Don't Let the Door Hit You...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


As a follow up to this post on the Judge who wouldn't marry interracial couples, there is good news. With overwhelming bipartisan support, Justice of the Peace, Keith Bardwell, has resigned. This saves the state having to kick his ass out. He still faces a civil rights suit from the couple he refused to marry. Here's hoping they win.

14 comments:

Bob 11:12 AM  

Correction:

Please let the door strike you hard on the ass as you pass through it. Please stumble, fall and break your neck on the way down the porch stairs.

steves 3:27 PM  

I am content that this guy will be the laughing stock of the entire legal community and will hopefully pay out the ass after he loses the civil rights lawsuit.

Smitty 3:32 PM  

**Wankery Alert**

I am not heartbroken that a racist judge stepped down; justice can never be blind when its administrator holds prejudice.

That said, how many judges exist (and I am not blaming this purely on the South..there are racists everywhere) who are latently racist? They have these thoughts, they tend to convict or levy harsher sentences on minorities, whatever, but they don't come out and say it?

I am not saying this judge was forced to quit; I am glad he quit. I am saying that I wonder how much race plays as a factor in administering justice, and I wonder how that can not only be measured but evaluated.

[/wankery]

Smitty 3:55 PM  

What I didn't get into a second ago was that judges who exhibit this much of a complete lack of objectivity and justice should be de-barred and prohibited from practicing even as a lawyer anywhere else.

I know it's too tough to prove that more latent kind of racism, but for God's sake, when guys like this say what they say and do what they do with so much hubris and bravado, fuck 'em high.

steves 5:17 PM  

Smitty, I don't know. I would agree that if they are shown to be racist they should be booted off the bench and prohibited from ever being a judge again.

I have seen judges in Family Court situations that were sexist or at least I got the sense that they were making some of their decisions based on gender.

Monk-in-Training 9:49 PM  

Off topic, but I am shocked at the actions at Ft. Hood, Texas tonight.



Rest eternal grant them, O Lord;
and let light perpetual shine upon them.

B Mac 10:16 PM  

Law Nerd: ATTACK!!!

If anyone is interested, you can read the civil complaint here:

http://files.wafb.com/Bardwell_complaint.pdf.

Honestly, he's not as screwed for most of the claims as I would like. From my understanding of 42 U.S.C. 1983, judges have absolute immunity for "judicial acts," so there's a good chance he wins that one. The state tort claims are also not gimmies, because injury is hard to show.

Plaintiffs are probably going to have to rely on State Constitutional claims. And truth be told, I don't know enough about Louisiana's Constitution to make a prediction. Hell, I didn't know they had a constitution.

Frankly, the best claim in the bunch is the claim against his wife under section 1983. She's a private citizen, and is therefore screwed for treble damages and fees.

/Law Nerd Attack

B Mac 10:23 PM  

And now for the opinion portion of the evening:

There isn't a plunger handle wide enough to deliver this guy the kind of punishment he deserves.

Smitty, I agree there are plenty of racist on the various benches. And that's regrettable. But when a judge goes beyond internal biases (which we all have) and starts actively F-ing with peoples' lives in an attempt to spread their hate as being "the way the world should operate"... that's when I get all violence-ish.

Bob 9:57 AM  

Is refusing service really a "judicial act"?

B Mac 10:10 AM  

Is refusing service really a "judicial act"?

From my understanding of 1983 jurisprucence, probably. If plaintiffs dealt with the judge in his capacity as a judge, and his actions (or inactions) are within the scope of his judicial power, he has absolute immunity.

Marrying people is part of his judicial authority, so he can't be sued under 1983 for refusing to take that judicial action.

steves 2:52 PM  

Is refusing service really a "judicial act"?

No.

While this may not be a gimme, ex-judge Dumbass will likely have a hard time finding a sympathetic jury or judge. My guess is that he will not escape this without some kind of punishment. As for Lousiana law, they rely a lot on the Napoleanic code, as opposed to English Common law. They are unique in that regard, as opposed to the rest of the US.

B Mac 10:58 AM  

Is refusing service really a "judicial act"?

The definition of judicial act is reeeally broad in this area. Courts once considered forced sterilization (which was not authorized by law) to be covered under immunity.

It's also determined as a matter of law, so it doesn't get to a jury.

Mr Furious 10:33 PM  

I am content that this guy will be the laughing stock of the entire legal community\

Yeah among thinking member of that community north of the Mason-Dixon Line. I am quite sure this guy will be getting plenty of claps on the back and beers bought for him at the next conference of the Louisiana Bar Association...

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