unlike the complainant, do not presume a lack of integrity and impartiality from a judge's association with legitimate judicial education, no matter how controversial.


Actually, "reasonable people" would presume a lack of impartiality from a judge who is drawn to and actively supports extremely controversial causes.

I don't know what kind of drugged Kool-Aid Judge Loken is on. This is pretty much a no-brainer.
12.20.2007 10:17am
GMUSL '07 Alum (mail):
Ah, the Community Rights Council. I'm not familiar with Tim, but Doug Kendall is a long-time douche, for lack of a better term. How else do you describe one of the few people to actually go on record SUPPORTING the decision and outcome in Kelo? I wonder if he was the one who supplied the "We're going to take things away from you for the common good." line to Hillary. Either way, Doug likes to think that he knows what the common good is, and completely ignores capture.

And Tim -- the allegations of corruption are far less serious than those of development/zoning boards and developers that you guys laud, if not bolster and defend, on a regular basis. It takes a special type of gall to defend the cozy ties between developers and zoning boards while making a hullabaloo about Judges exposing themselves to new ideas in an academic setting without prior government approval.
12.20.2007 10:21am
Dave N (mail):
Mr. Liberal,

By your standard, Judge Reinhardt on the Ninth should be disqualified regularly for his close personal ties to the ACLU--since his wife is executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. Oh wait, he isn't--conflicts like that aren't bad if it is a liberal who has them--only conservative judges can be ethically challenged.
12.20.2007 10:25am
billb:
Tim: When the NSF contract monitors come to Austin to check up on our progress on grants, we, as you note, can't buy them as much as a soda, but they can buy themselves a soda and have the government reimburse them. Does the CRC support the creation of a travel budget (or the increase of existing travel budgets) so that judges can travel to these events to get the legal education they want without even a whiff of something improper?
12.20.2007 10:27am
Justin (mail):
Wow. If you were teaching legislation, DB, and someone interpreted a bill solely by what its chief opponents claimed the bill did, what grade would you give that student?
12.20.2007 10:29am
arthur (mail):
"the LEC, for example, . . . does not disclose the funders, so there will be no question of quid pro quo"

Right, because there is no possible way that a funder could inform a judge of its donations if the LEC declines to list them on a web site.
12.20.2007 10:50am
tarheel:
On the Kerr-inspired assumption that your post and update are intended in good faith, it is odd that you still claim this is a flat ban, since (at least according to Tim Dowling) this is untrue. It is a ban on allowing judges to have their attendance paid for by these organizations. Your criticism may still be valid, but it weakens your credibility to call this a flat ban when it is decidedly not.
12.20.2007 10:51am
PLR:
How else do you describe one of the few people to actually go on record SUPPORTING the decision and outcome in Kelo?

There's a whole legal world out there beyond the libertarian blogosphere that thinks Kelo is consistent with past precedent and just not that remarkable.
12.20.2007 11:03am
C Thomas:
Many commenters seem supportive of the idea that any private organization should be able to pay for "educational" junkets for members of the judiciary. If so, I trust these same commenters would support a similar rule for employees of the executive branch, which would, for instance, permit a Soros organization or the Sierra Club to pay for EPA employees to attend educational seminars on climate change at luxury resorts.
12.20.2007 11:05am
Bob from Ohio (mail):

presumption of good faith


A Soros group does not get this presumption. Most groups connected to felons don't get this presumption.

If you want a presumption of good faith, don't lie down with dogs.
12.20.2007 11:12am
alkali (mail):
Two thoughts:

1) It was suggested above that the appropriate remedy here is disclosure. For disclosure to be effective, someone needs to be able to act on the information disclosed (e.g., a voter considering whether to re-elect a public official). Federal judges have life tenure with salary protection. It is unclear what if any effect disclosure would have on them, assuming the underlying conduct disclosed remains legal.

