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Friday, February 12, 2016

Obama nominates Alabama federal judge Abdul Kallon to open seat on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, proving incompetence still has its rewards

Abdul Kallon
(From al.com)
What do you do if you have appointed one of the worst federal judges in modern Deep South history? If you are President Barack Obama, you try to promote him.

Abdul Kallon, a federal trial-court judge from the Northern District of Alabama, has been nominated to fill a vacant seat on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Cout of Appeals (covering Alabama, Georgia, and Florida), the White House announced yesterday.

Could Obama possibly have made a worse appointment? Given that Clarence Thomas already is on the U.S. Supreme Court and Kallon's dreadful Birmingham colleague, Reagan appointee William M. Acker Jr., is a mere 88 years old, I don't think it's possible.

Obama has a dismal record on justice issues in the South. He has ignored the grave injustice Bush administration officials inflicted upon former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman; he has appointed the ineffectual Joyce White Vance (Northern District) and George Beck (Middle District) as U.S. attorneys, who have turned blind eyes to rampant white-collar and right-wing crime in the state; he has appointed horrible district judges, such as Kallon (in 2009) and Madeline Haikala (in 2013; more on her in upcoming posts.)

Perhaps Obama said to himself, "I've made one screw-up after another on federal appointments in Alabama, so why start making good decisions now?" We do have to admire the president's consistency--he's been consistently awful on important decisions that affect our state.

How could a bright guy like Obama make one dunderhead move after another? For one, Alabama is a red state--and that's not going to change anytime soon--so Obama probably doesn't give his decisions here much thought. Also, I suspect he's taking advice from one of the state's prominent DINOs (Democrat In Name Only), someone like former Clinton-era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones or former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, who now might best be known as an Ashley Madison customer.

It's a matter of public record that Obama appointed Kallon to the bench in the first place on the recommendation of Artur Davis, who has proven to be one of the most feckless politicians of all time--crashing and burning when he tried to become governor by sucking up to corporate interests while repeatedly insulting his Democratic base.

Seeking political advice from Artur Davis is like asking Bernie Madoff for help balancing your checkbook. It's not likely to end well.

As for Doug Jones, he continues to con people into thinking he believes deeply in civil rights because he prosecuted a KKK bombing case from the 1960s. In fact, Jones (like many lawyers) is a money whore. He charged Siegelman $300,000 for criminal defense and bailed out before the case ever went to trial. All indications are that Jones kept the money, and Siegelman got almost nothing from his representation.

If Jones is involved in the decision to promote Kallon, and I'm betting he is, that explains a lot--maybe everything--about Obama's tendency to appoint worthless "Democrats" from the Alabama legal community.

What's wrong with Jones? Perhaps a better question might be, "What's not wrong with Jones?" One of his legal allies is Rob Riley, the son of former GOP Governor Rob Riley and scion of one of the South's most corrupt political families. The Rileys long have held a fondness for the right-wing Birmingham law firm Bradley Arant (BABC), shuffling some $10 million in state funds to the firm during the last two year's of Bob Riley's Reign of Error. For good measure Riley son-in-law Rob Campbell, married to Bob's daughter and Rob's sister (Minda Riley Campbell) serves as a partner at BABC, when he isn't trying to line up a little flesh on the side, via the Ashley Madison extramarital-affair Web site.

Guess what firm Abdul Kallon worked at before Obama plucked him out of obscurity and plopped him on the federal bench. If you guessed "Bradley Arant," you are a winner.

I'm not just guessing that Kallon is a wretched judge; I've seen his "work product" with my own eyes. He has been the judge in two cases that involved yours truly and my wife, Carol--one was a debt-collection case and one involved an unlawful sheriff's sale of our house in Shelby County.

I made it a practice to read Kallon's rulings closely and then check his work against the actual law. Did he make a correct call at any point in our two cases? I don't remember one.

In fact, Carol and I have come to despise Kallon so much that I wrote a 2012 piece titled "U.S. Judge Abdul Kallon Is the No. 1 Reason I Can No Longer Support Barack Obama." I was an enthusiastic Obama voter in 2008, but I don't think I voted for him in 2012--or if I did, it was only as a protest vote against Mitt Romney. I know this for sure--I never would support Obama for anything again. If a candidate for national office proves that he doesn't care whether our justice system is functional or not, I'm not interested in him.

