|Judge William M. Acker Jr., right, with|
Stanford Professor Jack Rakove
Newt Gingrich has made the bashing of federal judges a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Gingrich actually has picked an excellent target--but for all of the wrong reasons.
Federal judges deserve serious scrutiny, and they rarely get it. Just in the Hugo Black U.S. Courthouse here in Birmingham, I've seen ample evidence that suggests corruption is widespread among federal judges. And that's where Gingrich goes off the tracks.
The Newtster frequently rails about "activist judges" who make decisions that are "out of the step" with the country. In other words, Gingrich does not like judges who make discretionary rulings with which he disagrees--and he usually is pointing a finger at U.S. circuit judges, the ones who rule on appellate cases.
But judges who make tough calls on close issues of law--or even on matters "of first impression"--are not the major problem with our justice system. In our constitutional democracy, appellate courts are supposed to make close calls in a way that might not always be popular, ensuring that the "tyranny of the majority" does not strip away rights of those in the minority.
Our real problem is one that is less high-minded and occurs regularly at the lower levels of our system--in the U.S. district courts. I'm talking about cases where federal trial judges knowingly and intentionally rule contrary to clear, bedrock law.
We've seen this happen in high-profile criminal cases, including the political prosecutions of Don Siegelman in Alabama and Paul Minor in Mississippi. Federal judges Mark Fuller and Henry Wingate, respectively, issued jury instructions in both cases that were not in line with the actual law. That meant both Siegelman and Minor were convicted of "crimes" that do not exist.
Judicial skulduggery is not limited to criminal cases involving public figures. I've seen it happen time and again in civil matters involving regular folks. And I've witnessed corrupt rulings by federal judges from all sides of the cultural and political spectrum.
Let's consider two federal judges here in Birmingham--William M. Acker Jr. and Abdul Kallon.
On the surface, Acker and Kallon could not be more different.
Acker is a white, 84-year-old Reagan appointee with a prune face and a faux folksy manner that he uses in an effort to hide the fact he's a nasty, weaselly son of a bitch. Acker could not be more old-school Alabama. Multiple sources have told me that, as a young man, Acker attended the Dixiecrat convention at Boutwell Auditorium in 1948. That's the convention where Strom Thurmond was nominated for president, and it means a racist heart probably beats beneath Acker's black robes. Before being appointed to the federal bench, Acker was active in Republican Party politics and practiced at the old-line Dominick Fletcher Yeilding firm, which dates to 1943.
For all of their differences, Acker and Kallon share one common trait--they are profoundly and flagrantly corrupt. And in my experience, their unlawful rulings always favor the big and the powerful over the small and the powerless. In other words, they love corporations and institutions and despise individuals who have been wronged.
Aren't those charming traits for federal judges who are charged with upholding our constitutional rights?
I've witnessed their crookedness first hand, time and again, and I will spell it out here at Legal Schnauzer in clear terms. And that's the scary thing about Acker and Kallon. They get the simplest, most basic rulings wrong--and they do it over and over again, always screwing the little guy. These aren't just "mistakes." These are unlawful rulings that are made intentionally, in order to ensure that regular folks will have their constitutional rights trampled.
Upon reading this, I'm sure some will claim that I'm engaging in sour grapes, that I'm a "disgruntled litigant" who is unhappy because Acker and Kallon ruled against me. That's the typical line that many lawyers use to obscure the ugliness they know exists in our taxpayer-funded courts.
For the record, I will expose Acker and Kallon by dealing in real facts, real law, and real rulings. I will show how rulings from Acker and Kallon conflict with black-letter law. When I am finished, the objective reader will see that these two men are not fit to preside over a corner lemonade stand, much less a federal courtroom.
It's pretty much impossible to touch a federal judge; they have lifetime appointments, they can almost never be sued, and they receive little scrutiny from the mainstream press. That's because it takes some legwork to understand what scoundrels like Acker and Kallon are doing, and most reporters are too lazy or disinterested to do it.
I am not lazy, and I am extremely interested, so I will show you exactly how judges like Acker and Kallon waste your taxpayer dollars--and violate their oaths of office. I also will show that judicial corruption is not limited to our district courts, at the trial level. I've seen ample evidence that the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is more interested in protecting its judicial brethren than in dispensing justice.
Here is a key point to keep in mind: Federal judges are almost untouchable, but they are not above the law. If Acker and Kallon are taking directions from third parties, cheating litigants at the insistence of someone external to the case, that almost certainly constitutes criminal activity. Obstruction of justice and conspiracy are just two possible criminal charges that come to mind.
Will a federal prosecutor ever pay attention? Probably not. Will I pull the masks off Acker and Kallon? You can count on it.
(To be continued)