2) Does anyone have a link to the text of the proposal on Thomas.LOC.gov or otherwise? That might be instructive. (I looked for it but couldn't find it.)
12.20.2007 11:13am
JonC:
I'm concerned about how this will affect the ability of non-top-five private law schools to attract federal judges to campus for speeches, moot courts, etc. I go to a mid-tier 1, non-T14 private law school; our moot court board has Judge Posner signed up to judge a competition next semester. If this bill passes, are we (or is Judge Posner) at risk of legal sanction? Even if not, it seems as if the extremely stringent annual limits on reimbursement will make it very difficult for everyone except the Harvards, Yales, and Stanfords of the world to attract top-flight judges.
12.20.2007 11:20am
alias:
Any proposal that purports to decrease bias or improper influence, yet includes the ABA as an acceptable source of information, should not be taken seriously.
12.20.2007 11:25am
Smokey:
Micromanaging the federal judiciary appears to be a nonpartisan political sport.
Nonpartisan, huh? Tell us how 'nonpartisan' George Soros, the individual behind this, is.

This is the same George Soros who helped round up Jews for relocation to concentration camps during WWII. The same George Soros who gave over $27 million to his personally owned PAC, MovOn.org during the last presidential election. The thoroughly anti-American George Soros is behind this [and who is behind George Soros is another interesting question].

Naturally, George Soros is eager to deny federal judges any information that might remind them of the original intent of the Constitution. These judges must be brought to heel. They must be made to understand that World Government - along with an ever-increasing World Tax - is what George Soros intends to impose on America. This is just one step along the way.
12.20.2007 11:31am
Anderson (mail):
DAVID BERNSTEIN WILL VOTE FOR HILLARY: David Bernstein has posted that he will vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Well, not really - he didn't actually post that. But I thought that was the way to get you to read my comment - write something false in big letters up front, and then draw you in to whatever the hell I'm actually talking about. Which I have forgotten by this point, so never mind. [Insert snark here.]
12.20.2007 11:48am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Are local bar associations really funding travel expenses for judges who attend their educational programs? I can see paying for speakers to come, but not supplying scholarships for attenders. Perhaps someone could link to the amendment, so we could read for ourselves.

And, I don't understand why the exemption for bar association reimbursement. The ABA has taken positions in favor of gun control and against the death penalty, so they are not free from ideological bias.
12.20.2007 12:14pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
It should not be hard to find a bar association to cosponsor events at George Mason or elsewhere. There are at least 100 bar associations in the country, and many are fairly open to cosponsoring CLE-type events, especially where the other cosponsor is putting up all the money and effort. It's fairly difficult to write any speech-limiting regulations that don't contain loopholes. Groups that involve judges and lawyers can generally find those loopholes.
12.20.2007 12:31pm
PLR:
[11:12]"A Soros group does not get this presumption. Most groups connected to felons don't get this presumption.

If you want a presumption of good faith, don't lie down with dogs."

Amen to that. He's talkin' to you, Hudson Group.
12.20.2007 12:32pm
theobromophile (www):

"would flatly ban federal judges from attending anything other than a government-sponsored program"

Pardon the following semi-coherent ramblings... but WHAT? Is this not the first step in tyranny? How can we have a free society when people are prohibited from educating themselves as they please - especially the very people who are entrusted with acting as a check upon the sword and the purse? How do we expect impartial, fair judges when their information is fed to them from the other branches of government? Is it not the point of the First Amendment that the government cannot be trusted to disseminate information?

What are they going to do if a judge has the audacity to mosey his way into a Federalist Society event for some CLE? Impeach for lack of "good behaviour"?

/semi-coherent, post-finals rant
12.20.2007 12:34pm
PLR:
Micromanaging the federal judiciary appears to be a nonpartisan political sport.

Nonpartisan, huh? Tell us how 'nonpartisan' George Soros, the individual behind this, is.

Soros is not a politician, I was referring to Kyl/Feingold.
12.20.2007 12:39pm
Noo:
Bernstein is a hack. He weakens the credibility of this blog.
12.20.2007 12:47pm
OrinKerr:
Does anyone have a link to the bill itself?

