A promising sign

What’s going on? It looks as if federal judges, for all their seeming indifference to what is being said about them, do care after all to not be treated with derision, disdain and scorn by the public.

At least this is how I interpret this NPR story about an unnamed Chicago FISA judge who, in the aftermath of Mr. Snowden’s disclosures, which among other things gave a huge black eye to federal judges, decided to no longer be the government’s rubber stamp, but to listen to the other side too, and to that end ordering the government to share information with defendant’s lawyers.

What could have caused the judge to do this “for the first time in the 36 year history of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act?” I think it was the light of public scrutiny – that good disinfectant of public corruption – that did the trick. The respect for judges dropped considerably after Mr. Snowden’s revelations, and apparently judges have enough respect for respectability to want to regain it.

Which is what gives me hope that the goals of this Coalition Against Judicial Fraud will ultimately be fulfilled. It is only when operating within their narrow, legal space, and dealing with other judges and lawyers that judges’ talk of making contribution to the greater good of society by being “corrupt and malicious” and deciding cases based not on parties’ actual argument, but on judges’ willful substitutions is taken seriously; once the wider public knows, it won’t be amused, but will treat such arbitrary behavior, and such crazy rationale for it, with derision and scorn.

And it is good to know that federal judges, though puffed up with self-importance as they are, are yet not invulnerable to loss of public’s faith.

Not all is lost. Judges’ bizarre right to be “corrupt and malicious,” and to swindle us out of our argument, and thus out of our constitutional rights, will yet be taken away from them.

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