Friday, November 23, 2012

Another Reason to Distrust Federal Courts

From the San Fran Chronicle: A federal judge has issued three key rulings over a four-year period that favored companies in which he owned stock, a California Watch analysis has found.
Measures are in place to prevent judges from violating federal conflict-of-interest laws. But Judge Manuel Real, a 46-year veteran of the bench appointed by President Lyndon Johnson, appears to have skirted those safeguards, records and interviews show.
In 2008, he awarded $746,027 in damages and fees to Microsoft Corp. in a copyright infringement case against a computer sales and repair company. At the time, Real held Microsoft stock worth between $15,001 and $50,000, according to his financial disclosures.
-- In another 2008 case involving a contract dispute between Atlanta Cancer Care and biotech giant Amgen, Real dismissed the suit against Amgen. Real held between $15,001 and $50,000 of Amgen stock, too, which he transferred to someone else shortly after the case was appealed.
-- The following year, Real dismissed a lawsuit against Verizon. After the plaintiff in the case appealed the decision to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Real bought Verizon stock worth $15,001 to $50,000. The appeals court upheld Real's dismissal, but returned the case to Real for further deliberation. The parties reached an agreement in February 2011, and Real dismissed the case.
It used to be that you could rely on judges to make decisions based on the law but nowadays, we see judges who rule based on their personal and political opinions (judicial activism), who they sleep with, who their investments are with etc. 
It's time for term limits for Federal judges because the current system is failing us.

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