There is something very fundamentally flawed in the way that federal judges are vetted in the appointment and confirmation process. Federal district court judges, circuit court of appeals and supreme court judges are political appointments and are nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate. Because these are basically lifetime appointments, we should be much more inquisitive in the selection process. Quite frankly, the questions that the senators ask at the senate confirmation hearings of the judicial nominee are getting to be old hat and not helpful to the majority of the population in terms of the limited subject matter of the questions.
The public has been quite accustomed to listening to the same types of questions as to the same issues time after time whenever there is a senate confirmation hearing, irrespective of which political party is in power. The issues that are thrust into the confirmation hearings are always the hot button issues involving abortion rights, gun control and so forth, and a small handful of others that have made it to the front pages of the day. It’s the same old drill every time as the senators from each party frame their questions in the manner that suits their political interests the best, and we get the standard responses back from the judicial nominees. And without exception there are always the several supreme court precedents that come into the questioning such as Roe v. Wade and so forth as the judicial nominees sit there looking like trained lap dogs barking out the “politically correct” canned answers —and then wait for their treat. The senators act as though there are no other issues meaningful to the public other than the regular hot button issues of the day that are in the news. Never mind that people have a Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial for their grievances and that federal judges are routinely dismissing peoples’ cases at alarming rates, and not giving people their “day in court” —that we hear so much about— but hardly ever see. https://repository.uchastings.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2395&context=faculty_scholarship. In the vast majority of cases, the state and federal judges side with corporations and government agencies and grant dismissals so that the peoples’ cases never even make it to a trial. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/07/big-business-keeps-winning-at-the-supreme-court/564260/, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/06/26/why-big-business-keeps-winning-at-the-supreme-court/, https://www.findlaw.com/legalblogs/in-house/do-federal-courts-favor-big-business-corporations/. Because these types of cases generally don’t make it onto the front pages, the senators don’t ask questions about these types of issues even though these are very important issues to the everyday person who may be looking for justice in the federal judiciary, but not getting it.
When I asked the Administration Office of the U.S. Courts to tell me how many cases were dismissed without a trial, the Administration Office responded that they didn’t keep track of that information. That is essentially unbelievable in this day and age of technology as all federal court systems operate under an electronic data-based system. It has been written that the federal judiciary is a rogue “secret society” that dismisses 99.82 percent of the complaints filed before it. https://www.truthcontrol.com/forum/dr-corderoitnj-us-federal-judiciary-rogue-secret-society-9982-complaints-dismissed-video. This is a cause for alarm and the senators are missing the mark and doing a disservice to the public by not confronting the judicial nominees with these issues.
Jonathan Zell, a highly respected attorney from Columbus, Ohio, also believes that the whole U.S. legal system is a fraud. This is because (according to Zell): Based on personal biases, trial judges first decide how they want a case to end up and then (when necessary) concoct dishonest reasons to justify those decisions, a corrupt process that appellate courts usually cover up with their own dishonest reasoning. Lost in the process are the true facts of the case and the controlling law.
And by the way, Zell is a current member of the Committee on Ethics and Professionalism of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association (ABA), where he continually offers commonsense proposals to rein in corrupt judges, but the pro-judge ABA keeps rejecting those proposals. Zell is one of the very few attorneys in the country who has the integrity and courage to constructively criticize the infected judiciary and actually recommend proposals to the American Bar Association (ABA) to rein in corrupt judges, and we should be very thankful to Attorney Zell for his efforts.
Despite these very troubling numbers, we never hear any of the senators question the judicial nominee as to his or her track record regarding the dismissal rate of cases in his or her court. It would seem that this would be a very important question that the public would be interested in knowing about as to the particular nominee. Presumably the public would prefer judges who are actually giving the people their “day in court” rather than depriving them of it since the people actually have a fundamental right to a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment. But senators never ask questions about this. Far too often the public is forced to listen to legal jargon such as the words “stare decisis” that was overused in the most recent confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett. https://lawreview.syr.edu/the-nomination-of-amy-coney-barrett-and-the-future-of-stare-decisis/. Most people didn’t have any idea what this (“stare decisis”) meant, so rather than asking questions in laymen’s terms where people can understand what is going on, the lawyer dominated proceedings are designed to impress the public with their fanciful legal jargon while pushing through their political favorites. People would much rather listen to testimony from a prospective judge explaining his or her alarming track record of dismissing cases of the everyday person who is seeking justice rather than listening to the fanciful legal jargon which is obviously calculated to make them (the senators) look smarter than the average citizen while they are sitting in their highchairs.
