McCain discusses judges

July 2, 2008
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The presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain spoke in Indianapolis Tuesday at the National Sheriff’s Association’s annual conference. Obviously, his speech was geared toward law enforcement and why he is the right candidate for them to elect, but he said some things the legal community would find interesting. He said nowhere is the influence of the president more critical than in the power of judicial nominations.

He brought up the point that the next president of the country will be nominating hundreds of people to the federal courts, and those choices will have far-reaching consequences on Americans, police departments, courts, and juries.

“Yet one badly reasoned opinion, by one overreaching judge, can undo it all. Just like that, evidence of guilt can be suppressed, or a dangerous predator released because of judge-made laws having little or nothing to do with the requirements of the Constitution. Even worse, when such opinions issue from the highest court, they set a precedent for many more injustices, and they add one more obstacle to the work of law enforcement.”

McCain used the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Patrick Kennedy v. Louisiana, in which the high court overturned the death penalty sentence for Kennedy, convicted of raping his stepdaughter. He implied if his Democratic opponent from Illinois, Sen. Barack Obama, is elected president, he would nominate more judges like the ones who overturned Kennedy’s sentence (See the June 26 First Impressions blog post  about that decision).

Even if you don’t agree with McCain’s views about the courts, he raises a good point. The next president of the United States will have to make many judicial nominations, possibly even one or more to the U.S. Supreme Court. It will be interesting to see if the candidates continue to mention the high-profile cases ruled upon by the SCOTUS this year as they campaign, or if judicial nominees will be left by the wayside for topics the general public has more interest in like the economy, gas prices, and health care.
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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