Is the ice under judicial fraud getting thinner?

by Lev Tsitrin

“Delight is to him — a far, far upward, and inward delight — who against the proud gods and commodores of this earth, ever stands forth his own inexorable self. Delight is to him whose strong arms yet support him, when the ship of this base treacherous world has gone down beneath him. Delight is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of Senators and Judges.” So did Father Mapple conclude his sermon that takes up one of the marvelous chapters of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

I have never heard that delight expressed with a greater gusto than Seth Weathers — introduced as a “Republican strategist in Georgia” — did in a BBC Newshour’s 6-minute (from 6:40 to 12:50 min) reaction to FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-A-Lago home. Mr. Weathers held nothing back, repeatedly (and literally) laughing off BBC interviewer’s premise that the FBI acted with integrity — and, even more importantly, that the judge who authorized the raid simply followed the law.

His defiance of the latter assumption particularly roiled BBC’s presenter, Razia Iqbal. Sparks started to fly at around 8:40, and from that point on there was a constant dazzle of brilliant verbal fireworks. It went something like this (though I do not pretend to transcribe): “BBC: FBI had to convince the judge to allow the search — are you suggesting that the judge was also corrupt? Seth Weathers: yea, judges are corrupt; you don’t understand how judges get their positions; judges are corrupt all across America. BBC: “But the rule of law applies to every single person in the Unites States. Seth Weathers: (laughs) you must be out of your mind. When you get to the top, there is a lot of rot. Not all judges are corrupt, but plenty are.”

This is just a shadow of a shadow of their conversation, which is a must-listen — he is so brilliant, and it is such fun. Repeatedly, BBC’s Razia Iqbal expresses her irritation that one could even think of claiming that judges can be mere corrupt political hacks; and time and again, Seth Weathers laughs — yes, literally laughs at her naivete. To her, it is inconceivable that one could say that American judges could be corrupt; to him, it is obvious that they are.

For many years I tried to convince journalists that they should investigate and cover the fact that the so-called “due process of the law” which is presumably guaranteed us in the Constitution is nowhere to be found in the judicial decision-making process, judges tossing the argument given them by the parties to the case, basing their decisions on judges’ own argument concocted out of thin air so as to decide cases the way they want to, not the way they have to — and when sued for fraud, defending themselves with a self-given, in Pierson v Ray right to act from the bench “maliciously and corruptly.” So, not surprisingly, Seth Weathers’ apt, factual, and spirited replies to Razia Iqbal’s ideologically self-righteous protestations were balm to my wounds, and music to my ears.

As were, in fact, Donald Trump’s remarks, made both as a candidate and as a president, that poured cold water on the pious fiction that federal judges — who are, after all, nominated to the bench because of their ideological biases, and confirmed by the senators who share those same biases — suddenly become impartial agents of due process once they have been confirmed, and seated on the bench. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” fulminated Chief Justice Roberts on one such occasion of Trump’s reference to an “Obama judge.” “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.” What he meant in that second, fuzzy part of his statement, is unclear. One would have expected Justice Roberts to say, “all judges are mere human agents of the due process of the law and strive to follow it” — but he did not say that, perhaps realizing that this is simply not the case. There is no due process of the law in the judicial decision-making process for a simple reason that there is no “process” in it, judging being arbitrary — and politicians not only understand it, but they love it that way.

You would never have learned that from the mainstream media but — lo and behold! — Mr. Weathers did manage to get on the BBC and did manage to speak some unwelcome truths about the way judges operate. It is too soon to say whether journalistic stonewalling of the subject of judicial fraud is coming to an end, but every instance of truth-speaking is welcome — especially when it comes in such spectacularly fiery form, well worthy of Melville’s truth-speaking Father Mapple.


Lev Tsitrin is the founder of the Coalition Against Judicial Fraud,


15 Responses

  1. Based on the transcript you kindly provided, which has definitely saved me the wasting of several minutes, I can say that this guy’s arguments are demagogic and not worth taking seriously.

    The investigation that has led to the FBI raid was set in motion several months ago by the National Archives, which reported to the Justice Department that Donald Trump had not turned over documents from his administration for archival, as the law says he must do. The Justice Department is not going to shirk doing its job just because Trump is really popular and his followers will be upset by it. It’s also worth noting that Christopher Wray, current head of the FBI, is a Republican and a Trump appointee.

    “If the judge signed that warrant then that means he’s corrupt!”. Hah, what a foolish argument. To Trump and his followers, corruption and conspiracies are the explanations for everything.

    1. Thanks for this. No matter what the allegations against the judge are in this particular instance, I will be happy as long as the press starts looking into how judges operate. Until now, the press has been AWOL, even though judiciary is the full third of US government — and even though judges state, openly and brazenly, that they have the right to act from the bench “maliciously and corruptly.” If Trump said it, the papers would be all over him; when judges say it — as they do in Pierson v Ray — the journalists yawn. Press’ collusion with the judiciary needs to end. Judges are part of the government — and should be treated as such by the press. I hope you don’t disagree.

