|Judge Dave Proctor and wife, Teresa, with children Jake,|
Shelly, Luke, and daughter-in-law Dana.
In a stunning turn of events, the federal judge who repeatedly made unlawful rulings in our "House Case," has stepped down in the matter. In an event that was not stunning, the judge was utterly dishonest in stating his reasons for stepping down -- and his absence, so far, has done nothing to promote the cause of justice. That's because the judge who replaced him already has proven to be as bad, if not worse.
Judge R. David Proctor stepped down in an order, dated February 23, that might be the most duplicitous piece of legal "reasoning" I've encountered -- and that is saying something. My wife, Carol, and I had moved for Proctor's recusal on February 9, based mainly on his crooked ties to former U.S. Senator and current Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Our motion to recuse and Proctor's order in response to it are embedded at the end of this post.)
How sleazy a pair are Proctor and Sessions? It's a matter of public record that, while in private practice, Proctor helped get former U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon (the first black federal judge in Alabama history) removed from a 1990s case in which Sessions was a defendant, as Alabama's attorney general. The Proctor-Sessions scheme, described in one court opinion as "unethical conduct," added to the mountain of evidence that Sessions is a racist. (The latest news about Sessions and bigotry came out yesterday.)
Proctor and his firm at the time (Lehr Middlebrooks Price and Proctor) made it a practice to use dubious tactics to get Clemon removed from cases. That strongly suggests Proctor is a racist, too, and that issue becomes particularly powerful when you read an Eleventh Circuit opinion in a case styled In re: BellSouth Corporation, 334, F. 3d 941 (11th Cir., 2003). We will take a close look at that case in upcoming posts, but suffice to say it makes Proctor and his former firm look like courtroom crooks.
His most recent order in "The House Case" makes it appear Proctor hasn't changed much. Why do Proctor's ties to Sessions matter in our case, and why did we cite them in our Motion to Recuse? Well, at least four defendants in the case -- Jessica Medeiros Garrison, Rob Riley, Cliff Sims, and Yellowhammer News -- have documented and strong affiliations with Sessions. Given that Proctor almost certainly owes his federal appointment during the George W. Bush years to Sessions, you can see where a glaring conflict of interest enters the picture.
With all of his unlawful rulings in "The House Case," is Proctor trying to protect Sessions' cronies? It's hard to imagine a rational person not asking that question. But R. David Proctor, supposedly a "devout Christian" from Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA), does not want to go there. In fact, he twists himself into a pretzel trying to make it appear he hasn't been cheating us all along.
Try not to laugh when you read the following: Proctor claims in his order that he is denying our Motion to Recuse, but he must recuse anyway. Then, he admits he's had a conflict since the beginning of our case, but claims it only surfaced recently. (I warned you: This guy deals in heavy-duty cow feces, the kind that emits dreadful odors in barnyards across the country.)
You can almost feel Proctor's indignation and self-righteousness jumping off the page of his order. And he starts by taking shots at us, something he's done since the earliest days of the case by referring to us as "frequent filers":
Before the court is a motion to recuse the undersigned, and every other judge in this district, from further participation in this case. . . . Similar to their pleadings in this case, Plaintiffs’ motion makes wild, implausible allegations that resemble Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon in their effort to connect the alleged plotters in a bizarre, fantastic conspiracy. (Note: Proctor fails to mention the reason all judges in the district, and in the Eleventh Circuit, should recuse. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor, with his duty station at the Hugo Black Courthouse, is essentially Proctor's boss/overlord -- and Pryor is a defendant in our "Jail Case," which is loosely related to our "House Case.")
Pulling the old Kevin Bacon bit out of his white, doughy ass? Boy, that takes some creativity on Proctor's part. Then, get this: After denying our Motion to Recuse, Proctor admits our allegations of his conflict are not so "wild" and "implausible" after all. In fact, they are true:
Nevertheless, for reasons wholly unrelated to the “arguments” made in the motion, the undersigned hereby RECUSES himself from further participation in this case. On February 10, 2017, approximately four weeks after the court’s dismissal order was entered, Luther Strange, a party-defendant in this action before its dismissal, was sworn in as Alabama’s newest United States Senator. One of Senator Strange’s initial hires is a young staffer who worked on Senator Jeff Sessions’ staff (until then Senator Sessions’ appointment as the 84th Attorney General of the United States) and who is related to the undersigned. Based upon these events, which occurred after the court’s dismissal of this action, it is appropriate for the undersigned to RECUSE.
Talk about "wild," "implausible," and "fantastic"! Let's break down what Proctor is saying here:
(1) He denies our Motion to Recuse, but twice states (in BIG LETTERS) that he "recuses" himself. It, however, has nothing to do with our motion. Ummm . . . Hmmm. (You get a lifetime appointment with this kind of "thinking," folks.)
(2) He claims the conflict arose a couple of weeks ago when Luther Strange became U.S. senator and started hiring staffers. But he admits the young staffer in question, now a Strange employee, had worked for Sessions for quite some time. This tells us: (a) That the Sessions-related conflicts outlined in our Motion to Recuse are, in fact, on target; and (b) The conflicts date to the beginning of our case, showing that (in Proctor's own words) every one of his rulings is tainted and should, by law, be vacated.
(3) Notice that Proctor refuses to note the multiple defendants in our case who are closely tied to Sessions -- and there is zero doubt Proctor knows this, given his own documented ties to Sessions. But he tries to make the issue about Luther Strange and one of the senator's new employees. Does anyone else find it nauseating to be exposed to such blatant con artistry? R. David Proctor is nothing more than "a worm with a robe."
(4) Isn't it curious that the young Strange employee, who used to work for Sessions, doesn't have a name -- and his relation to Proctor is not spelled out? Why is that?
(5) Proctor wants us to believe his conflict had nothing to do with dismissal of our case. But he admits his relative's ties to Sessions go back awhile. That means Proctor has been conflicted out the wazoo from the beginning of our case, but he is too big a worm to admit it.
A reasonable person might think, "Well, with Proctor off the case, Mr. and Mrs. Schnauzer now should get a fair shake." Such a person would be hopelessly unfamiliar with the reality of our broken court system. After Proctor stepped down, the case landed with U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins, another George W. Bush appointee.
It took Hopkins exactly four days to prove she is just as corrupt as Proctor. Four days! She must have taken review of the case seriously, right?
Your tax dollars are supporting this kind of skulduggery -- and Hopkins, like Proctor, does not even try to hide what she's doing.
(To be continued)