Saturday, July 15, 2006

They Canned My Favorite Judge

Judge Royce C. Lamberth is gone. I can’t believe it. My absolutely favorite guy on the federal bench and they sent him to the showers.

Roycelamberth_1
Judge Royce C. Lamberth is gone. I can’t believe it. My absolutely favorite guy on the federal bench and they sent him to the showers.
I mean, what is there possibly not to like about this man? Lamberth has at one time or another called the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • “A dinosaur . . . the morally and culturally oblivious hand-me-down of a disgracefully racist and imperialist government that should have been buried a century ago, the last pathetic outpost of the indifference and anglocentrism we thought we had left behind.”
  • “100 plus years of bad facts, it’s pattern of unethical behavior and its persistent strategy of diversion, delay and obstruction.”
  • Guilty of "falsification, spite and obstinate litigiousness" with "no legal or factual basis."
What’s wrong with that? Hey, if a judge can't finger the feds for what they are, what good is he?
In a  July 2005 opinion, Lamberth wrote that
"the entire record in this case tells the dreary story of Interior's degenerate tenure as Trustee-Delegate for the Indian trust -- a story shot through with bureaucratic blunders, flubs, goofs and foul-ups, and peppered with scandals, deception, dirty tricks and outright villainy -- the end of which is nowhere in sight."
In lifting him from his position on the bench in this particular litigation, the appeals court justices were, at best, halfhearted in their criticism.
"Although the July 12 opinion contains harsh -- even incendiary -- language, much of that language represents nothing more than the views of an experienced judge who, having presided over this exceptionally contentious case for almost a decade, has become 'exceedingly ill disposed towards a defendant' that has flagrantly and repeatedly breached its fiduciary obligations."

Words like "ignominious," "incompetent," "malfeasance," and "recalcitrance," the three-judge panel wrote, "are fair and well supported by the record." Still, the judges decided, after nearly 10 years on the case US District Judge Royce Lamberth had "exceeded the role of impartial arbiter" in hearing Cobell v. Kempthorne.
Well, I guess ten years of self-serving idiocy would try most judges’ patience. When ‘malfeasance’ is well supported by the record, it’s time to put fire to the feet of the Department of Interior, not fire the judge. From the Washington Post;
Since Blackfoot tribal leader Eloise Cobell filed the lawsuit in 1996, several independent investigations found that the Interior Department had never kept complete records, used unknown amounts of the funds to help balance the federal budget, and let the oil and gas industry use Indian lands at bargain rates.
BushkempthorneBut now it appears that they have won, these cretins from the Department of the Interior. They’ve lied and misrepresented and stalled and obfuscated against the most American Americans we have on our soil. Interior, in its malfeasant oversight of Indian Affairs, perpetrates an ongoing crime. Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, as well as Indian Affairs Committee Chairman John McCain are co-conspirators in this shameful conduct.
Further in the Washington Post article by Eric Weiss;
Lamberth is a sharp-tongued Texan appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan. He has defenders from all points of the political spectrum and has repeatedly been ranked by lawyers as among the most skilled judges on the court.
"He is a hero and should be treated as a hero," said Stanley Sporkin, a former colleague of Lamberth's on the bench who was removed from the Microsoft case for reading a book that was not part of the official record.
"He is a very bright and able and competent judge who was doing justice," Sporkin said. "And it's hard to fault a judge for that."
Mediator John Bickerman, brought in to try to relieve the impasse, came down pretty much for the Indians. While he didn’t support the Indian proposal for a $27.5 billion settlement, he did say that any settlement should be in the billions. And he pointedly stated that the government's claims that any settlement should be "far less than $500 million" is based "on arbitrary and false assumptions."
Johnmccain_1Snake oil and beads. Yet another case of the United States slipping smallpox in the blankets. The feds won’t own up to their historic and documented obligation under treaty. They’re going to stonewall it until it goes away. Short of that, Kempthorne will see that the pressure goes away; with Royce Lamberth off the bench and John McCain off to the 2008 campaign trail.
Campaign trail or Trail of Tears, take your pick, they’re both just another dead end for native Americans.
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