It seems to me that whether judges can attend programs hosted by George Mason Law School's Law and Economics Center, while of natural interest to David, is less interesting than some of the other potential impacts of the bill. For example, law schools often invite Justices and Judges to speak. Is that covered by the law? How about invitations from ACS and FedSoc chapters? Several Justices teach in Europe over the summer -- is that now prohibited? If anyone knows, I would be very interested to find out the answers.
12.20.2007 1:10pm
OrinKerr:
I'm not familiar with Tim, but Doug Kendall is a long-time [expletive deleted], for lack of a better term. How else do you describe one of the few people to actually go on record SUPPORTING the decision and outcome in Kelo?

I think we're in big trouble if the presence of disagreement about a recent 5-4 constiutional decision merits someone being called a "long-time [expletive deleted]." Sheesh.
12.20.2007 1:15pm
Truth Seeker:
Noo is a hack. He weakens the credibility of the commenters.
12.20.2007 1:22pm
George Weiss (mail):
orin-

its S.1638 and HR3753 but these new restrictions are in an amendment proposed..(along with another proposal to limit judges pensions when they make over their slalery when they retire)..but the amendments aren't up on thomas yet...

it seems from the WSJ article that judges would not be prohibited from speaking at law schools..but that they wouldn't be able to receive any compensation from the schools beyond a small amount....thus making it harder for smaller schools to get them to come.
12.20.2007 1:26pm
K Parker (mail):
Bob from Ohio cites an external factor (Soros) as a reason to deny a presumption of good faith.

I'd like to add that there's internal reasons, too. Anyone who says
We do object when private groups try to skew the marketplace of ideas
has blown that presumption, IMO.

Smokey, I think probably he meant bipartisan, especially considering what it's responding to.
12.20.2007 1:44pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I too am somewhat concerned about the logic of allowing such partisan groups as the ABA to do things that partisan groups on the other side cannot do.

I was recently talked into a trial membership with the ABA. I lapsed right after law school some 17 years ago, when the dues starting going up. Now they charge some outrageous amount, and for that, I figured after reading several issues of their rag, I had much better uses for my money. Much better. They may be legally non-partisan, but you would only know it by checking their IRS status.
12.20.2007 1:52pm
Eli Rabett (www):
I received a letter today offering me a free vacation in Arizona if I would spend some time learning about real estate opportunities in the Phoenix area. It strikes me that a lot of judges are accepting these invitations.

IEHO there are three issues here

1. Is lobbying judges an activity that should be encouraged? These seminars are straight out lobbying activities

2. Is there a way to prevent law school invitations to judges to speak being distorted by donors of the funds from becoming lobbying activities (assuming you think that a bad idea)

3. Since when is libeling George Soros an allowed activity on this blog (see Smokey)
12.20.2007 2:11pm
PLR:
Smokey, I think probably he meant bipartisan, especially considering what it's responding to.

You're absolutely right. [Huddles in corner scolding himself].
12.20.2007 2:25pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
Would banning a sitting judge from going to sponsored conferences, that he had been attending previously, amount to a reduction of his remuneration while in office?
12.20.2007 2:30pm
Bpbatista (mail):
By what authority does Congress have the power to dictate what seminars Article III judges may attend or be reimbursed for attending? Isn't that the province of the judiciary itself? Why isn't this a separation of powers problem?
12.20.2007 2:34pm
Dave N (mail):
1. Is lobbying judges an activity that should be encouraged? These seminars are straight out lobbying activities
How is this lobbying? I am not asking this to be snarky. If the invitation was related to pending litigation, it would clearly be lobbying--and it would also be highly unethical.

However, attending a conference that presents differing ideas on how a judge should decide cases is hardly "lobbying"--at least in the sense that the term is used with respect to a direct link between persuasion and specific results.