Here's what I wrote in August 2012, roughly three months before the presidential election:

I could write a 100-page treatise on the reasons I have come to hold Barack Obama in utter contempt. They all have to do with Obama's stupefying failures on justice issues, which were driven home again last week by the resentencing of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman to almost six years in prison for "crimes" that do not exist under the law.

As a resident of Alabama, I see the Siegelman fiasco as clear evidence that a modern strain of Stalinism has come to the American South. But on an even more personal level, my disdain for Obama can be summed up in two words--Abdul Kallon.

Probably the single most important personnel decision Obama has made in our state was the appointment of the 43-year-old Kallon as a federal judge in the Northern District of Alabama. It's a lifetime job, and unless Kallon meets an untimely demise, he could be handing down rulings for another 40 years or more.

That's a scary thought because my wife and I have had two cases before Kallon--and he butchered them both.

How did Kallon butcher our debt-collection case? A summary is available here.

What about the screw job related to our house? A summary of that is available here. (Video of the actual theft of the full property rights to our own house can be viewed at the end of this post.) The key issue there was a controversial concept called the Rooker-Feldman Doctine, which essentially holds that lower federal courts (other than the U.S. Supreme Court) should not sit in direct review of state-court judgments. There are so many exceptions to Rooker-Feldman that some legal commentators have said little is left of it.

Here are details about how Kallon trampled justice in our case--and it involved something fairly important to us, our home. This might be more hard-core legal analysis than most readers want, but it provides vivid detail to show that Abdul Kallon is not qualified to sit on any federal bench, much less be promoted to the Eleventh Circuit:

Several exceptions exist to Rooker-Feldman, and some of them applied to our case. I feel certain that Abdul Kallon is smart enough to know that. But his actions suggest that granting us relief would have conflicted with the predetermined outcome that had been assigned to our case.

Here are brief looks at four specific issues on which Kallon cheated us:

(1) Mrs. Schnauzer's Claims Regarding the House She Jointly Owns--It was undisputed in our federal lawsuit that my wife is joint owner of our house. It also was undisputed that she was not a party to the state lawsuit our neighbor filed, resulting in a judgment of about $1,500 against me. A U.S. Supreme Court case styled Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S. 459 (2006) governs, and it holds:

"The Rooker-Feldman doctrine does not bar actions by nonparties to the earlier state-court judgment simply because, for purposes of preclusion law, they could be considered in privity with a party to the judgment."

Kallon clearly had jurisdiction to hear my wife's claims that her property interests had been unconstitutionally violated. He unlawfully refused to hear those claims.

(2) My Claims Regarding the House I Jointly Own--It's undisputed that I filed a claim of exemption regarding the notice of levy that had been placed on our house over the $1,500 judgment. It's undisputed that Shelby County Judge Hub Harrington, contrary to procedural and statutory law, conducted no hearing on my claim of exemption. The governing case is styled Dale v. Moore, 121 F. 3d 624 (11th Cir., 1997), and it states that Rooker-Feldman applies only where . . .

"the party seeking relief in federal court had a reasonable opportunity to raise its federal claims in the state-court proceeding."

I filed a motion stating that our neighbor, Mike McGarity, had not contested my claim of exemption, so by law, the sheriff's sale could not proceed. I cited Rule 69(f) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure and showed that was binding law where no contest had been filed. Harrington conducted no hearing on the matter and allowed the sheriff's sale to proceed, violating my rights to due process and equal protection of the law. . . .  
(3) A Final State-Court Judgment? What Final State-Court Judgment?--Rooker-Feldman can be a pain for those who have been treated unlawfully in state courts. But it comes with significant limitations. Perhaps the most important one is spelled out in Nicholson v. Shafe, 558 F. 3d 1266 (11th Cir., 2009):

"Pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, lower federal courts are precluded from exercising appellate jurisdiction over final state-court judgments."

We were contesting an unlawful sheriff's sale. It did not involve a state-court judgment, final or otherwise. It's questionable whether it even involved a state-court order. If it did, I never was served with one.

By the clear language of Nicholson, my claim was not barred by Rooker-Feldman. Kallon unlawfully barred it anyway.

