Friday, September 19, 2008

Judicial Sausage Factory Continues, Almost Nobody Noticed

Judicial Sausage Factory Continues, Almost Nobody Noticed
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posted by Oneshirt
Fri, 09/19/2008 - 11:10am
After the former county leader goes to jail for corruption connected with judicial elections, a U.S. Federal Judge Gleeson calling them unconstitutional - fixed - and extensive condemnation by the city’s newspaper editorial pages, the charade called the Brooklyn Judicial Convention continued like nothing ever happened. In fact like a wounded animal or king the situation has grown grave and depraved.

Nothing has been learned by the experiences of the past 5 years a delegate whispered into my ear when boss Vito was not looking. Something very bad is happening to our way of life and culture. Our system of democracy, separation of powers, built in political party conflict has failed and nobody cares. The business as usually continuation of the convention is proof that our culture has changed so much that exposure and shame which used to be enough to cause reform has been replaced by a get over society, where morality or doing what is right does not matter. What is even more frightening, if it was up to the press there would be no record. Only the Manhattan gadfly a modern day Thomas Paine made sure there was a public record.

Today's Daily News Editorial

“For a glimpse into the odious nature of how the political bosses make judges in New York, we direct your attention to a letter in Friday's Voice of the People by veteran court watcher Alan Flacks. On Tuesday, Flacks dropped in on the Brooklyn Democratic Party's ceremony for elevating faithful lawyers to the bench. The party calls it a convention. It's not. It's a charade, currently directed by boss Vito Lopez.” – September 19, 2008.

U.S. Judge John Gleeson Rules Judicial Conventions Unconstitutional
"The highly unusual processes (judicial convention - the lone state in the nation to elect judges this way) by which that extremely important office (Supreme Court Judge) is filled perpetuate local political party leaders control and deprive the voters of any meaningful role," the judge wrote in the decision. "The result is an opaque, and undemocratic selection procedure that violates the rights of the voters and the rights of candidates who lack the backing of local party leaders."

The Flacks letter to the Daily News Which Resulted in Today’s Editorial:

Sausage Factory Floor

Manhattan: I attended the Kings County Democratic judicial nominating convention Tuesday. It was orchestrated "Soviet-style." Short, sweet, lady- and gentleman-like, the script called for the eight candidates to be designated or redesignated without opposition, even for supposed "open" seats. Before adjournment, each judge candidate got up and gave a short thank-you speech. Every one of them expressed gratitude to the party district leaders for their support, and they also expressed effusive thanks to and praise of County Leader Vito Lopez (photo). One "re-up," John Leventhal of the Appellate Division, Second Department (after inquiring if the press was present) thanked now-imprisoned county leader Clarence Norman as well, and another called Lopez "the greatest county leader ever." After adjournment, I spoke with a number of delegates who voted "automatically" and didn't seem to know for whom they were voting. They didn't know, and were just told for whom to vote.

Alan Flacks

Brooklyn District Attorney says the Supreme Court election system corrupts
Charles Hynes: Amicus Curiae Brief in Judge Lopez Torres vs. NYS Board of Elections:

“New York’s uniquely constructed and statutorily- mandated nominating process for the state Supreme Court, which in effect places ultimate control over who becomes a state Supreme Court justice in the hands of powerful county political party leaders, creates and sustains a breeding ground for corruption and malfeasance and undermines the public’s confidence in the judiciary."

Feldman and his Friends Play the System
“Similarly unseemly was the role played at the convention by Jeff Feldman, a one-time party honcho who was indicted with Norman but won dismissal of charges. No longer exiled from the convention, Feldman helped run Tuesday's show.” -– NY Daily News Editorial, September 19, 2008.

Judge Gleeson, U.S. District Court Cited Jeff Feldman’s action in the decision
“Beginning in March of 2003, then candidate for Supreme Court Lopez Torres wrote repeatedly to the Kings County Democratic Committee to learn three basic things; (1) the date, time and place of the convention; (2) the names of the delegates, so she could lobby them; and (3) whether she could address the delegates at the convention. She did not hear from its Executive Director, Jeffrey C. Feldman until September 4, 2003, after she once again requested the information. Feldman response is difficult to reconcile with the defendants' gauzy characterizations of a democratic process open to all party members who seek the office of Supreme Court Justice. He began by mocking the request for a list delegates to lobby: "AI erroneously believed that a learned jurist, such as yourself, would be well aware that Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the Democratic Judicial Convention stand for independent elections in the Primary Election, yet to be held. Thus no such list existed "anywhere in the world," Feldman helpfully added. As for Lopez Torres's inquiry about addressing the convention, Feldman wrote as follows: "I suffer from the innocent belief that the floor of the Convention is open, only, to elected Delegates and their successors.” - Judge Gleeson, U.S. District Court

Besides the press also missing, from this year Judicial Convention, were most of the reformers who in the past protested actions at the convention. Only Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats president Chris Owens and past president Josh Skaller stood alone in opposing this year’s convention, handing out a newspaper to every delegate outlining needed changes to the way New York “elects” Supreme Court Judges.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said Judicial Conventions are bad, declaring that :

“The Constitution Does Not Prohibit Legislatures From Enacting Stupid Laws.”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the courts did not have the constitutional right to change the way New York chooses it Supreme Court Judges not one elected official has spoken out about changing the STUPID LAW. In fact the good groups which conspired with the elected officials before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to allow Judicial Conventions to continue at the same time allowing candidates to petition there way onto the ballot are like the press missing action on this issue. In fact like the elected officials the good government groups have not commented on the STUPID LAWS.

For more information on the proposed changes proposed by Owens:

For more information about the Judicial Convention, efforts to change it and a record of judicial corruption over the past 5 years:

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