Frankly, if a federal judge can be bribed/influenced by an all-expense paid trip to Hilton Head or Honolulu or wherever, that person should not be on the bench in the first place.
12.20.2007 2:58pm
davidbernstein (mail):
I'm in Israel with limited internet, so I'm not moderating the comments. Behave yourselves.
12.20.2007 3:00pm
gfp:
Thanks for putting that clarification up at the end of the post. For a second, I thought that Bernstein was up to his usual M.O.-- namely jumping to hack political conclusions that aren't based on facts or rational thought.
12.20.2007 3:07pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Isn't it curious that the commenters who, without any sort of evidence or argument, condemn David Bernstein as a hack don't have the guts to sign their posts.
12.20.2007 3:26pm
SJE:
I'd like to echo BpBatista's comment: aren't there separation of powers issues. There is less problem with Congress dictating that employees of the Executive are limited to receiving free invitations to attend conferences etc. It would be more difficult if Congress sought to control behavior of the senior members of the Executive, but could be done in a reasonable manner. However, I would be concerned if Congress was limiting the ability of judges to attend whatever conferences they choose, unless the ban on accepting paid trips was accompanied by a very large pool of funds that judges could use to fund such trips.
12.20.2007 3:32pm
r78:
I haven't heard of the George Mason Law and Econ. Center so I don't know if it's legit or if it is just some corporate propaganda machine like the American Enterprise Institute and other stuff - but, in any event, there is an obvious conflict allowing federal judges to be flown to luxury resorts to attend "seminars" that are funded by organizations and interests who have or are likely to have matters before such courts.

The legislations seems like a step in the right direction.

Comparing it to banning reading material and blogs is just silly.
12.20.2007 3:49pm
TSW:
This post is an example of a frequently used tactic on this blog, and one I'm getting kind of tired of. The tactic involves posting A COMPLETELY FAKE BUT SHOCKING AND ATTENTION GRABBING HEADLINE. Then, once the reader is suitably stunned, outraged, etc., the poster admits the headline is completely fictitious but offers a supposedly analogous, real life outrage.

Eugene can pull it off sometimes, but David misses the mark here. He lures readers in with "BILL AIMS TO PREVENT FEDERAL JUDGES FROM READING VOLOKH CONSPIRACY." But that's not even remotely analogous to the real story. A properly analogous headline would read "Bill Aims to Prevent Federal Judges From Getting Paid To Read Volokh Conspiracy." By using this bait-and-switch tactic, David is misleading people into thinking that the proposal is a "flat ban" when it's clearly not.

N.B. I'm not in favor of the proposal. I just think this a cheesy and dishonest way of attacking it.
12.20.2007 4:16pm
MDJD2B (mail):

This is the same George Soros who helped round up Jews for relocation to concentration camps during WWII.


Soros was 14 when WWII ended, and ethnically is Jewish.

If Smokey's allegation (see block quote above) is true he is even more vicious and precocious than I would have imagined (sarcasm alert).
12.20.2007 4:52pm
MDJD2B (mail):

Why isn't this a separation of powers problem?


For the same reason that statutes preventing outright bribery in the judicial and executive branches is not a separation of powers issue.
12.20.2007 4:53pm
byomtov (mail):
MDJD2B,

You don't understand. The mere mention of Soros is enough to set wingnuts frothing at the mouth. If a conservative billionnaire spends millions advancing his political views that's just the normal political process. If it's Soros, it's part of some dark conspiracy.

The thoroughly anti-American George Soros is behind this [and who is behind George Soros is another interesting question].

Naturally, George Soros is eager to deny federal judges any information that might remind them of the original intent of the Constitution. These judges must be brought to heel. They must be made to understand that World Government - along with an ever-increasing World Tax - is what George Soros intends to impose on America. This is just one step along the way.


Geez. Wonder who Smokey thinks is behind Soros. Some secret council, no doubt.
12.20.2007 5:04pm
MDJD2B (mail):
I'm conservative, and detest Soros. On the other hand, I believe that large gifts to bublic influence comprise undue influence. On the third hand, Soros's amendment allows more liberal influence on judges than conservative.

Be all of this as it may, nobody helps his cause or convinces anyone with wild and obviously untrue statements.

