Yes. Yes! YES!!!!: “New Subcommittee to Focus on Federal Courts and Bankruptcy System.” [With correction]*

Well, well, well.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has created a new subcommittee this year to specifically oversee the federal courts and the nation’s bankruptcy system, including administration and management, judicial rules, the creation of new judgeships.
Last session’s Administrative Oversight and the Courts Subcommittee has been split into two separate subcommittees for this session. Senator Richard Blumenthal will chair the new Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action Subcommittee, while Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) will become the chairman of the new Bankruptcy and the Courts Subcommittee.
Coons, a lawyer and the main proponent of a bill last year that reauthorized expired bankruptcy judgeships, said he will focus on a wide range of issues in his subcommittee hearings. “We have a judicial vacancy crisis in many parts of this country, and I’d like to look at what can be done to address it,” Coons said in a written statement.

“Our federal courts have traditionally been the last bastion for many Americans to assert their civil rights, but recent federal court decisions have made it harder to not only enforce federal civil rights, but also rights that people may have as a consumer or as an employee under state law,” Coons said. “That has to change.”
New Subcommittee to Focus on Federal Courts and Bankruptcy System, Todd Ruger, The Blog of LegalTimes, today.

Oooooooohhhhh, yah!  Might we finally see an end to, say, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine? [Don’t ask.] And the Younger doctrine?  [Don’t ask.]  And the Supreme Courts’ Orwellian conflation of “liberty” and state “sovereignty” in federal habeas corpus law concerning criminal convictions if state court? [Pleeease don’t ask.]  

Okay, I’ll just say this much, since I know you’re asking even though I’ve asked you not to: The Rooker-Feldman and Younger doctrines are the civil-litigation equivalent of federal habeas corpus law concerning criminal convictions if state court.  Got that? I thought so. 

Except that in the latter, the justices, good textualists/originalists that they are, distort an actual existing federal “jurisdictional” statute in a manner that renders it flagrantly in violation of, um, the Fourteenth Amendment and the Supremacy Clause.  (States’ rights! Liberty! Er, liberty for states to violate individuals’ constitutional rights, as long as those rights aren’t, say, Second Amendment ones, or Fifth Amendment “takings” ones!)  But in the former, the civil-litigation “jurisdiction” “doctrines,” they’re not even purporting to interpret a jurisdictional statute; they’re creating their own “jurisdictional” law in contravention of federal jurisdictional statute.  (The Rooker-Feldman doctrine was created in a 5-4 opinion in 1983 that purported to interpret a part of the main federal-court jurisdictional statute that was repealed, at William Rehnquist’s request, three years later. No matter, the doctrine has only metastasized since then.)

Funny, how that separation-of-powers thing matters only when the Republican-appointed justices want it to. Y’know, that thing in Article III about it being only the Congress that has the authority to write court-jurisdiction laws (which the Supreme Court can declare unconstitutional but has no constitutional authority otherwise to create court-jurisdiction “doctrines”)? Aw, never mind.

Also, maybe now we’ll get some changes to the statutes and court Rules whose court filing fees and private-printing-of-say-cert. petition fees, and outrageous cost-shifting from plaintiffs to governments and mega-corporations for the government’s or mega-corporation’s litigation expenses, sometimes willy-nilly including their (the civil-litigation defendant’s) attorneys’ fees but in any event routinely including thousands of dollars in non-attorney-fees “costs–usually because the lawsuit was tossed out of court on some procedural/jurisdictional gimmick.  When there isn’t an already-existing procedural/jurisdictional ground that can be distorted to dismiss the lawsuit, one can always be created just for that occasion.  (And you thought this happened only to Al Gore!)

But I’ve saved the best for last: Now, maybe–maybe–we’ll finally get a law establishing an Office of Inspector General to review judicial-misconduct complaints and lifting the (yep, you guessed it) the prohibition against the complainant’s public disclosure of the fact that a complaint was filed.  Upon pain of dismissal of the misconduct complaint. Which, in one case I know of, involving a bizarre ex parte communication between a federal trial-level judge and a federal appellate judge in another region of the country (the trial-level judge jaw-droppingly implied in an  order he issued dismissing the lawsuit that he was doing so at the private urging of the appellate judge; seriously) would mean that, sometime during the now-28 months* in which the misconduct complaint has been pending–and before the two judges involved retire (one will be eligible this May; the other will be eligible later in the year)–the public might already know about what to of their esteemed judicial servants were up to back in 2007-08. And so might the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department.

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone who knows what I’m referring to not post anything here about it.  This isn’t the time.  Or the place.  Seriously. Thank you.  

And anyway, that’s just one of many, many instances of truly blatant abuse of the current the-law-allows-us-to-circle-the-wagons-almost-no-matter-what system.  I know of other jaw-dropping instances, including one directly related to the one I’ve somewhat described. All for one, and one for all!

But this is the time, and one of the places, to begin to urge that Congress not–yet again– be cowed by the Supreme Court justices’ cries of  “ But … but … judicial independence!”  

Yeah, judicial independence.  And interdependence. That’s my point, as well as theirs.

I think that these are all things that both liberals and Tea Partiers can, and will, join together on.  We’ll see.

Nowwww we’re talkin’.  Maybe. We’ll see.  

It’s time now.  Really.

*Initially this post said incorrectly that the judicial misconduct complaint has been pending for 25 months. It has been pending for 28 months. Corrected 2/4.