(4) Inextricably Intertwined?--In some cases, a federal claim can be barred if it is found to be "inextricably intertwined" with a state-court judgment. What does that mean? A case styled Casale v. Tillman, 558 F. 3d 1258 (11th Circ., 2009) spells it out:

"A claim is inextricably intertwined if it would effectively nullify the state court judgment . . . or it succeeds only to the extent that the state court wrongly decided the issues."

My federal claim did not contest the $1,500 state-court judgment. In fact, I did not contest any state-court action. I contested the unlawful actions of Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry in allowing a sale to proceed, contrary to clear law. I also contested Judge Harrington's unlawful interference in a case that statutorily rests with the sheriff. But neither of those claims had anything to do with whether the $1,500 judgment was or was not correctly decided. And neither would nullify the state-court judgment.

The claims simply stated that if someone was going to try to make a claim on our property, they had to do it as prescribed by Alabama law.

To simplify matters, we invite you to focus on item No. 1 above. Public records show that Carol Shuler was not a party to the state-court case leading to our federal claim. And the law clearly states that the claims of anyone not a party to an underlying state case are not precluded by Rooker-Feldman. It's undisputed that Carol was joint owner of our house, so she had a major property interest in the bogus sheriff's sale.

All of that tells us that Kallon is not just incompetent; he's also corrupt. No judge could be so incompetent as to get item No. 1 wrong. But Kallon got it wrong, and that tells me someone told him our case was to go away quietly, and he went along with it--even if that meant Carol's property rights were trampled.

If Alabama's Republican U.S. Senator's, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, decide to block the Kallon nomination, I would side with them. And I don't agree with Shelby or Sessions on much of anything.

More than likely, the Senate will give Kallon a free pass to the Eleventh Circuit, without taking a serious look at his shortcomings as a judge.

If that happens, I can think of one positive outcome--residents of the Northern District of Alabama will no longer have to worry about Kallon trashing their cases at the trial-court level. They will only have to worry about him, and his equally corrupt colleague Bill Pryor, if they have to file an appeal.


Anonymous said...

Been wondering if you were going to weigh in on this, LS.

legalschnauzer said...

Wonder no more, @11:11. I hope others realize what a horrible choice this is, and not just because Kallon screwed Carol and me on two cases. He's from Bradley Arant, for crying out loud, one of the most right-wing, corrupt law firms in the South--in the country. At Bradley Arant, he defended employers who discriminate. And he's appointed by a Democratic president, one who supposedly believes in civil rights.

Anonymous said...

This is a big reason the Democratic Party has turned off so many white middle-class voters. This clearly is an Affirmative Action nomination, and Kallon's original appointment to the bench was about Affirmative Action. I'm not saying Affirmative Action is always bad, but make sure your appointees are qualified, that they aren't just getting the position because of the color of their skin.

I believe you've made a strong case that Abdul Kallon does not deserve this position.

legalschnauzer said...

I think you make a solid point, @11:18. I support Affirmative Action in general--I think we needed it in the past, we need it now, and we probably will need it into the future. But I don't support it when it props up bad candidates like Abdul Kallon.

He spent his career at Bradley Arant fighting against the civil rights of others. I doubt the guy is even a registered Democrat, for God's sakes.

If anyone wants to make the case that Abdul Kallon is a good federal judge and wise choice for the 11th Circuit, they are invited to make it here. I don't believe the case can be made.

Anonymous said...

The facts and the law on the issue of Carol not being a party to the underlying state case seem real clear. That Kallon screwed that up raises big questions about his integrity and competence.

Anonymous said...

Obama has made appointing women and minorities to the federal courts a priority. I think he is to be commended for that.

The fact that this judge worked at Bradley Arant and tossed out your case does not make him unqualified. He seems to have a very impressive background.

In today's atmosphere of xenophobia and anti-immigrant ugliness, I would think you would support this judge if he had not ruled against you. I don't see how you can possibly provide a fair view of this.

legalschnauzer said...

I also applaud Obama if he attempts to appoint competent, qualified, honorable women and minorities to the bench. Kallon is none of those things. The fact that Kallon ruled against Carol and me does not make him unqualified. The fact Kallon repeatedly ruled contrary to law, in two cases, does make him unqualified.

