It was predictable that the federal judiciary would not be happy with Hair Gropingfury ordering the DOJ around, not to mention calling out judges for following the law. Now it appears they might be planning to do something about it.
A national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting Tuesday to address growing concerns about the intervention of Justice Department officials and President Donald Trump in politically sensitive cases, the group’s president said Monday.
Philadelphia U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, who heads the independent Federal Judges Association, said the group “could not wait” until its spring conference to weigh in on a deepening crisis that has enveloped the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr.
The judge heading the association was appointed by a Republican, by the way.
Rufe, nominated to the bench by President George W. Bush, said the group of more than 1,000 federal jurists called for the meeting last week after Trump criticized prosecutors' initial sentencing recommendation for his friend Roger Stone and the Department of Justice overruled them.
The move isn’t coordinated with the call by former DOJ officials for Barr to resign (which went from 1100 a few days ago to over 2000 today), but it’s clear that more and more judicial professionals are not only getting more alarmed, they are speaking out about it (which is not part of their normal culture).
The emergency conference call will involve around 20 people, and Rufe said she doesn’t know if or how the discussion will be reported, but she made it clear we’re in an emergency situation that can’t wait.
There’s no telling what the impact of all this concern will be. But I do have to point out that, for all the hand-wringing and despair about the state of our country (and my hands are pretty well wrung right now), there is a significant difference between the United States and some other places like Russia, pre-war Germany, and Hungary: We have strong institutions staffed with people dedicated to our way of life and with powerful institutional memories and traditions. They’ve taken a battering in recent years by the forces of darkness, but they are still standing. That’s a brightly lit candle there.
I’ve been Dan K for a long time here, but I went away while I was in the Peace Corps (Kenya) and then while I was working as a Foreign Service Officer. But that’s all behind me now.