      1. “No matter what the allegations against the judge are in this particular instance”

        What allegations? There are none. Show me evidence that this warrant was signed without a legal basis and that the judge who signed it took a payoff in return for his signature and you might be in business. Otherwise, there’s no need to insinuate the existence of something that doesn’t exist.

        1. Allegations and evidence are two very different things, as you well know. I was not talking of evidence. I was talking of allegations — but you demand that I show the evidence, as if I spoke about evidence. All I hope for, is that this raid triggers press scrutiny of how judges operate, and the discussion of judicial fraud that is very long overdue. That’s all.

          1. Nonsense. The unsupported assertions by those that see monsters under the bed do not deserve a 911 call every night to sweep the room for monsters. The endless right wing conspiracy mongers cry wolf whenever they are ignored. Calling for investigations is a waste of the public wealth, trust and patience. The only real reason to call for meaningless investigations is the propagandistic one of filling the public discourse with the empty sounds and charges of “corruption” in order to enervate those that should prosecute treason and sedition. It’s just tiresome, and that is your only real purpose: to tire honest folks out with a wall of suspicion.

  2. You must remember that in the UK Judges are not political appointees. It is thus logical for BBC reporters to assume that judges in a country as advanced as the US are not corrupt.

  3. I’ve written on this subject before and agree with Lev 100%.
    The U.S. justice system is not accessible to the man on the street in many ways.
    To mention but a few, there is firstly the question of extortionate filing fees, where they charge you for just about everything and would charge you for saying “Good Morning” if they could get away with it.
    A second issue is that most of the “hack” lawyers, (mainly the ones who operate as one-man shows) well my experience has been that the majority of them are just one step above being illiterate and can only operate narrowly in their own States.
    If you have a big action, be it social or civil then forget about the agencies that make the headlines. The ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law center and the like , well they ain’t interested in anything if you ain’t black.
    So , to have any chance at all you have to go to the heavy hitters, the ones who know procedures and judges, the ones who have accounts with the court registries. See how long twenty grand lasts with those guys… poof and it’s gone, gone before you get anywhere near the court.
    Then if you do come across an incompetent lawyer or a morally shadowed judge (and the chances are very high) you have the excruciating process of trying to get them in front of one of their own hermetically sealed disciplinary committees. These committees are staffed by their own kind and the decision makers are dragooned into service as volunteers. Guess what you get when you ask a lawyer to work for free?
    Miraculously, with my grade 10 education, I managed to get a judge of the appellate court given the heave-ho a couple of years back, although the disciplinary committee would never in a million years admit to it. They simply advised us that ” as he had retired, there was nothing they could do.”
    So to get justice in the States you have to have lotsa money, you have to stick pins in where it hurts and you have to be persistent.
    Don’t expect a reply from any of the law schools, professors, judicial oversight bodies or gurus, life’s too cozy for them to take up a cause and they won’t risk an opinion ‘cos it could mean the end of their sinecure.

    1. A long time ago, when the world was younger, the sky was a little bluer and the sun a little brighter, when woolly mammoths still roamed the earth and people clad in their skins roamed after them, there arose a saying that has survived to this day. That saying is, “a wise man never enters court, and a fool never leaves it”.

      1. “A long time ago, when the world was younger,” people lived in a natural state and sorted out their differences with the help of a club. Courts were introduced to avoid that — but they don’t work aright, and that is the problem: they do not serve justice, and are not the solution for resolving grievances. Should we go back to clubbing each other, as was done “”A long time ago”? Is that how a “wise man [who] never enters court” operates? Just curious…

  4. The fellow authorizing the home invasion was not a judge but rather a quite compromised magistrate. And the warrant should not have been issued on two grounds: first, President Trump was in communication and cooperating with the National Archives, and second, it is the President who determines what is classified and what is not. It is impossible for the President to legally mishandle secretive documents.

    1. “The fellow authorizing the home invasion was not a judge but rather a quite compromised magistrate”

      Says who? You?

      “the warrant should not have been issued on two grounds: “first, President Trump was in communication and cooperating with the National Archives”

      No he was not. And given what I know about the kind of country I live in, I am confident that the reasons for the warrant being issued were solid.

      “it is the President who determines what is classified and what is not.”

      Not true. Legislation and agency regulations determine that, and violating those things is illegal. That goes for the President himself.

      “It is impossible for the President to legally mishandle secretive [sic] documents.”

      Don’t make me laugh.

  5. Looks like I stand corrected on a non-trivial detail, namely that the President does in fact have the power to declassify, as this page explains.

    But that doesn’t invalidate my argument, which is that the Justice Department wouldn’t be investigating Donald Trump without good reason and a judge would not have gone through the process and signed that warrant without probable cause.

    The conservative reaction to the investigation is nothing but rabid partisanship.

  6. This is reductive bullshit. I practiced and studied law my entire adult life and can assure you that many scholarly books and judges and professors and lawyers have wrestled with this issue and will be for years to come. If you study it for the rest of your life you won’t come close to an answer.

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