I would support most any judge, immigrant or otherwise, who has a demonstrated history of following the law and treating all parties who come before him (not just corporations or institutions) fairly. Kallon has not done that.

It's not a matter of whether I can provide a fair view of this. I would encourage you to look up the facts and relevant law in our two cases and do a fair analysis of them. If you do, you will see how he butchered the law, over and over. In my view, that calls both his competence and integrity into question.

legalschnauzer said...

One other point I should make, since you brought up Bradley Arant in your comment. Kallon spent much of his time at Bradley Arant defending employers who faced allegations of discrimination. Specifically, he helped defend Campus Crest Communities--based in Charlotte, NC--against hair-raising charges of discrimination against blacks and women.

I will be writing about that in upcoming posts. The notion that Kallon, because he's black, is a champion of blacks and women is absurd. It is not remotely supported by his record.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, Schnauzer, quit riding the fence. Tell us how you really feel about Kallon.

Anonymous said...

How would this have to procede, if it was simply a maneuver to get him off the bench.

legalschnauzer said...

I don't know, @3:05. First, I don't think it's a maneuver to get him off the bench. I doubt that anyone in the Obama admin knows or cares that Kallon is a horrible judge. In a way, it will be good for the people of Alabama because he won't screw up their cases at the trial-court level--his incompetence will be spread over three states instead of just part of one state.

I hope I'm wrong about this, but I wonder if this announcement was timed to boost Hillary Clinton with black voters. There are stories out today about that very subject, and the Kallon announcement came yesterday. If that's the case, it's an unbelievably cynical calculation by the White House, and it's likely to hurt Sec. Clinton more than help her.

Kallon has a history of working against the interests of black Americans. I've written posts about that here and will revisit that subject in light of his latest nomination.

I would love to see him off the bench all together, and I hope you are onto something. But I suspect, Kallon will wind up on the 11th Circuit.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how the "sale" of your house caused any damage to Carol. Carol only has half of the interest in the house. As long as the equity in your house is valued over $3,000 (which we all know it was), the $1,500 would have come out of your half of the house. You continued to live in the house as if it was fully your own, until you were foreclosed on. You were living there when you had your day in federal court. Since Carol's interest were not harmed, that claim is moot. You only feel he was corrupt because he didn't side with you.

Anonymous said...

Kallon was nominated to fill a federal seat that has been vacant since 2013. Congress goes into recess july 18.If he is a recess appointment, he will be history in 2017.

legalschnauzer said...

That would be a great outcome, @7:35. That might mean Kallon would be off the federal bench altogether. I'm all for it.

legalschnauzer said...

You "fail to see," @5:27, because you aren't capable of seeing--or you are too lazy to try. With the sheriff's deed, Carol could not refinance the house, use it for an equity loan, sell it--she lost huge rights because of a case to which she was not a party. She could not do anything with HER house unless she took care of the bogus sheriff's deed first.

I'm not sure about the procedure for this, but I believe she also was subject to a forced foreclosure, which Swatek threatened to pull a few years back when I was about to out him for an improper relationship he had with a client. In fact, I'm still working on that story because it speaks volumes about the kind of "man" and "lawyer" Bill Swatek really is.

I'm not going to waste more time here in comments trying to explain this to someone who apparently isn't smart enough to understand. On the off chance, you want to know the actual issues involved, contact me at rshuler3156@gmail.com. If you have a genuine interest in justice, I would be glad to talk with you. If you are a troll, as I suspect, I have no use for you.

Anonymous said...

Carol couldn't have refinanced the house on her own anyway, since it was not her house. The house belonged to both of you. Carol didn't have a job. What bank would give her a loan? Why don't you take responsibility for your actions in this. You caused the property to be encumbered because you refused to pay the judgement. Take some responsibility.

legalschnauzer said...

Just how dense are you, @1:26? Carol could not refinance the house because there was a sheriff's deed on it. The house most certainly did belong to her--and to me. But both of us had our hands tied by the sheriff's deed, which is pretty much the same as a lien. Kallon screwed me every which way, but at least I was a party to the underlying state-court case. Carol was not a party, and that is a matter of public record. And under the law, if you bother to read it (which you obviously haven't), her claim could not be excluded by Rooker-Feldman.

