It’s true that the Fifth Circuit is heavy laden with Republican appointees. And being a federal court of appeals judge has become almost a prerequisite to ascend up to the Supreme Court. Every present judge on the current Court was elevated from the federal court of appeals system.
The Fifth Circuit regularly leads all appeals courts throughout the country in its decisions being over turned by the U.S. Supreme Court. In an expose’ of the Fifth Circuit’s recent rulings, the Times Picayune quoted both Justices on the Supreme Court as well as prominent law professors who regularly lambasted verdicts handed down in New Orleans. University of Houston law professor David Dow said it seems clear that the Supreme Court “has lost confidence in the Fifth Circuit’s handling of capital cases.” And retired Justice Sandra Day O’Conner was equally blunt in criticizing the Fifth Circuit saying it was “paying lip service to principles of jurisprudence and that often the Fifth’s reasoning “has no foundation in the decisions of this court.”
Here are just a few of the headlines about the dysfunction that seems to be in the fabric of 5th Circuit judges.
Fifth Circuit Covers Up Serious Judicial Misconduct!
Another Conflict of Interest Uncovered on the Fifth Circuit!
Judicial Diva Gone Wild? Chief Judge Tells Fellow Judge to “Shut Up!”
Chief Judge Attacks Fellow Judge!
Pattern of Misconduct Demands Full Investigation of Fifth Circuit Judges!
It’s a shame for those who have to deal with the Fifth Circuit that its standing is so soiled and that the reputation of some of its members has degenerated to the point of such serious criticism. During the civil rights era, Louisiana federal judges like John Minor Wisdom, J. Skelly Wright and Albert Tate were held in high regard nationally. Their work was admired and quoted in the nation’s best law schools. But with such a mediocre judicial stature today, Louisiana won’t be in the running for one of its own to move up to the nation’s highest court.
Federal court watchers have a name for federal judges who lack the scholarship, the temperament, the learning, and are simply in the wrong occupation. They are called “gray mice.” It seems pretty obvious that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is full of such critters. Unfortunately, there is not much, short of impeachment, the disciplinary system can do about them. But the court’s continuing incompetence places one more stain on the reputation of Louisiana.
“Judges are the weakest link in our system of justice, and they are also the most protected.”
Professor Alan M Dershowitz
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.