Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Landmark case by US supreme Court on Exposing Judges Bad Behavior

Since this Letter to the Editor was written in March a.d. 2005, two supreme Court justices mentioned have left the court, one Sandra Day O'Connor retired, and William Rehnquist, passed away.

Then Delegate Bob McDonnell is now Virginia's Attorney General.
Update: November a.d 2009, Bob McDonnell is now Virginia's Governor Elect.


From: James Renwick Manship
Date: March 12, 2005 3:55:43 PM EST
To: 2 individuals
Cc: 27 others, including some groups

Subject: God Bless The Virginia-Pilot / Reporting on Judges

Dear Editors and Staff of The Virginian-Pilot:

God bless The Virginian-Pilot! On the masthead include the words of the publisher Frank Batten: "Our duty is clear… to exercise First Amendment freedoms…", much along the lines of the words of George Washington, and the Boy Scouts, "do my Duty to God and my Country…"

From editor Mark Davis who in 1996 wrote an article that mentioned the landmark United States supreme Court case in 1978, this week I learned the case name: Landmark Communications v. Virginia. Then reading that Supreme Court Opinion I see The Virginia-Pilot beat back the attempt of the Virginia judiciary to censor, or violate the freedom of the press. Again God bless y'all. (For full disclosure, I wrote an article on the JIRC – Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission last year in a small local newspaper...)

Two key quotes from the Landmark case are as the famous Justice Black observed in Bridges v. California, 314 U.S., at 270-271:
'The assumption that respect for the judiciary can be won by shielding judges
from published criticism wrongly appraises the character
of American public opinion. . . .

[A]n enforced silence, however limited,
solely in the name of preserving the dignity of the bench,

would probably engender resentment, suspicion, and contempt
much more than it would enhance respect."

Justice Frankfurter agreed that speech cannot be punished simply
"to protect the court as a mystical entity
or the judges as individuals or as anointed priests
set apart from the community and spared the criticism
to which in a democracy other public servants are exposed."

Recently, the bill first introduced in 1999 as HJR212 by Delegate McDonnell for Judicial Performance Evaluations of Virginia district court judges was finally funded this year, six long years later. Sadly, the circuit court judges remain unaccountable, and the common citizen is not included in the process except for juror evaluations of judges.

In our neighbor to the north, the District of Columbia, there is a Center for Court Excellence with its Court Community Observers Project report that on the cover page quotes the current Chief Justice Rehnquist:
"Justice is too important a matter to be left to the judges,
or even the lawyers,

the American people must discuss, think about,
and contribute to
future planning of their courts."

Thomas Jefferson once wrote:
"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society
but the people themselves;
and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control...,
the remedy is not to take it from them
but to inform their discretion by education.
This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."

Jefferson also wrote:
'The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary…"

Pat Robertson, Phyllis Schafly, Judge Bork, Fox commentator Judge Napolitano, Landmark Legal Foundation President Mark Levin all have recent books on the subject of judicial abuse of the Constitution similar to the abuse in Landmark v. Virginia in 1978.

And while this week The Virginian Pilot has reported on two assaults on judges in Illinois and Georgia, in the same way the media and citizens were not silent about the terrorists who attacked the Twin Trade Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia, the press and the people must not allow these physical attacks on judges to suppress proper evaluation and criticism of judges who subvert the Constitution.

I suggest that you post a link to the excellent Landmark decision on your Pilot Online daily as a way to educate the public about their role, and their rights in regard to their judiciary. Retired veterans and teachers and preachers all need to go and evaluate judges so to maintain justice and order in the courts -- and to preserve our blessed Constitution.

For America's Future,

James Renwick Manship, Sr.

(540-322-1767 per May a.d. 2009) local contact phone.
(540-343-6717 per August a.d. 2006) local contact phone.

P.S. I know this is longer than the normal letter to the editor, so editors, please feel free to edit it to the space alloted or available, and thank you again for your defending our God-given Constitution, the 'Miracle in Philadelphia", a document that I often teach in the schools, and even in your Chesapeake Clipper a few years ago was mentioned doing at Stone Bridge School.

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