Summer "Fixes" Wrap: SCOTUS May Be Out of Town, But We're Not
Though the summer did not yield a flurry of filings as expected, there was some news related to our “fixes”:
On June 12, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of Canada announced her retirement from the CSC, effective December 15 – or nine months before she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75. (Justice Kennedy turned 81 on July 23, and Justice Breyer turned 79 on August 15.)
On July 19, Sens. Ron Johnson and Claire McCaskill introduced a bill to permanently extend the authority of the Judicial Conference to redact sensitive information from judicial officers’ financial disclosures. Under current law, that authority expires on December 31. The CBO on August 16 wrote, “Implementing [the bill] would have no significant effect on the federal budget.” The House version is scheduled for markup this Thursday.
On August 14, the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability of the Judicial Conference of the U.S. reprimanded Judge John Adams of the Northern District of Ohio and ordered him to “submit to a mental health evaluation for a series of actions the panel found problematic.” Only in the last few years have such orders from JCUS committees been released to the public, and of course, Supreme Court justices aren’t subject to the same disciplinary rubric.
On August 17, it was announced that Justice Gorsuch would give a talk at Trump Hotel in D.C. on September 28. FTC’s response: “As much as this offense is a mark against the integrity of Justice Gorsuch – remember, he told the country during his confirmation hearings he’d follow the letter and spirit of all judicial ethics protocols – it’s also an embarrassment for Chief Justice Roberts, who has the authority – and the responsibility – to discourage his colleagues from participating in the types of events that tarnish his institution’s reputation.”
On August 24, Sen. Jeff Flake held a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing in Phoenix on whether to split up the Ninth Circuit, on which FTC has no position.
On August 31, Justice Sotomayor sat in the “Judge’s Chambers“ (named in honor of star rookie Aaron Judge) at Yankee Stadium.
On September 1, Judge Richard Posner, 78, announced his retirement from the Seventh Circuit, effective September 2. No time here for hot takes, yet one should recall that in July, Posner called for a mandatory retirement age of 80 for federal judges.
Finally, on September 12, the Judicial Conference of the U.S. will have its semi-annual meeting in Washington.