In the wake of Brett Kavanaugh's partisan rant before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a number of legal observers have expressed concerns about his ability to hear cases in an impartial manner.Based on our experience with federal courts, which goes back about 10 years, they should not worry. U.S. federal courts are infested with judges who make no attempt to rule with impartiality -- with quite a few making no attempt to even appear impartial. That means Kavanaugh should be an appropriate fit on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS).
Kavanaugh will sit near the top of a system that was crooked long before he became a household name, and his presence isn't likely to make it any more crooked than it already was.
Perhaps the most corrupt federal judge we've encountered is Virginia Emerson Hopkins, from the Northern District of Alabama -- and to top it off, she has the judicial temperament of a wolverine. She makes Brett Kavanaugh look like Fred Rogers.
In fact, while the Kavanaugh fracas was playing out, we received an order from Hopkins in our "Jail Case" that is a model for crookedness on the postmodern federal bench. Given that Hopkins has consistently ruled contrary to black-letter law -- always against us -- it's the latest sign that Hopkins would not know impartiality if it bit her in the ass. (Hopkins already has issued wildly unlawful rulings in the case on the statute of limitations and state immunity issues.)
Again, why worry about Brett Kavanaugh on SCOTUS if district judges -- the ones closest to the public, the ones who actually conduct trials, the ones most likely to cheat and act like scoundrels -- get away with churning out smelly orders that have nothing to do with the facts and law of a particular case.
Hopkins' order, dated Sept. 28, 2018, involves our status as in forma pauperis (IFP) litigants, which means we are entitled to proceed by paying a partial filing fee or no fee at all. Multiple courts already have found that we meet the standards for IFP status -- including the court in this very case, the "Jail Case."
But that's not enough to satisfy Hopkins. She claims our financial data with the court was filed roughly two years ago, and thus, is out of date. She fails to mention that the financial data is old because her colleague, R. David Proctor (the original judge in the case), ruled that we had IFP status, but we were not entitled to have the court issue summonses and conduct service on defendants -- despite clear federal statutes that hold to the contrary. That forced us to appeal to the Eleventh Circuit, which found Proctor was so wrong that even they had to reverse -- after letting the case sit for about a year.
Any staleness that has accumulated on the case is due to R. David Proctor, who is so corrupt that -- get this -- he recused from our "House Case" after admitting he had a conflict, but that only occurred to him after he had cheated us over and over, prompting us to file recusal motions, even though it is his duty to step down when he knows he has a conflict.
How can Brett Kavanaugh make this dumpster fire any worse?
Consider this from Hopkins' order (embedded at the end of this post), where she responds to our Notice of Appeal and Motion for Leave to Proceed on Appeal In Forma Pauperis (also embedded at the end of this post):
In their motion, the Plaintiffs note that "upon filing of an affidavit [the Plaintiffs] received approval from the district court to proceed IFP in the instant matter." [citations omitted]. The affidavit to which the Plaintiffs refer was filed in their initial Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, which was filed on March 26, 2016, at the time this case was initially filed. . . . The Order to which they refer only granted them partial IFP status. . . . The Court also notes that another IFP motion to prosecute an appeal was filed on September 6, 2016. . . . Although that motion was denied by the previous judge assigned to this case . . . , the Eleventh Circuit ultimately granted the Plaintiffs leave to appeal IFP.
We learn three key points from this:
(1) Hopkins admits we already have been approved for IFP status in this very case, the "Jail Case."
(2) The Eleventh Circuit reversed Proctor on his "partial IFP" finding and his denial of our previous motion to proceed on appeal IFP;
(3) In short, Proctor's cheat job was so blatant that even the Eleventh Circuit couldn't stomach it -- and that is remarkable.
As for Hopkins, she and her buddy have been spanked on their respective asses for failing to follow the law -- and her answer to that is to continue violating the law. Consider this from her order:
The most recent of these two motions, and the affidavit associated therewith, contains information that is more than two years old, and therefore out of date. Accordingly, the Plaintiffs are DIRECTED to file a current affidavit, in the form attached to this Order, within 14 days. The failure to provide the affidavit will result in the motion being denied.
Is any of this in line with the law? Not one word of it. Did Hopkins bother to check the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP) before going off on a mild version of a Kavanaugh-like rant? Obviously, she did not.
If she had, she likely would have encountered Rule 24 on page 79 of FRAP as found at the Eleventh Circuit's Web site. Under Item No. 3 ("Prior Approval"), the rule states in imminently clear language:
A party who was permitted to proceed in forma pauperis in the district-court action, or who was determined to be financially unable to obtain an adequate defense in a criminal case, may proceed on appeal in forma pauperis without further authorization, unless:
(A) the district court—before or after the notice of appeal is filed—certifies that the appeal is not taken in good faith or finds that the party is not otherwise entitled to proceed in forma pauperis and states in writing its reasons for the certification or finding; or
(B) a statute provides otherwise.
The law could not be more clear: A party who already has been permitted to proceed IFP in the district court -- and Hopkins admits we have been -- does not need further authorization to proceed IFP on appeal. The rule notes two possible exceptions, but Hopkins cites neither one in her order. The rule says nothing about a party being forced to file a new affidavit because trial-court incompetence has caused the data to be "out of date."
|Virginia Emerson Hopkins|
But the key point is this: We've caught Hopkins making up law, something she's done throughout our case -- and her bogus rulings always go against us. So Brett Kavanaugh's ascendance to SCOTUS is not going to introduce partial, unfair judges to the system; it's already choking on them.
Does that mean we should just shrug our shoulders and accept crooked judges? Heck, no. We probably will file a new affidavit just to see if that satiates Hopkins, but we also will file a Motion to Strike her order as unlawful.
Our court system is like a house that's being eaten by termites. You might not be able to see the damage yet, but it soon will collapse to its foundation. That requires the legal equivalent of the Orkin Man, to spray and kill the pests in the midst of their dirty work. We're talking about a real FBI investigation -- the kind that was not done in the Kavanaugh confirmation.
In the Northern District of Alabama alone, I can point to at least a half dozen judges (not counting the dead William M. Acker Jr.) who have repeatedly violated federal laws and should be in prison. I have little doubt that other districts around the country are also filled with scofflaws.
As it is, our tax dollars are being used to support a court system that is controlled by what amounts to organized crime. How long are we -- regardless of political ideology -- going to stand for that?