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.