Soros made a fortune in ways that many people consider disgusting, and now he is spending a lot of it. Libertarians (of which I am not one) should have no philosophical problem with his using large amounts of his property in a legal way to fight libertarian policies and principles.
12.20.2007 5:17pm
veteran:
Not to be flipant, but would this not be akin to a form of in-breeding? At a certain point the result will not be healthy.
12.20.2007 5:20pm
byomtov (mail):
MDJD2B,

It's not Soros' amendment.

And it's one thing, as you know, to dislike the way he made his fortune, and another to consider him the root of all evil.

I have no objection to the way he made his money, and neither should libertarians. Libertarians might also note that among the causes he has supported is drug legalization. He also supported democratic (small "d") movements in Eastern Europe. Why he provokes the reaction he does in some quarters - notably right-wing quarters - is an interesting question.
12.20.2007 6:20pm
Bpbatista (mail):
MDJD:

But this statute does not outlaw bribery -- and there is no evidence that there is any bribery going on. Why wouldn't an ABA seminar not be considered bribery as well? Again, by what authority may Congress regulate or prohibit professional conduct of a co-equal branch of government that does not involve otherwise criminal conduct? Isn't impeachment the proper avenue of Congressional action regarding judges who attend privately sponsored seminars that may constitute bribery, rather than legislatively prescribe what seminars judges may or may not attend?
12.20.2007 7:32pm
Smokey:
Apologists for George Soros should read this interview with the convicted international criminal himself - in which Soros freely admits to profiteering by helping himself to the loot left behind when his fellow Jews were herded into boxcars. His excuse? Well, somebody had to do it. His collaboration with the Nazis isn't pretty.

One wonders how the Left chooses heroes like Soros. BDS certainly does strange things to people.
12.20.2007 9:05pm
MDJD2B (mail):

But this statute does not outlaw bribery -- and there is no evidence that there is any bribery going on. Why wouldn't an ABA seminar not be considered bribery as well?


I never said it was bribery. I said it was undue influence, and I elaborate on this in my comments to Prof. Kerr's post.



Again, by what authority may Congress regulate or prohibit professional conduct of a co-equal branch of government that does not involve otherwise criminal conduct?



The power to enact statutes. Have you noticed that Congress also funds courthouses and people who help out judges such as clerks and court reporters. They even determine the subject matter jurisdiction of all courts, except as stipulated in the Constitution.

The courts don't do these things, despite coequal status. The coequal status of the branches does not mean that they are independent of one another in terms of the ministerial aspect of the function of their offices.
12.20.2007 9:44pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Smokey,

You grossly distort what Soros did. The Nazis invaded Hungary when he was 13. In order to protect him, his father eventually placed him with a Gentile man who pretended that Soros was his son. This Gentile man was a civil servant and as such was required by the Nazi-controlled government to participate in the confiscation of Jewish property. He took Soros along with him. Soros was an involuntary spectator. He had no responsibility for the confiscations and did not profit from them.
12.20.2007 11:11pm
Bpbatista (mail):
MDJD:

Yes, Congress has the Constitutional power of the purse, and the Constitutional authority to set subject matter jurisdiction, but where does it have Constitutional authority to dictate the day-to-day activities of Article III judges absent a Constitutional grant of power? Just stating that Congress has power to pass statutes does not give them unlimited authority -- Congress cannot pass a statute ordering the President to negotiate a treaty or ordering the Supreme Court to rule a certain way or that they must work certain hours, have certain credentials or attend certain seminars. That is beyond Congress' Constitutional power regardless of what statutes it passes. For example, I don't believe that Congress has the power to alter the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or the Rules of Evidence (although I may be wrong about that).
12.21.2007 9:15am
MDJD2B (mail):
Regulation of adjudication of cases (not allowed) is not the same thing as regulation of what money a judge can earn. I think we can agree that going to meetings is not an integral part of judging, as is the FRCP.

Congress has the power to regulate judicial salary, and this arguably falls within this right.

Congress does not have the power to decrease judicial salaries, so that constitutionally, if this law is based on the congressional power to regulate salaries, it would have to be applicable only to future judicial appointments.

