Archive for the courts

"What a sad caricature our democracy has become."

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frustrated14

Today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Deficit extremists, blind to data, are doing active economic harm," Column, June 12

It is so refreshing to read Michael Hiltzik's explanation of how Congress' ill-timed obsession with deficit reduction actually retards economic growth. Other priorities, especially job creation, deserve much greater emphasis.

But Hiltzik makes another valuable point that merits wider discussion: With current interest rates so low, this is an ideal time to start digging ourselves out of our backlog in infrastructure maintenance.

In its "2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure," the American Society of Civil Engineers gives America a "D+" for the state of our dams, levees, roads and schools, among others. Just one of many distressing examples: The National Park Service struggles with an $11 billion maintenance backlog.

To create jobs, grow the economy and remedy this shameful underfunding, we need investment in infrastructure now.

Grace Bertalot

Anaheim

***

Re "A restrained state budget," Editorial, and "A longer day in court," June 13

Shame on the governor, the Legislature and, frankly, The Times' editorial board. The dismantling of the California legal system, our third branch of government, continues with the new proposed state budget. Your editorial makes no mention of our courts, where citizens wait too long for justice.

The California courthouse infrastructure, especially in Los Angeles County, was built from decades of prudent decisions, and now many locations are being closed down. We have a transportation infrastructure built over decades with billions of dollars. Would we shut down the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine to save money? Of course not; that would be stupid and silly.

So is the closing of our courthouses.

Clayton Anderson

San Clemente

***

Re "Warning on greenhouse gases," June 11

The International Energy Agency, "an independent research group established by the world's most-industrialized nations," has sounded a warning on the perils of climate change if greenhouse gas emissions remain unchecked. The lying, greedy conspiracy of climate scientists has obviously gotten to them.

Congress remains uninterested, but a miraculous reversal in interest would suddenly manifest if only the scientific community could outmatch the fossil fuel industry's kickbacks to lawmakers loyally blocking any action. What a sad caricature our democracy has become.

Wendy Blais

North Hills

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Republican Federal Judge: How the GOP Has Packed the Courts With Partisan Hacks

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scales of injustice

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

The hijacking of the federal judiciary by the Republican Party – through the appointment of aggressive partisan judges combined with preventing votes on nominations by Democratic presidents – is the hidden cancer on US government.  The sudden nixing of recess appointments last week by a DC appellate court panel of three Republican-appointed judges (in this case Obama filling empty National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seats and appointing Richard Cordray to chair the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) during a recess to circumvent endless Republican sabotage in the Senate) is symbolic of the macro-subversion of justice through manipulation of the federal bench, including, of course the Supreme Court. [...]

Enter David Sentelle, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Not only is the DC appellate court the most powerful in the land, it is essentially the pre-trial hearing ground for government cases before they reach the Supreme Court (if the Supreme Court chooses to hear an appeal).

Last week, Sentelle headed the three-judge panel that voided the NLRB and CFPB appointments.  As we know, unlike elected officials, federal judges are appointed for life (unless they are impeached by Congress, resign or die).  [...]

But to revisit just a few of Sentelle's GOP water carrying rulings, we can start with his leading the overturning of the convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter as obtained by Lawrence Walsh, independent prosecutor for the Iran-Contra scandal.  

Sentelle changed the course of US history when he appointed Ken Starr to oversee the so-called Whitewater investigation of the Clintons.  [...]

Who then supervised Ken Starr?, Why a federal DC appellate court special division headed by Sentelle – which allowed Starr to proceed on an investigation that had morphed into what Joe Conason and Gene Lyons called in a must-read book: "The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton."  Clinton would have never been impeached if it were not for Sentelle carrying out the political dirty work of Helms and Faircloth on behalf of the Republicans on Capitol Hill. [...]

The calamitous impact of the strategic long-range control of the top levels of the federal bench by Republicans continues unabated.

A Januray 5 Los Angeles Times article, "Obama struggles to nominate, confirm federal judges," notes...

[Obama] has had fewer judges confirmed than any first-term president in a quarter of a century, and he is the first chief executive unable to appoint anyone to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decides challenges to federal regulations.

This is also true of appointments to regulatory agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board and the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. [...]

Given Harry Reid's cave on filibuster reform, relief does not appear to be on the way -- for either judiciary or regulatory appointments.

Please read the rest here.

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VIDEO- Why Rachel Maddow gave me nightmares: The GOP-dominated court system

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Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I literally cried as I watched this last night. I shortened the segment down. I suggest you watch every one of the seven minutes.

"Unprecedented... This is a very intentional, well-designed program, to keep as many seats open so that a future Republican president will put judges on... many of those judges side almost always with big corporations..."

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New York courts impose new foreclosure rule

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Who woulda thought this wasn't being done?

(Reuters) - New York courts will become the first in the United States to require lawyers handling foreclosures for banks and servicers to take steps to ensure the procedure is done properly, the state's top judge said on Wednesday.

Effective immediately, lawyers representing the plaintiffs in residential foreclosure actions must file signed affirmations that they took reasonable steps to verify the accuracy of documents.

New York is one of 23 states where court approval is needed to foreclose.

Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, said the rule is in response to disclosures by several mortgage lenders of problems in the foreclosure process, including in the notarization and so-called "robosigning" of documents.

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