Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sen. Orrin Hatch speaks to Federalists & Canisius

Sen. Hatch addressed the Buffalo Chapter of the Federalist Society yesterday afternoon -- and gave the Frank J. Raichle presentation at Canisius (at the wonderfully restored Montante Center). Both events were far better than ABL expected. Hatch is an engaging speaker. It is no wonder he has been in the Senate for 34 years.

The Raichle speech discussed the proper role for federal judges, which is to interpret the Constitution and laws as written, not to interpret them in light of changing social mores or the judge's personal preferences or ideology. He references the umpire analogy used by Chief Justice John Roberts (ABL is ready to clerk for you, have your people call my people) in his confirmation hearing. Judges should be like an umpire at a baseball game, calling balls and strikes as they see them, not as they would like them to have been thrown, and not predicting the outcome of the game based on the pre-game review of the teams' rosters. Sen. Hatch decried judicial activism. Although he admitted that conservative judges can also be activists, it is much more common in liberal judges because it is part of their philosophy to believe that the law is a living breathing thing rather than a written set of rules designed to govern behavior and to constrain government and judges. Sen. Hatch referred to the Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade decisions as examples of what happens when judges decide cases without Constitutional moorings.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"virtual parade of linguistic horrors"

"Less substantive but also adding to the confusion, the Court observes that in a world where spell-checking and grammar-checking devices are ubiquitously employed, the proposed amended complaint stands resolutely alone, offering a virtual parade of linguistic horrors. After cavalierly invoking the “jurisdication” (sic) of the Court, plaintiff refers to the defendants using dozens of different abbreviations and acronyms, in some cases so far removed from defendants' names as to render them unidentifiable. She converts bulleted lists into separate paragraphs comprised of inscrutable, open-ended sentence fragments, flouts the rules of grammar and sentence construction to the point that many allegations are entirely nonsensical, and vacillates constantly between referring to herself in the first person and third person narrative modes."

This was after the Court noted that the proposed amended complaint was worse than the originally file pro se version. ABL is only a spectator in this one.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Deliberate Speed

Seven years ago, ABL submitted a proposal to the Committee responsible for considering changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This proposal remains pending (2 of 5 from 2003 that have not been closed). The is a hyper-link to a list of other such proposals. ABL's proposal is still pending. I recall hearing from the Committee that the process takes a "long, long" time. They were not kidding.