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Press Update: More Harassment in Article III, Missing Disclosures, a New FOIA and Live Audio

Workplace conduct
Unfortunately, there’s been another awful instance of harassment. According to a complaint in W.D.N.C., an assistant federal defender there was harassed for months by her superiors and was essentially demoted when she tried to get out of the situation. Unsurprisingly, the judiciary did almost nothing to help her, so she sued her superiors, the Judicial Council and the AO on March 3.

After a weeks-long saga over the docket being mysteriously sealed and then unsealed, with nary a judge involved in either decision, the details are now on Court Listener and PACER; the case is 1:20-cv-00066, Roe v. U.S. Coda: this is likely why, on March 17 (graf 5), JCUS suddenly included federal defenders’ offices in its new code of conduct.

Yesterday was Carlos Murguia’s last day as a federal judge. We called for his impeachment last fall after news of his harassment came out; earlier this year, a letter from House Judiciary prompted the Judicial Conference to look deeper into the allegations, and they found his behavior was worse than previously known, which led to his resignation. We’re happy he’s no longer a judge.

Audio
The Federal Circuit on April 6 will become the sixth federal appeals court to grant public access to live argument audio (they’re doing a call-in number). Last month, the Second, Fourth and Eleventh Circuit also decided to livestream some hearings in light of coronavirus closures. We hope they all keep it up post-pandemic.

FOIAing the justices
Last week we released our “Justices at Public Universities” report; this week, we received records from an Oct. 2016 Justice Kagan appearance at the University of Louisville, where she got sick and rescheduled, won a Brandeis Award, likely attended a VIP event (p. 140) and received a free flight, a medal (right) and a bottle of bourbon (p. 6).

The records also offer insight into a Supreme Court Historical Society event (pp. 178ff) Kagan and Justice Ginsburg attended the previous week that took place in the SCOTUS courtroom and – gasp – was filmed. 

Financial disclosures
Though FTC and the Free Law Project requested all ~1,300 2018 disclosures from active and senior judges 10.5 months ago, to date we’ve received only about half. Even so, we’ve begun reviewing them to see what the impact of requiring Article III to follow the STOCK Act would have – this is in light of the Sens. Loeffler, Burr, et al., insider trading allegations. After all, if a judge whose clerk had ties to inside information did what the senators did, we’d learn about it years later, not 45 days later.

Some prominent judges – Barrett, Lynch, Flaum – don’t own any stock; others – C. Breyer, Carnes, Easterbrook – do. Either way, let us know (Info@FixTheCourt.com) if there are any disclosures you’d like to see.

Finally, our sources tell us that May 15 remains the deadline for judges’ 2019 disclosures.

Tell Your Members of Congress: Require the Supreme Court to Follow a Code of Conduct

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