More breathtaking inanity from Judge Jones
The legal reasoning behind his ruling that "intelligent design" cannot constitutionally be taught as "science" in public schools, and the importance of Missouri retaining its Non-Partisan Court Plan to assure an independent judiciary were the subjects of a major address by Judge John E. Jones, a U.S. District federal judge serving in Pennsylvania. Jones spoke at a gathering of more than 150 people at an event sponsored by the League of Women Voters of St. Louis, which was held at the Ethical Society last week.
In a brief interview with the St. Louis Jewish Light prior to his formal remarks, Jones, a Republican who was nominated to serve as a federal judge by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2002, said that major Jewish organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League "have been very supportive" of his ruling in a case arising in Dover, Pa., in which he found that teaching "intelligent design" as "science" in public schools violates the separation of church and state principle in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Jones has often said that judges should make decisions without regard to pleasing or offending anyone and now he is bragging that "major Jewish organizations" have been "very supportive" of his Dover ruling. In his speech at a national meeting of the Anti-Defamation League, he said,
A fundamental cornerstone of our justice system, and in fact of our federal and state government, is an independent judiciary. The concept requires judges to decide cases in front of them in a manner faithful to the law without fear or favor and free from political and external pressures.
Under his "judicial independence" doctrine, support from some Jewish organizations is of no more significance than opposition from Christian fundy and other organizations.
Also, I doubt that orthodox Jews have been "very supportive" of his Dover ruling -- opposition to Darwinism is widespread and strong among orthodox Jews.
In addition to his ruling in the intelligent design case, Jones strongly encouraged Missourians to retain the Non-Partisan Court Plan, which was adopted in 1940, under which judges in covered jurisdictions and higher courts are nominated on a non-partisan basis, for later appointment by the governor. "Your system assures that judges will not be subjected to pressures from those who supported them politically, and empowers them to make independent decisions in tough cases like the intelligent design and similar cases."
Even under this plan, the candidates for judgeships still need political support to be nominated -- even if that support is non-partisan -- and will still be subject to pressures from those who supported their nominations. And even without being pressured, a non-partisan judge can be as biased as any partisan judge.
Also, I don't see what is so special about this plan. On Los Angeles County election ballots, candidates for judgeships are non-partisan. Federal judicial nominees are chosen by partisan presidents but federal judges themselves are non-partisan.
Jones was pleased that the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis and other Jewish groups support the retention of the plan, which has been under attack from various conservative groups in Missouri. "It would be a big mistake to eliminate a system which is the envy of much of the rest of the nation," Jones said.
"Envy"? What is there to "envy"? Any jurisdiction is free to adopt this Non-Partisan Court Plan, free of charge.
Jones, a native of Pennsylvania and a graduate of the Penn State School of Law, received the first John Marshall Award for Judicial Independence in recognition of his ruling.
Jones actually graduated from the Dickinson
So he is the first recipient of the John Marshall Award for Judicial Independence? Was the award created just for him?
Also, this award can easily be confused with the American Bar Association's John Marshall Award (with nothing about "judicial independence" in the name). The ABA's John Marshall Award has been conferred annually starting in 2001 and Jones has never received it. The John Marshall Award is conferred by the national ABA whereas the John Marshall Award for Judicial Independence is conferred by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. I hope that the national ABA takes action to have the latter award canceled or at least renamed.
Labels: Judge Jones (new #1)