Friday, May 19, 2006

Pick the Most Disturbing Example

Edward Whelan describes three judges. Figure out which examples are the most disturbing and seem the greatest violation of judicial ethics.
(A) Judge A is a state supreme-court justice who faces a hotly contested retention election. Pending before his court is a case in which an organization has submitted an amicus brief. While the case is pending and in the midst of the battle over Judge A’s retention election, that organization creates an annual award named after Judge A to be given to a person who, in the view of that organization, has made outstanding contributions to the law. Judge A presents the first annual Judge A award at the organization’s annual convention. Several months later, in dissent, Judge A adopts the position that the organization advocated in its amicus brief.

(B) Judge B is a federal district judge in a personal-injury action against cigarette manufacturers. A court of appeals takes what it calls the “extraordinary” action of removing him from a case because it concludes that a ruling of his amounts to a “judicial usurpation of power,” is contrary to our “common law tradition,” ignores “fundamental concepts of due process,” eviscerates the defendants’ right of appeal, and destroys any appearance of impartiality. Unchastened by this correction, Judge B personally accepts from an anti-smoking group an award for his ruling: the “C. Everett Koop Award for significant achievement toward creating a smokefree society.”

(C) To a lesser extent than Justice Ginsburg did while sitting on the Supreme Court, Judge C, as a federal district judge, takes part in a small number of cases that involve parties in which he has a very minor stock holding. It is clear to all fair-minded observers that his participation was inadvertent, that the cases could not possibly have affected the value of his minor stock holdings, and that his decisions in those cases were rendered impartially.
Now, guess which of these examples describe Clinton nominees and which describe Bush nominees. Click on over to Whelan's column to find out who is who.