Another question senators don’t like to ask are questions about whether there have been any judicial-misconduct complaints that have been submitted against the particular nominee. After all, if the prospective judge is to end up on the bench for lifetime, it would seem that the people have a right to know if there have been problems with the particular nominee’s behavior that would render the nominee to be unfit. If the nominee isn’t willing to discuss allegations of misconducts against him or her, then that is a red flag, and the nominee should be eradicated from the process right then and there. The stakes are too high for the public to have to risk potentially ending up with dishonest and corrupt and immoral judges, and even perverts, on the federal judiciary.
A very telling example of Congress’s lack of due diligence when vetting judicial nominees is the mishandled vetting process of Richard W. Roberts who was appointed in 1998 and became the chief U.S. District Judge in Washington, D.C. NBC News reported that a lawsuit was filed by a woman, Terry Mitchel, who was a witness in a case that Roberts was prosecuting when he was a civil rights lawyer for the U.S. Justice Department. The lawsuit claimed that Roberts raped her repeatedly in 1981. Mitchell was 16 years old at the time according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged that “Defendant Roberts intimidated, coerced, and manipulated Mitchell to have sexual intercourse nearly every day for several weeks”. Reportedly, Roberts submitted a letter of resignation as news of the suit emerged, citing “health reasons". https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/lawsuit-accuses-chief-federal-judge-d-c-raping-minor-n540556. According to Prison Legal News, had Roberts remained on the federal bench in D.C. he may have faced a congressional inquiry as a result of Michell’s lawsuit. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2017/jun/9/chief-federal-judge-dc-resigns-after-lawsuit-accuses-him-rape/. The question is, why didn’t Congress inquire about this behavior during the vetting process? How in the world could this guy be confirmed after engaging in such sexual misconduct with a young lady of 16 years of age? This ineptness falls on the shoulders of the senators for not doing their due diligence.
A very enlightening article recently came out by Gallup reporting that the peoples’ approval of the United States Supreme Court is down to 40%, a new low. https://news.gallup.com/poll/354908/approval-supreme-court-down-new-low.aspx. This is very troubling and people in our country should be concerned. The article pointed out that Americans’ opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court have worsened, with 40%, down from 49% in July. According to the article, Americans’ opinions of the Supreme Court are now the worst Gallup has measured in its polling of the Supreme Court over the past two-plus decades. The September survey also shows a steep decline over the past year in the percentage of Americans who express “a great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the overall judicial branch of the federal government, from 67% in 2020 to 54% today. This is a loudly rung bell and the senators should be paying attention and start doing their due diligence when vetting the federal judiciary nominees. The senators need to spend less time on questions about the nominees’ ideological beliefs about the hot button issues of the day and ask more questions about the nominees' records of high dismissal rates of cases and why so many cases are being dismissed and why so many people are being deprived of their day in court. Senators should also ask questions about whether there is a history of any kind regarding sexual abuses on the part of the nominee —which senators clearly missed the mark when they vetted Richard W. Roberts.
Since the senators don’t want to ask the right questions, and prefer to proceed with the unacceptable status quo, then perhaps it might be time for the citizenry to start asking questions. And perhaps it is time to consider doing something that has never been done before that may well be a refreshing solution to the problem. Perhaps it is time to start appointing nonlawyers to the federal judiciary. Most people don’t realize that there is no express requirement that a federal judge possess a law degree. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires people to have a law degree to serve as a federal judge. And we should not forget that the federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land, which means that the Constitution wouldn’t forbid a person with no law degree to serve as a federal judge. https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articlevi. Lord knows that we already have too many lawyers in places of power and influence making the decisions —many decisions of which are not helpful to the plain and ordinary people of our country. Perhaps it would be a good thing to take away some of that power from lawyers and start putting in federal judges who are nonlawyers, just as the Constitution permits. The peoples’ interests to fairness and justice would be much better served if regular people were part of the judicial process. And then perhaps the publics’ confidence in the federal judiciary may improve. We should give it a try. Since the senators are incapable, or unwilling, to provide us with a judiciary that actually cares about the regular people of our country rather than their political self-interests, then perhaps it is time for the “power of the people” to step in and remedy the situation. The senators need to step aside in order for the black robes to be retailored to custom fit the regular people of our country. The Constitution would allow it!