The RingmasterJun 16, 2008
While we have our own battles with this region's federal circuit court, especially with a three-judge panel recently ruling against Virginia's partial birth abortion ban, it's nothing compared to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco. You know, the one that declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional, among many other such ridiculously blatant misinterpretations of the constitution; the court so out of touch Rush Limbaugh stuck it with the nickname, "The Ninth Circus." The "Ninth Circus" now has a new controversy broke by the usually sympathetic Los Angeles Times: Specifically, its chief judge, Alex Kozinski, had to recuse himself from an obscenity trial of a Hollywood producer last week when the Times disclosed he has pornography posted on his personal Web site (click here for an article). At first he resisted the prosecutor's petition, even placing the blame on his son, but he eventually agreed to declare a mistrial and recuse himself. The federal district's chief judge will select a new trial judge.
But there's more. Much more. The tech magazine Wired reports that Judge Kozinski
. . . was the target of a complaint in 2005 for posting a different kind of material on the site — a document related to a case that was before the 9th Circuit Appeals Court.
As well as this:
It's also come to light that included amid the sexual material posted on the judge's site more recently were MP3 files of copyrighted songs by Weird Al Yankovic, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.
According to the source who found the MP3 files on Judge Kozinski's site, at least one of the MP3 files was being traded through a file sharing site that linked to Kozinski's subdomain where the song was stored, raising questions about whether the judge was in violation of copyright laws if anyone downloaded the music from his site. Three 9th Circuit Court judges ruled last year that just making copyrighted works available may be a violation of copyright laws. (Our emphasis. Click here for the entire article.)
If any of these allegations prove true about Judge Kozinski, he should be impeached, removed from the bench and disbarred. Such a flagrant abuse of the law and ethical conduct is one thing, but the audacity to violate a law on which his very own court ruled raises the level of hypocricy and elitism. If the ninth circuit is a judicial circus, this chief judge surely is its ringmaster.
Then there is this footnote to another sad chapter from the legal profession affecting our culture and values: Former Virginia ACLU President Charles Rust-Tierney was disbarred by the Virginia State Bar in April, though the Bar did not make the announcement until last Wednesday. In September, Rust-Tierney was sentenced to seven years in prison for downloading child pornography.