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What to Do When Judges Air Political Grievances in Opinions

What does alleged media bias against the Republican Party have to do with a human rights organization being sued for defamation by two Liberian officials? Well, the answer is nothing—but Judge Laurence Silberman chose to shoehorn some partisan ramblings into his dissent in the case anyway.

So where do we go when our judges start writing opinions that more resemble the tirades usually confined to the more loosely moderated Internet forums than the pages of the Federal Reporter? FTC’s Gabe Roth, outlines a few options in a new piece for Bloomberg Law Insight, available here.

In short, the piece details three possible remedies. The best of the three would be to have the D.C. Circuit’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct address the problem via its informal complaint process. (The other less desirable options would be either a formal complaint or to have the other judges in the circuit call for the case to go en banc in order to reprimand Silberman for breaching his ethical duties.)

The piece concludes by suggesting other prophylactic measures that can be taken to prevent a future opinion from embarrassing the judiciary as Silberman has with his screed. We can keep the complaint actives even in the even of the judge’s retirement, counsel circuit chiefs can get more involved when judges forget their responsibilities and circuits could all adopt advisory committees like the D.C. Circuit has.

Read the full piece here.

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