When it comes to judges and Iraq, this was indeed "the week that is."
First, let's delve into the so-called Newt Gingrich judge controversy. And, since you know me, you can probably surmise that I am not siding with the hypocritical Republican establishment in condemning Newt for his threats to haul judges before Congress to explain their lawless decisions. I also like Newt's spunk in threatening them with arrest if they fail to appear.
But while I appreciate Newt raising the "judge problem," he misses the major point that has led to a largely corrupt judiciary. The major problem stems from the way we select federal judges. Since they are selected and confirmed through political patronage – that is, based on what political or financial favors they and their law firms have bestowed on the senators who choose them on behalf of the president who nominates them – what we get are "politicians in robes." They are not chosen on the basis of merit, by and large, and that is why we have ill-trained political hacks on the bench – tantamount to drunken drivers at the wheel of what could otherwise be a Cadillac of a legal system. Instead, our legal system is greatly administered to by persons who are unfit to judge anything.
Advertisement - story continues below
During my 2004 campaign for U.S. Senate in Florida, I suggested a new method to select federal judges to mitigate the problem. First, to qualify as a potential nominee for a federal judgeship, I would require that he or she first obtain a one-year degree, from an accredited law school, on how to be a judge – that is both in terms of interpreting the law and administering to it. As it stands now, our federal judges are like the film character "Dr. Strangelove," played by the late Peter Sellers. If the nominee and eventual judge was in his previous life a defense lawyer, or a prosecutor, that is how he thinks and acts. Like Dr. Strangelove, a Nazi scientist who defected to the United States after World War II, and who was not "reprogrammed" to avoid making a Nazi salute to persons of "higher authority," so too our judges find it hard to escape their professional past and wear it on their judicial sleeves. That is why they need training on how to analyze legal issues and create at least the appearance of justice, which is just as important as actual justice itself. Many of our federal judges, since they are appointed for life and are not accountable to the public, act and behave as if they are "above the law," with an arrogance that destroys confidence in the legal system.
Second, we need to amend the Constitution to eliminate their appointment for life. Instead, I proposed allowing them two four-year terms, renewable for "good behavior," after the first term. This addresses the issue Newt raised. If a federal judge intentionally or negligently, and consistently, misapplies the law, he should be removed from office. Since impeachment is too political and cumbersome, my proposal streamlines the process.
Third, federal judges should be held personally accountable for intentionally wrong or grossly negligent rulings that harm a litigant, that is an American citizen or other interest. In this regard, aggrieved persons should be able to submit their grievance to an arbitration panel, comprised of non-judges and non-lawyers who would be less likely to have conflicts of interest, and get redress if they are wronged. Since the legal system is stacked against the ordinary person, that is the "little guy," and appellate courts mostly rubber stamp what their colleagues below have ruled, this mechanism should be seriously considered as a check to a lawless judiciary. To be able to pay damages, federal judges should be required to obtain professional liability insurance as a prerequisite to sitting on the bench.
Advertisement - story continues below
Fourth, federal judges should be psychologically tested, both before they are confirmed as judges and periodically during their terms in office. As I am sure you have experienced, many judges – like the rest of society – are emotionally imbalanced and unfit to be a judge. If they have a "problem," they should be subject to not being confirmed, or if already in office, quickly removed.
These are just a few suggestions on how we can get real professionals on the federal bench. I leave it to "We the People" to continue this discussion, because our federal judiciary today (as well as the state judiciary) largely amounts to a bunch of legal terrorists, who feather political or special interests at the expense of us all.
And, talking about terrorism, this week also reinforced the obvious when it comes to Iraq. No sooner than American troops left the country, the Muslim Shiite president of Iraq had arrested the Sunni vice president, in a power play obviously furthered by Iran – which is Shiite. To make matters worse, civil war has now descended on Baghdad, with Sunnis retaliating against Shiites in a wave of bombings. It is now clear that the radical Islamic mullahs in Iran are fomenting this, with the aim of taking over Iraq and creating a greater Iran. All of this was predictable from the start, and that is why former President George W. Bush, and his enablers in the Republican establishment, were wrong from the get go to try to force so-called democracy on this Arab state. Now, nine years later, the brave Americans who died and were wounded to promote a free Iraq have been sacrificed for naught, only the political machinations of the establishment. If I have yet another criticism of President Barack Hussein Obama, it is that he did not remove our troops soon enough. Iraq inevitably was destined for this result – "Vietnam style" – and our military should have been assigned to remove the neo-Nazi regime in Iran – which is the major threat to our wellbeing, rather than wasting our time and resources in Iraq.
Yes, "terrorism" takes many forms. And, this week underscored just how messed up not only our legal system is, but also our strategic objectives in the Middle East. Like you, I am outraged that our politicians do nothing to correct this but instead continue to only play games with our future and our childrens' future.