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(2,848 posts)
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 03:41 AM Mar 2019

We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges...

Back when Roberts excoriated tRump for calling a judge an "Obama judge" and told him: "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges." we all cheered. However, now I'm here the same line tRump used: "Ellis is a Reagan judge". Ok... Are we sure we want to join tRump in this argument?

Obviously we are disappointed in the months given Manafort, but is it really because he is a "Reagan Judge"? I will reluctantly accept the Manafort sentencing... I'm concerned about the court impartiality... I don't want the courts to be just another political institution. Maybe I'm alone on that.

27 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges... (Original Post) Joe941 Mar 2019 OP
Trump began this nonsense Amyishere Mar 2019 #1
Trump was right. mr_liberal Mar 2019 #2
Sadly this is a fact. That is why lawyers shop around for the best venue for their case. SunSeeker Mar 2019 #3
After the Manafort sentencing pressbox69 Mar 2019 #4
Obama had a SCOTUS judge pick IGNORED. Democrats got ZERO from that "choice." VOX Mar 2019 #8
Well said! Brawndo Mar 2019 #20
Thanks. VOX Mar 2019 #21
Sure! You bring up a point worth repeating Brawndo Mar 2019 #23
Thanks, friend. The matter needs to be drilled repeatedly. VOX Mar 2019 #24
No, Republicans choose conservatives, Democrats choose non-conservatives JHB Mar 2019 #12
Dems tend just appoint judges who follow the law. SunSeeker Mar 2019 #14
oh come on fescuerescue Mar 2019 #15
"Everybody" does not know that. One side actively cultivates a farm team... JHB Mar 2019 #18
ok fescuerescue Mar 2019 #19
Please refrain from taking my point to absurd extremes JHB Mar 2019 #22
Respectfully, I thought the original point was a bit absurb. fescuerescue Mar 2019 #25
Conservatives have made ideological "correctness" mandatory for... JHB Mar 2019 #5
This sentence given Manafort duforsure Mar 2019 #6
Judges by law are supposed to be non-partisan. Chin music Mar 2019 #7
Ideally, yes, but many judges no longer adhere to impartiality in real life. VOX Mar 2019 #9
Don't mistake partisanship for weirdness theboss Mar 2019 #17
Yes. I know. Chin music Mar 2019 #26
regardless of any of that, what the judge did in this case is fucked up in itself JI7 Mar 2019 #10
I'm thinking it is only important to know that Ellis was appointed by Reagan because Silver Gaia Mar 2019 #11
Vinca may have the answer to this: Lars39 Mar 2019 #13
I think people misapply political philosphies to criminal law. theboss Mar 2019 #16
Ellis, Judge Boof, Gorsucks et al are all politicians in robes. Some, like Ellis are Hassler Mar 2019 #27


(69 posts)
1. Trump began this nonsense
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 03:44 AM
Mar 2019

Trump began it when he accused a Latino judge of being biased, and wasn't called on it,and was elected anyway.



(1,017 posts)
2. Trump was right.
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 04:38 AM
Mar 2019

Republican presidents choose conservative judges, Democrats choose liberals. Do I even have to say that? I mean it's like people disagree with Trump just because its Trump. What he said is obviously true. Roberts was just trying to defend the honor of the court but what he said is a fantasy.

That is for constitutional cases (abortion, gay rights...) though, I don't think it affects how a judge rules in criminal cases or sentencing.


(51,536 posts)
3. Sadly this is a fact. That is why lawyers shop around for the best venue for their case.
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 05:29 AM
Mar 2019

Who you get for a judge can make or break your case. Judges are picked from the lawyer population. And there's a lot of bad lawyers out there. On top of that, the politics of the appointing President you can get some real clunkers.

And a judge's world view/conservativism affects all their rullings, some more so than others. Conservative give longer sentences to people of color. Elllis is a good example. He gave 13 years to Congressman Jackson who was found with $90k cash stashedi his freezer. In Manafort's case, Ellis only gave 4 years, even though Manafort admitted he stole $15 MILLION FROM US taxpayers by way of his tax fraud scheme.


(2,252 posts)
4. After the Manafort sentencing
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 05:44 AM
Mar 2019

and the Jeffrey Epstein sentencing, I'm convinced that we have too many shitty judges and the courts need a good flush.


(22,976 posts)
8. Obama had a SCOTUS judge pick IGNORED. Democrats got ZERO from that "choice."
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 07:17 AM
Mar 2019

Remember Merrick Garland? An experienced, moderate judge whose qualifications were superb? In fact, he was such a perfect fit for SCOTUS that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans deliberately chose to ignore the nomination altogether, including shunning the nominee completely; no interviews, nothing, as if the man didn’t exist. The nomination remained before the Republican-controlled Senate for 293 days, the longest nomination process in the history of Supreme Court nominations.

