JAIL4Judges sues Florida Bar in US Supreme Court
On January 7, 2008, a petition for writ of certiorari was docketed in the United States Supreme Court titled Florida JAIL4Judges, Petitioner v. The Florida Bar, Respondent, prepared and filed by Montgomery Blair Sibley, Attorney for Petitioner, on behalf of Florida JAIL4Judges and Florida JAILer-in-Chief (JIC), Nancy Grant, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The background of this lawsuit is quite interesting and goes back to the South Dakota 2006 ballot. For a history see www.sd-jail4judges.org. Therein we explain the shenanigans that went on in South Dakota to misrepresent the J.A.I.L. Amendment before the electorate. As a result, J.A.I.L. went down allegedly 89% against to 11% in favor. Thereafter Attorney Tom Barnett, the Director of the South Dakota Bar Association and leading the opposition campaign rushed down to Florida to address the Florida Bar, bragging on how they "defeated" JAIL4Judges in South Dakota.
A news article on the website of the Florida Bar described advice that Barnett gave at a meeting of the Florida Bar's board of governors:
If backers of an amendment known as J.A.I.L.4Judges succeed in getting their constitutional amendment on the Florida ballot, the state’s lawyers should be ready to lead a campaign to defeat it.
The public face of that campaign should not be judges and lawyers, but rather regular citizens who would be adversely affected by the amendment that nominally seeks to strip civil and criminal immunity from the judiciary in cases where a special grand jury decides they have acted improperly.
Tom Barnett, executive director of the State Bar of South Dakota, gave that advice to the Bar Board of Governors at its December meeting.
A state bar 's board of governors has no business even hearing advice on getting involved in a political issue, let alone acting upon such advice.
JAIL4Judge's broadcast email said,
This rhetoric spewed out by Barnett so enraged Florida Bar member Montgomery Sibley that he brought suit against the Florida Bar for illegal and unlawful use of Bar membership dues. The nature of the lawsuit filed in the Florida Supreme Court, which was three-pronged, alleges that any entity that advocates for or against a State Constitutional Amendment must be registered as a Political Action Committee (PAC). Florida JAIL4Judges, pursuant to this law, is an officially-recognized PAC with a State-assigned number. However, its opposition (The Florida Bar) is not. The lawsuit seeks to compel the Florida Bar to comply with Florida law and register as a PAC, albeit pointing out that the Florida Bar is a duly-recognized official arm of the Florida Supreme Court and the second prong is that the Florida Bar is precluded by Florida law from involving itself in State initiatives.
The third prong asks that the seven justices of the State Supreme Court recuse themselves because their own official arm is the defendant. This of course placed the Florida Supreme Court in a real catch-22 situation which they stalled upon ad infinitum, refusing to make a decision on their own conflict. Finally by compulsion the Florida Supreme Court determined that they were not the proper court to decide the question before them. Another motion followed by Attorney Sibley calling on them to decide the question before them or state why they did not have jurisdiction to make a ruling. The motion was denied and the instant matter is now brought before the United States Supreme Court.
The current petition, assigned Case No. 07-885, may be read at http://www.jail4judges.org/state_chapters/fl/Petition.pdf. What we now know is that the entire State of Florida, including its Supreme Court, is incapable of deciding a matter in which it has a conflict of interest. Left to be decided by the United States Supreme Court is whether Florida JAIL4Judges has a forum available to it for redress of grievance (First Amendment, U.S. Constitution). Maybe even more basic is, do we have a U.S. Constitution? We shall soon find out. If in the negative, J.A.I.L. has made a prima facie case to all Americans as to the universal need for the passage of J.A.I.L. in this country. We ask, without J.A.I.L. does America even have a future?
The national media, to which this is being sent, should be very interested in following this case.
Incidentally, I met Ron Branson in person many years ago when I was fighting the flagrantly unconstitutional $300 California "smog impact fee" imposed on federally-certified vehicles brought into the state. I am grateful to Ron for his continued dedication to fighting judges' shenanigans.
Labels: Voter initiatives