You amaze me with your hypocrisy. Here we have a judge who made a completely false interpretation of the law, gave bad jury instructions, and it ended with the destruction of one of America’s oldest accounting firms, sending thousands into unemployment.
And yet, per you, it’s wrong for Republicans to try to get strict constructionists onto the appeals court?
Now, if there were instances of AA breaking the law as you seem to believe, why was this particular case tried, when it utterly hinges on the bad jury instructions? I’m not trying to absolve either Enron or AA of criminal activity, but it’s ridiculous that one effed-up judge can wreak that much havoc with a stinking interpretation.
Don’t give me that “I know more than you do” answer, either. If there are fireworks in the offing, then hit us with them. We’re adults.
The activist judge who created the flawed jury instructions, which certainly helped to create an absolutely certain guilty verdict against Arthur Andersen, was one US District Judge Melinda Harmon:
The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the June 2002 Houston jury verdict and the rulings of U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon.
In October 2002, Harmon sentenced Andersen to the maximum: a $500,000 fine and five years’ probation. But well before that time, the charges decimated the once-powerful Big Five firm.
Some background on Harmon:
According to a memo, Judge Melinda Harmon, a Republican appointee, “does not like women to wear pants in court.”
Harmon’s ruling was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals:
It was a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel whose other members are Judges Thomas Reavley and Fortunato Benavides.
Higginbotham, a Dallas-based jurist, noted the import on the decision, saying, “Today we decide one of the many cases arising from the rubble of Enron Corp., which fell from its lofty corporate perch in 2001 wreaking financial ruin upon thousands of investors, creditors and employees.
“Like a falling giant redwood, it took down with it many members of its supporting cast.”
The opinion ruled Harmon did not substantially err in her rulings on evidence, jury instruction or the behavior of prosecutors.
“The conviction of Arthur Andersen was an important milestone in promoting responsible corporate behavior and respect for the law,” said Andrew Weissmann, director of the Enron Task Force and lead prosecutor on the Arthur Andersen trial.
Some background on Judge Patrick Higginbotham:
In 1964 he went into private practice with the Dallas, Texas firm of Coke & Coke, where his work was focused upon trials and appeals, with one stint as a special prosecutor. In 1975 President Gerald Ford appointed him to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, making him the youngest sitting federal judge in the United States. In 1982 he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by President Ronald Reagan, and continues to serve on that court.
Clearly, something must be done about all these damned liberal activist judges.
In the interest of full disclosure, Thomas Reavley and Fortunato Benavides are Carter and Clinton appointees, respectively.
This petty war on judges, from both sides of the aisle, but most recently from the over-wrought cries of judicial activism from my party, has just got to stop. The law is not always clear cut, and there will always be instances when reasonable people disagree on certain decisions, and there will always be instances when Judges get it wrong.
However, attempting to undermine faith in the Court system simply to advance a narrow partisan agenda is cynical, misguided, and wrong for America. We saw this with the smearing of all the Florida Judges in the Schiavo affair, many of whom were conservative appointees, and it simply has to stop.
And, like Forrest Gump, that is all I have got to say about that.