It was the damnable Republicans who threw nitro into the politically-motivated selection of judges.

And now we’re supposed to feel shame for calling a right-wing activist judge a “Reagan judge,” in some strange inversion of political correctness? In fact, Judge Ellis III hampered, stalled, ignored the prosecution, and was showing extreme bias seven months ago, as reported in the Washington Post:
The extraordinary bias of the judge in the Manafort trial
The Washington Post
By Nancy Gertner
August 16, 2018
- - - - - -
What Happened With Merrick Garland In 2016 And Why It Matters Now
NPR June 29, 2018
Supreme Court picks have often been controversial. There have been contentious hearings and floor debates and contested votes. But to ignore the nominee entirely, as if no vacancy existed?

There was no precedent for such an action since the period around the Civil War and Reconstruction. No Democratic president had made an appointment while Republicans held the Senate since 1895.
In a speech that August in Kentucky, McConnell would say: "One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, 'Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.' "

McConnell was not alone. The 11 Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter saying they had no intention of consenting to any nominee from Obama. No proceedings of any kind were held on Garland's appointment.


(22,976 posts)
21. Thanks.
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 03:53 PM
Mar 2019

Sometimes it feels like being the only one who’s actually reading reliable published sources, and distinguishing patterns, etc., but attempts to share that information go nowhere.

So thanks, Brawndo, for acknowledging— it’s much appreciated.


(535 posts)
23. Sure! You bring up a point worth repeating
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 04:12 PM
Mar 2019

The politicization of the Judiciary is a fact, we should operate with that reality in mind. McTurtle's theft of Obama's SC seat MUST be answered, I am still in a rage about that. Failure to address that violation only invites more of the same in the future.

I appreciate the references/links as well, it may seem like it goes unnoticed but that isn't the case. Democracy only works with an informed electorate, thanks for doing your part.


(22,976 posts)
24. Thanks, friend. The matter needs to be drilled repeatedly.
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 04:42 PM
Mar 2019

Democrats/progressives should have seen this coming from miles off. Every warning siren, flashing light and whistle on Judge Ellis was perceptible long before this week’s Manafort “sentencing.”

Glowing sore-thumb examples were abundant, such as this piece found in The NY Times LAST AUGUST:

Manafort’s Judge, T.S. Ellis, Is a ‘Caesar’ in His Own Rome
The New York Times
By Emily Cochrane and Sharon LaFraniere
Aug. 9, 2018
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Judge T. S. Ellis III had dismissed the jury for the day, but he was not quite finished opining about what he saw as irrelevant and repetitive questioning of a witness in the financial fraud trial of Paul Manafort.

Standing up so as to loom even larger over the courtroom, he angrily confronted Greg D. Andres, the lead prosecutor.

“Look at me,” the judge demanded, slamming his hand on the wooden ledge. “When you look down, it’s as if to say, you know, that’s B.S., I don’t want to listen to any more from you.”

“Don’t look down. Don’t roll your eyes,” he told Mr. Andres.

And so for the second time that afternoon, the prosecutor had to try to convince the judge that he only looked down because otherwise, he said, he would “be yelled at again by the Court” for his facial expression when “I’m not doing anything wrong, but trying my case.”

Judge Ellis, 78, is the formidable ringmaster of the greatest show in the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va., demanding both precise questioning and a breakneck pace in the trial of Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman.

He has routinely broken in on questioning, limited admission of evidence and exhorted lawyers to “expedite” — all the while entertaining spectators with humorous asides about his age, his wife, his Navy past, his lack of an email address, the jury’s lunch menu, split infinitives and the noise produced by a machine intended to keep bench conferences from being overheard (like “the sound of waves crashing”).

An appointee of President Ronald Reagan, he has pushed the customary limits of judicial intervention so far that Mr. Andres at one point seemed to suggest the prosecution had grounds to appeal. After the prosecutor complained Monday about the number of times “your honor stops us and asks us to move on,” the judge declared that he would stand by the record.

“I will stand by the record, as well,” Mr. Andres responded.

“Then you will lose,” Judge Ellis said.
Whatever criticism he has faced does not seem to have fazed Judge Ellis at all in his conduct of Mr. Manafort’s trial, the first to consider charges stemming from the investigation led by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel.

“I am a Caesar in my own Rome,” he said at one point...
To the jurors, the judge could not be more solicitous, joking about the plain lunch menu (“You won’t find baked alaska”). At least the meal is free, he told the jurors on opening day, saying he hoped no one had a fleeting urge to “slit their wrists” because they had been unfortunate enough to be picked from the jury pool.

