(Published March 13)  Precedent suggests that a federal district court judge from Wisconsin merits severe discipline for his recent, highly politicized paper in the Harvard Law & Policy Review.

In the law review article, Judge Lynn Adelman of the Eastern District of Wisconsin repeatedly and brazenly castigated Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court as a whole, President Trump, and Republicans in general. For example, he wrote that “the Court’s hard-right majority is actively participating in undermining American democracy. Indeed, the Roberts Court has contributed to ensuring that the political system in the United States pays little attention to ordinary Americans and responds only to the wishes of a relatively small number of powerful corporations and individuals.”

The court, he wrote repeatedly, is guilty of “assaulting the voting rights of the poor and minorities” and of having a “Darwinian survival of the fittest mentality.”

In addition to these lazy tropes, Adelman also compared Senate Republicans to “the ‘fireeaters,’ those fervent defenders of slavery who pushed the South into the Civil War” and wrote that “Trump’s temperament is that of an autocrat.” He also argued at great length that courts should mold their decisions with an eye toward results so as not to “contribute to economic inequality and make it harder for poor and working people to improve their economic circumstances.

This thoroughly political essay probably violates at least three provisions — Canon 2, Canon 5, and Canon 3(a)(6) — in the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. Canon 5, for example, provides broad prohibitions against “political activity.” As Heritage Foundation fellows GianCarlo Canaparo and Zack Smith explained in a March 12 response to Adelman, “The judiciary’s ability to dispense justice depends entirely on public confidence in its impartiality, and politicking judges cannot appear impartial.”…

[The full rest of this column, including relevant precedent, is available at this link.]


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