Surprise, another Harvard grad has been nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The clearest evidence of America’s unacknowledged class system is undoubtedly the U.S. Supreme Court, which continues year-after- year to be populated almost exclusively by law school graduates from two elite private universities on the East coast, Harvard and Yale.
This is the Court of last resort in America. The third branch of government. It should not be dominated by two elite private schools over which taxpayers have no control. Harvard and Yale are the equivalent of private clubs.
President Joe Biden on Friday nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School to replace retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer, also a Harvard JD. She is currently a justice on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington, DC.
If Judge Jackson’s nomination is approved, she will contribute to the racial diversity of the court as the first African-American woman on the Court. But she will continue the lack of intellectual diversity on the Court.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that a trio of Wood County, TX, officials must answer charges they conspired to retaliate against a police captain because he exercised his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
The three-judge panel ruled 2-1 to deny qualified immunity to the defendants, local Judge Jeff Fletcher, Sheriff Tom Castloo and former District Attorney James Wheeler.
Quitman Police Department Captain Terry Bevill has charged the trio with conspiring to have him fired and arrested for agreeing to a lawyer’s request to sign an affidavit for a friend
Bevill signed the affidavit in his personal capacity to support a venue transfer for the criminal trial of former Wood County Jail Administrator David McGee. Bevill said McGee would not get a fair trial in the county for facilitating the escape of an inmate and tampering with government documents because of the close personal relationship between Castloo, Wheeler and Fletcher.
The affidavit described Belvill “[a]s a longtime resident and law enforcement officer” who was “familiar with the local players and political climate.”
Castloo, Wheeler and Fletcher subsequently demanded Quitman Mayor David Dobbs fire Bevill, allegedly threatening to refuse to take future cases and to deny support for the police department. After pressure from Dobbs, Police Chief Kelly Cole fired Belvill on the grounds he violated a policy that bars police from interfering with courts.
Meanwhile, McGee’s case was not transferred and a jury found him guilty.
Sarah Palin lost her libel trial against The New York Times on Tuesday but a question lingers about whether she was treated fairly.
Palin, a 2008 GOP candidate for vice president, is not beloved by the powers that be. She is a gun-toting hick from Alaska who is not well read and who makes hokie references to “hockey moms” and “lipstick on a pig.” Palin, a former Alaska governor, is especially loathed by Harvard grads and urban elites.
Still, the beauty of the American justice system is that even the most despised are entitled to basic fairness and justice under the law.
It rankles that U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, 78, the semi-retired judge who presided over the trial, announced Monday that Palin had not met the high standard for malice to prevail in the case. He said he would dismiss the case regardless of the jury’s verdict.
The jury was deliberating at the time. Reuters reported Wednesday that jurors received phone notifications that the judge had decided to dismiss the case regardless of their verdict. Clearly Judge Rakoff’s pronouncement could have prejudiced the jury.
Timing Is Everything
It was Judge Rakoff’s job to tell the jury what the law is and the jury’s job to apply the law to the facts in the case.
The jury was in the process of deciding whether the NYT showed actual malice in 2017 when it published a preposterous allegation that a political ad by Palin’s political action committee incited the 2011 shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and 18 others at a constituent meeting in Tucson. Indeed, the editorial said “the link to political incitement was clear.” The editorial was written by two NYT editorial writers and cleared by a NYT fact checker.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) seems to have jumped the gun on an anticipated executive order by Pres. Joe Biden when it instituted a major change in U.S. prison policy.
The BOP, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, issued a notice on Jan. 13 stating it will henceforth assign “transgender or intersex” inmates to women’s prisons to “ensure the inmate’s health and safety.”
That very provision was included in a draft of an executive order on police reform crafted for Pres. Joe Biden that has not yet been signed because, according to the New York Times, it has precipitated a “near breakdown” between the White House and law enforcement authorities.
The NYT reported Thursday that a copy of the proposed order was obtained on Jan. 5 by a conservative web site, The Federalist.
The NYT fails to even mention that The Federalist article decried a provision in the draft order enabling the BOP to assign male prisoners who self-identify as women to facilities in accordance with their gender identity.
Instead, the Times focuses on a provision of the draft order that allows police to use deadly force only “as a last resort when there is no reasonable alternative, in other words only when necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death.”
The draft order, dated December 2021, requires “the U.S. attorney general to ‘within 30 days of the date of this order, begin the process of identifying any necessary changes to the [Bureau of Prisons] Transgender Offender Manual … to enable BOP to designate individuals to facilities in accordance with their gender identity.’
When I was in my 50s, I considered transitioning into a career teaching media law at a major university.
I applied for a half-dozen jobs and each time I was selected as one of three finalists and invited to the campus to present a lecture. Each invitation took a couple of days, many hours of preparation, travel time and exhaustive work.
Each time I was rejected in favor of a young newly-minted PhD with no experience, or a member of a minority group who was far less qualified. When I talked to a professor friend about this, he said I would never be hired because, “You’re too old.” I stopped wasting my time.
Apparently, no one told Brian Flores the game of hiring is rigged.
Former Miami Dolphins Coach Brian Flores recently sued the National Football League and its 32 teams alleging they discriminated against him and other Black coaches in their hiring practices.
It seems NFL teams pick at least one minority as a finalist for coaching jobs for the sake of appearances and Flores is getting tired of being that minority.