Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cash Bar

The Supreme Court ponders when your right to a fair trial collides with their right to be divine.

by Dahlia Lithwick - March 3rd, 2009 - Slate

The Supreme Court is in a tough spot in Caperton v. A.T. Massey. The legal claim here is that Americans have a due-process right to a judicial system untainted by the appearance or likelihood of bias. And appearances alone are sometimes enough. Indeed, the facts here are so completely grotesque, they cause the usually mild-mannered John Paul Stevens to proclaim: "We have never confronted a case as extreme as this before. This fits the standard that Potter Stewart articulated when he said, 'I know it when I see it.' "

But the extravagant weaselliness of Chief Justice Benjamin sits uneasily beside an almost complete absence of law that might curb it. The advocates struggle to scrape together a handful of precedents, along with bits of the Constitution's due-process clause, in what rapidly starts to look like a constitutional comb-over.

We elect Judges here in North Carolina and the result has not always been judicial excellence. In fact I don't think that you could argue with the premise that trail lawyers select the Judges who will fatten their pockets while defeating Judges who try to eliminate corruption. I am curious how this case will come out. But the corruption of our court system does not give me great confidence.


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