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7th Circuit denies petition to remove judge

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a man’s petition for writ of mandamus to remove a federal judge from a case he is involved with that’s still pending in District Court. The man failed to intervene in the case and his interest in the case is too uncertain to give him the rights of a party automatically, the judges ruled Friday.

Rich Bergeron repeatedly asked U.S. Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the Southern District of Indiana to recuse herself in Eppley v. Iacovelli. Plastic surgeon Dr. Barry Eppley sued former patient Lucille Iacovelli in 2009 for defamation and other claims stemming from her dissatisfaction with a face-lift he performed. Judge Barker issued a preliminary injunction ordering Iacovelli and anyone acting as her agent to remove all Internet postings that referred to the surgeon. Bergeron maintained some of those websites, so he was subject to the preliminary injunction. He didn’t remove the postings and was held in contempt and ordered to pay Eppley more than $1,700 as a sanction. Iacovelli died in August 2010, but the defamation suit remains pending, now naming her sister as the defendant.

In addition to finding that Bergeron never intervened in that defamation case and his interest in it is too uncertain to give him the rights of a party automatically, the Circuit judges addressed his desire to remove the judge from the contempt proceeding. Mandamus is a proper vehicle for removing a judge from a case on the ground that the judge’s impartiality might be questioned, as Bergeron argues, wrote Judge Richard Posner in In Re: Rich Bergeron, No. 10-3279.
 
Bergeron asked for the mandamus before Judge Barker concluded the contempt proceeding, but he didn’t ask the 7th Circuit to stay the proceeding in the District Court. Now it’s too late for the appellate court to order the judge removed from the case because she’s finished with it, Judge Posner continued.

“We could order a do-over of the contempt proceeding were this an egregious case of apparent bias … but the appearance of impropriety in this case is too attenuated to justify that extraordinary remedy.”

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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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