Thursday, July 19, 2007

An Evil and Incompetent Judge

It's rare to find a federal judge who is so openly and honestly incompetent. Most lousy judges at least make an effort to conceal their laziness and indifference toward Constitutional rights. But not Dennis Jacobs, the chief judge of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (which makes him one of the 20 most powerful judges in the country). Jacobs, dissenting in the case of Husain v. Springer, admitted that he refused to read the majority opinion, and called it "a case about nothing."

Actually, unlike most judicial decisions, this is about a very important thing: the rights of students, and in particular the rights of student newspapers. The president of the College of Staten Island rescinded a student election because a campus newspaper, the College Voice, embraced one side in the election. The tradition of newspapers endorsing candidates is one of longest traditions intended to be protected by the First Amendment.

Instead of being a judge, Jacobs seems to think his job is literary critic, dismissing the newspaper as "illiterate piffle." Instead of being a judge (where one of the fundamental duties is to read the opinions of colleagues, even when one disagrees), Jacobs thinks his superiority is proven by his refusal to engage their arguments. Instead, it only shows his arrogance, his ignorance, and his incompetence. He should resign in disgrace.

Sadly, few see any evil in a judge who ignores the First Amendment and refuses to do his job; the Wall Street Journal even celebrates the judge's incompetence.

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