BTW-- why do you say that Congress can not require judges to work certain hours? Can you cite a case or secondary source?
12.21.2007 9:50am
hattio1:
Smokey,
You link to a post that talks about the democratic right, the lunatic left, and Rush Limbaugh as the most patriotic man in America (never mind the deferment during Vietnam), and expect to be taken seriously? On this blog? The enjoyable thing about this blog is that even those I almost constantly disagree with think for themselves.
12.21.2007 12:08pm
Smokey:
Bill Poser:

Obviously you did not read the interview with Soros. Why don't you give it a try? You will see that Soros brags about helping himself to the holocaust loot.
12.21.2007 12:08pm
Smokey:
hattio1:

Limbaugh?? You're deliberately trying to change the subject. The article reports on an interview with George Soros:
In his autobiograpy, modestly entitled Soros on Soros, he described how as a teenager he helped to cart off the stolen possessions of Hungarian Jewish men, women and children after they were rounded up and transported to death camps. He claims it never bothered him a bit, and still doesn't bother him today. He has no personal regrets about his actions. Somebody would have done it.
Collaborating with the Nazis isn't pretty, and maybe it was due to the pressures of WWII. But plenty of Jews and gentiles did not collaborate. They are the heroes -- not your despicable George Soros.
12.21.2007 12:28pm
byomtov (mail):
Smokey,

By your standard, anyone who did work for the Nazis under threat of death was a collaborator, and this applies even to 13-year-olds. By this criterion even many concentration camp inmates were "collaborators." Indeed, had Soros refused he likely would have endangered his protector as well as himself.

How would you have behaved in Soros' situation? Wait, I know. You would have gotten your gun, killed a few Nazis, and made a bold getaway to fight as a partisan. In your dreams.

I know we are encouraged to assume commenters are arguing in good faith, but that's impossible here. The fact is your dislike of Soros has nothing to do with his actions during WWII and everything to do with the fact that you don't like his politics and the fact that he uses his wealth to advance his ideas. get over it.
12.21.2007 1:11pm
Smokey:
byomotov:

You are mistaken. But that's OK, I understand. Anyway, to help out here, it is George Soros who is filled with venom and hatred -- for George W. Bush. He's certainly indicated as much on many occasions.

If you want to throw your lot in with the guy behind the sliming of Gen. Petraeus [Petraeus Betrayed Us], go right ahead. It's still a free country. However, since Gen. Petraeus arrived in-country, U.S. casualties have dropped by over 90% [source: this week's Economist]. Soros hates Petraeus because the C.O. makes America look good.
12.21.2007 3:42pm
hattio1:
Smokey,
the portion you link to states that he helped to cart off loot. Not that he helped himself to it. Based on the other facts here (being placed with a non-Jewish person who did this as part of his government job), I would assume he was hauling it off for the Nazi Government to take and sell on the international market. This is what happened to a lot of confiscated loot. The Nazis were evil, but not idiots. They knew confiscated loot was worth money and would help prop up their government.
12.21.2007 4:04pm
byomtov (mail):
Smokey,

First, please spell my name correctly. It's not that hard.

Second, your own latest comment demonstrates that what I said was true. You don't care one iota what Soros did as a 13-year old in 1944. You don't like him because he doesn't like Bush. Too bad.

That's all. I'm done discussing this with you.
12.21.2007 9:58pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Obviously you did not read the interview with Soros. Why don't you give it a try? You will see that Soros brags about helping himself to the holocaust loot.
Obviously your reading skills need work. He says that he "helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews." He doesn't say that he got any of it.
12.22.2007 2:43am
Smokey:
byomtov:

Sorry about the misspelling of your name. It was not intentional.

Also, sorry for mixing up Soros' admitted actions re: loot, with another article that stated he did.

It's interesting that those who vilify GWB the most always seem to give a free pass to this convicted international criminal. Politics does make strange bedfellows.


Merry Christmas, all!
12.22.2007 7:37pm