BTW, Carol did have a job duing this period, multiple jobs, so you are ignorant there. I didn't refuse to pay the judgment, I was never asked to pay the judgment, never received a demand letter--so you are ignorant there. Take some responsibility for learning a little about a subject before you pop off.

Sorry to say, but you are in way over your head. My offer stands to discuss this via phone or e-mail, but you clearly are a troll--one who won't take responsibility for his own ignorance.

Anonymous said...

In the past, you have blogged about Carol getting fired from her job and blamed one republican or another. You acted as if Carol only had the one job and couldn't get another one because of the grand conspiracy. I'm sure they went straight from winning the judgement to selling the rights to your part of the house. Carol couldn't do anything with her half without you. You knew there was a judgement and you knew there was a sheriff's sale. You could have paid the money at any point, even after the sale to remove the lien. You invite problems into your life then want to blame everybody else. You seem to be the only common denominator in all of the problems you have blogged about.

Anonymous said...

Maybe O'Bama is getting him prepped for even bigger things! https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-justice-antonin-scalia-dies-at-79/2016/02/13/effe8184-a62f-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-banner-high_scalia-535pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

legalschnauzer said...

I don't think I've ever called a commenter a dumbass before, but I'm calling you a dumbass because that's what you are:

A. I've never said, or hinted, that Carol had only one job and could not get another because of some grand conspiracy.

B. You say, "I'm sure they went straight from winning the judgment to selling the rights to your part of the house." What does that mean? Do you have any clue how this process, by law, is supposed to work--even though the law means nothing in Shelby County?

C. You say, "Carol couldn't do anything with her half of the house without you." Again, you have no clue about the issues at stake. The point is that Carol's claim could not be precluded by Rooker-Feldman because she was not a party to the state case. The law clearly says that, she clearly was not part of the state case, but Kallon ignored her claims anyway. That is unlawful, and you haven't (and can't) prove otherwise.

D. Do you know what a sheriff's deed or lien even is? Try asking someone who has ever had a lien on his house what it's like. It limits your property rights in major ways, and I've outlined several of them above.

E. You don't seem to understand that our system allows parties to challenge rulings that go against them. I challenged the judgment and challenged the sheriff's sale, as I was allowed to do by law. You show me any law that says someone has to pay a judgment, even when the opposing party hasn't tried to collect. Again, you can't. You pay people money that they don't even claim you owe? If so, you really are a dumbass.

Why don't you take up my offer to contact me and discuss this one on one? I can only assume that you are both a dumbass and a coward. Nice way to go through life.

To conclude, the point of this post is that Kallon ruled unlawfully in our case. Why don't you research the law and see if you can prove otherwise. You can't, and you probably are too lazy to try. Much easier for a dumbass slob to lob spitballs, like a 5-year-old.

legalschnauzer said...

Scary thought, @4:52. Kallon actually might be worse than Scalia. I suspect Obama knows Kallon is a lightweight. Certainly will be interesting to see who the prez nominates for this spot. If it's a wise choice, Scalia's death could be the best news to hit U.S. in a long time. Few people have done more to harm the United States than he has (along with his evil twin, Clarence Thomas).

Anonymous said...

If I know I owe someone money, they don't have to ask for it. You knew you owed the money, so you should just pay it. Paying the $1,500 would have been cheaper in the long run for you. I have never been sued, but if I am ever sued, I will make my case and if I lose, I would pay the money. Sounds like you and Carol need to get a job and try to get out of that motel your in.

legalschnauzer said...

Well, you really are a dumbass. Thanks for proving it.

Let me share a few facts to get in the way of your fantasy.

By law, I didn't owe anyone a dime. A jury issued the ruling in a case that, by law, could not go to trial. I've cited the law and facts on this blog many times, showing the case could not go to trial. You are welcome to look it up here or you can check your own resources.

Can you prove, under the law, that I owed anyone money? Give it a shot, do some legal research. Bet you can't do it. In fact, I know you can't do it because it isn't possible.

Are you Mike McGarity or Bill Swatek, or are you related to one of them? I ask because you are one of the few people I've ever encountered whose stupidity, and lack of respect for the law, rivals theirs.

Anonymous said...

So, when you get a jury trial, your upset and say that you shouldn't have had a jury trial. When you don't get a jury trial, you get upset and say that you should have had a jury trial. Some people are just never going to be happy.

