Minn. Group Accused of Harassing Judge

Here at Gavel Grab we often tell you about attacks on the court, but it’s pretty rare we actually discuss actual harassment of a judge. But that’s what we’ve got for you today. The Wall Street Journal’s legal blog – aptly named Law Blog – reports on the story of a bizarre little group in Minnesota that attempted to intimidate and threaten a U.S. District Court judge, Ann Montgomery.

The group, called (we’re not kidding) “Our one supreme court Common-Law court for the de-jure Ramsey: the county: Minnesota; the land a superior court for the People, original jurisdiction under Almighty Yahweh exclusive jurisdiction in and for confederation-government United States of America,” set out on a campaign of intimidation, convening a “common law court” to issue false leins, arrest warrants and subpoenas against the judge.  This was all started when the leader of the group was brought before the court on charges of tax evasion. Here’s the mugshot of their ringleader:

Looks like a real winner.

Several group members are now facing serious charges. As silly as these people may seem, direct intimidation of judges and other court officers is unacceptable, and we here at Gavel Grab want to offer our full support for Judge Montgomery.

Read the law blog post here and catch the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s coverage here.

Leahy: Mixed Review for High Court

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) praised the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Boumediene case, but he was incredulous that the ruling was such a close call.

The Supreme Court did the right thing,” Leahy said, speaking to a packed luncheon at the American Constitution Society’s national convention in Washington on Friday. “I was so excited, but then I thought, why did we have a 5-4 vote to uphold habeas corpus? That should be unanimous.”

Leahy added: “The Court’s decision validates what I have always maintained: Congress made a grave error when it voted to strip habeas corpus rights and left in place hopelessly flawed procedures to hold detainees indefinitely with no meaningful court review merely by the Executive’s decree.”

 Leahy also sharply criticized the Supreme Court’s handling of worker and health care rights, saying it is led by “activist conservative judges who have turned the laws on their head.” To see video and text of the American Constitution Society’s convention highlights, including Leahy’s speech, click here.

Reactions to Boumediene

Today’s blog will be dedicated entirely to the Boumediene decision that the Supreme Court had handed down. The decision was a 5-4 decision, favoring the rights of the detainees to be informed of why they are being detained, thus returning Habeas Corpus to the detained.

So far, the folks at Balkin have a few questions that have been left unanswered by the decision decision.

While our friends at the SCOTUS blog have given their very early view on the decision.

One thing is for sure though, Justice Scalia was not at all happy with the decision. And that puts it mildly. I guess Scalia is finally embracing his prestige as a Supreme Court justice.

Lastly, here is Justice at Stake’s Executive Director, Bert Brandenburg’s comment on the decision:

Liberty always deserves a day in court, even in wartime. Today’s Supreme Court decision affirms our system of checks and balances, in which courts ensure that the Constitution’s basic guarantees are upheld.

The history of court decisions in wartime shows time and again that the courts, carrying out their job defending the Constitution, have not undercut national security.

Since September 11, our courts too frequently have been deprived of the authority and independence they need to protect our constitutional liberties and hold the government accountable. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said so eloquently, “A state of war is not a blank check for the president.”

In today’s ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy added, “The Framers’ inherent distrust of governmental power was the driving force behind the constitutional plan that allocated powers among three independent branches. This design serves not only to make Government accountable but also to secure individual liberty.”

Expect more thought out responses in the next 24 hours as the world gets deeper into this momentous decision, and its impact on Federal Courts.

6/3/08: Impact of the Boumediene Case, Proposal for Fed Court Pay Raise, Gavel Grab is in the Top 100!!

What Might the Court Do in Boumediene? And How Might Congress Respond? – Balkinization
Prof. Marty Lederman takes a look at the Boumediene case in front of the Supreme Court and the potential fall out.

A “Modest Proposal” to Increase Judicial Pay: – The Volokh Conspiracy
Illya Somin’s proposal for Fed. Court judges pay raises.

Nationwide Layoff Watch: The Florida Court System – Above the Law Blog
Many judges and other court employees in Florida have lost their jobs after budget cutbacks.

The Top 100 Criminal Justice Blogs List – Criminal Justice Degrees Guide
Congratulations to Gavel Grab. We made a list!!

5/23/08: The Brown Decision and the Roberts Court, Reactions to Linda Greenhouse's Article

The Roberts Court and Thurgood Marshall’s Legacy – Balkinization
The folks at Balkin take a look at the Brown anniversary that has just past, and the Roberts court dismantling of the decision.

Something a little different today, where the blog world has had a very loud reaction to Lina Greenhouse’s article in the New York Times today. Althouse, the folks at Volokh, Lawbeat, and the Law Blog at the Wall Street Journal Online all have their reactions to her article.

5/22/08: Lots of Stories From the Blogs Today

Jones Confirmation Delayed Again – Legal Pad
A federal court nominee’s long and delayed nomination process is discussed.

Why Do Conservatives Care So Much About the Courts?: – The Volokh Conspiracy
Public Opinion survey says Americans trust the courts more than anyone. Olin Kerr explains why conservatives care so much about the courts.

New study indicates success of state guideline systems – Sentencing Law and Policy Blog
A Justice at Stake partner, the National Center for State Courts, has a new study on sentencing guidelines in the states.