And no, I am not related to either of those individuals, nor do I know them. And I am pretty sure you have called commenters dumb asses in the past.

Anonymous said...

I have read all your post and some of them, more than once.If you were reincarnated,you were Sir William Blackstone in another life.You explain law for the average person to understand.
I have noticed two different kinds of commentators appearing lately;1 Those Ashley Madison comments of someone whose ox is fixing to get gored.2 Your hard work is beginning to bear fruit.@5:27 is the second type.His comment is the long version of calling you "You little man"

Anonymous said...

I may be a dumb ass, but I live in my own home, with a nice job and I never had to have my mommy pay any bills for me.

legalschnauzer said...

Since you are such a smashing success, @2:39, why don't you tell us who you are, where you live, where you work, etc. Based on an anonymous comment, neither I nor my readers, has any reason to believe a word you say about your highly successful life. If you want to be taken seriously, ID yourself so we can make a determination for ourselves. Send us some pictures of your house and all the toys you've bought from your smashing success. Something tells me you are too big a coward to do it. Something also tells me you are a fraud, plus a dumbass.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for your comment, @5:36. The truth is threatening to some people, and more and more, that is reflected in the comments here.

legalschnauzer said...

You are such a dumbass, @4:47, that I think you are beyond help. But I will try to help you out anyway. Try actually reading my comment at @2:00. I didn't say I "shouldn't have had a jury trial." I said, by law, there could be no trial at all. I've explained that many times on this blog. Go to the search function at the top of this blog and key in the word "Voyager," and it will call up posts that explain things in a way that even you should understand. If you don't believe me, and you live in Alabama, you can go to your local county law library and look up the law. Of course, you might live in Missouri and not Alabama. In which case, I would suggest Google Scholar as a way to find the law.

Anonymous said...

According to the ABA, Kallon is "well qualified." That's their highest rating, and takes integrity into account. Thoughts?

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for the research, @1:12. My response is that I've had two cases before Kallon, and he ruled contrary to law (on numerous occasions) in both of them. I don't know who makes the ABA rankings, but I wonder if the person ever has been a party before Kallon. My guess is that ABA rankings are by lawyers, for lawyers. They probably don't take the public into account. After all, regular people don't much matter in ABA World.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you take a look at the information the ABA puts out publicly on the process. Just do a google search for "ABA standing committee on the federal judiciary" and you will find a lot of information.

In a nutshell, the committee is made up of a 15 lawyer committee. They review public filings, bar discipline records, cases the candidate has handled. They also interview between 50 and 70 judges and lawyers who know the candidate. The committee then votes based on the result of this investigation. They would have followed this process on Kallon.

Unfortunately, none of their records are public, but the ABA plays a major role in deciding who our federal judges are. It would be great to see what information they have on Kallon, I am betting it's a lot. Maybe worth an email or call from the Legal Schanuzer to the committee chair.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for more interesting info, @1:38. I would be interested in seeing what information they have on Kallon, but if their overall finding is that he's "well qualified," it makes me think their process is a whitewash. I find it interesting that they interview 50-70 lawyers and judges who know the candidate, but they apparently do not interview parties who have come before the candidate, and they don't review the candidate's rulings to see if they comply with law.

I feel pretty confident in saying that Carol and I know more about how Kallon does his job than anyone on that committee.

One word of warning I would make to any member of the public: Be careful when you hear one lawyer praise another lawyer (or a judge). I've had people tell me, "So and so is a great lawyer, you really need to see him." And in pretty much every instance, the lawyer was extremely unimpressive. That's not to say everyone will have a similar experience. But our legal problems have been caused, to a great extent, by members of the legal profession. I feel certain many lawyers know this--because I know many lawyers read my blog--and that makes Carol and I (and our legal issues) toxic to the "tribe."

It's important to keep in mind that the bar is just a large club, a fraternity if you will. You also could call it a tribe. Experience tells me it involves a tribal form of thinking that often is not based in reality; it's based on protecting fellow tribe members, making them look honorable when they aren't.

When Kallon was nominated, I feel certain he was not close to being the most qualified lawyer in his own firm. He happened to fit what the Obama administration was looking for at the moment, but I've seen nothing to suggest he was a distinguished lawyer, much less a distinguished judge.