He has clearly reveled in his captive audience. “My hearing is not what it once was,” he said last week, pausing for a beat with comic effect. “Nothing is what it once was.” Born in Bogotá, Colombia, he took the opportunity during a sentencing to display his fluency in Spanish, questioning the defendant himself while an interpreter stood by.
During the Manafort trial, his exchanges with Mr. Andres have repeatedly escalated into barbed remarks and angry retorts — a tense dynamic that has riveted spectators.

“I’m never patient, but you must be,” Judge Ellis warned the prosecutor last week.

“No comment,” Mr. Andres said.

“That was a comment,” the judge said. “I have a long memory.”

When Mr. Andres was looking for a document, Judge Ellis suggested he was several steps ahead of him. “I didn’t need to have it. At least not as much as you do.”

He also expressed disappointment when Mr. Andres took over questioning from Uzo Asonye, an assistant federal prosecutor on Mr. Andres’s team. “I was hoping you would stick with that,” he said as Mr. Asonye ceded the floor to Mr. Andres...

“That’s a great question, judge,” Mr. Andres said Tuesday after the judge rephrased one of his questions to the prosecution’s marquee witness, Rick Gates. “Thank you.”

Judge Ellis’s response to the compliment was barbed, but only mildly. “They don’t pay me nearly as much as they pay you,” he said.


(37,157 posts)
12. No, Republicans choose conservatives, Democrats choose non-conservatives
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 08:25 AM
Mar 2019

Don't fall into the false-equivalence trap.

Don't fall into using the conservatives' framing. To them, "liberal" is a failure to be sufficiently conservative.


(51,536 posts)
14. Dems tend just appoint judges who follow the law.
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 01:07 PM
Mar 2019

The GOP appoints asshole bigots.

You can't deny that Dem appointed judges tend to be quite different than GOP appointed judges.


(4,448 posts)
15. oh come on
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 01:15 PM
Mar 2019

That's just fancy dancing that doesn't fool anyone but the person saying it.

Everybody knows that a "non-conservative" is 90% liberal. That's just for the general population.

When it comes to political appointments, that number rises to 100%


(37,157 posts)
18. "Everybody" does not know that. One side actively cultivates a farm team...
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 01:44 PM
Mar 2019

...of jurists with acceptably-conservative views, and strategically chooses younger jurists who will sit in these lifetime appointments for as many decades as possible. The other side has no equivalent, leading to a broader spread and more turnover. How often are those points brought up in discussions about the courts, especially in the general media?

The simple conservative/liberal dichotomy works in the conservatives' favor, allowing for lazy characterizations about "both sides" as if they were equally extreme. They're not.


(4,448 posts)
19. ok
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 01:54 PM
Mar 2019

I guess we can start calling ourselves "not-conservatives" and "not-Republicans"

Call me negative, but I have doubts it will catch on.


(37,157 posts)
22. Please refrain from taking my point to absurd extremes
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 03:55 PM
Mar 2019

Democrats will nominate centrists and liberals. Republicans will nominate conservatives exclusively, usually as hardline as they can manage. They have built a career pipeline for conservative jurists in order to help them do that.

I think highlighting that extremism is something that needs to be done at every opportunity, partoicularly when the general media environment favors lazy false equivalence.


(4,448 posts)
25. Respectfully, I thought the original point was a bit absurb.
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 05:43 PM
Mar 2019

most of us believe the conservatives appoint conservatives and liberals appoint liberals.

The notion that this isn't true is a bit absurb to me, hench why I illustrated it.

Heck the current SC bench is good example.


(37,157 posts)
5. Conservatives have made ideological "correctness" mandatory for...
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 05:59 AM
Mar 2019

...judges nominated by Republican presidents. Explicitly conservative groups like the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation provide the lists of potential nominees.

There is a dedicated, long-term conservative effort to "undo" court decisions that they don't like, from the ruling that there is an implicit right to privacy to the decisions that confirmed the New Deal was constitutional.

There is nothing equivalent on our side.

So yes, there are Reagan judges, Bush judges, and Trump judges. And conservatives will talk about Clinton on and Obama judges even though the only thing that really means is that those judges fail to be conservative operatives.


(11,885 posts)
6. This sentence given Manafort
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 06:29 AM
Mar 2019

Is proof of how some are above the rule of law by a judge giving some privileged treatment based on political biased decisions. Justice for all and fair is out the window when judges sentence people using their political bias towards their own. Just another example of how corrupted our system of justice can be at times. Putin did this in russia too. trump is politicizing our judicial system to use as a weapon for himself to use any way he wants for trump justice.


(22,976 posts)
9. Ideally, yes, but many judges no longer adhere to impartiality in real life.
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 07:29 AM
Mar 2019

Like the clearly right-wing biased Judge Ellis, for starters. He was marked as such back in August of last year.
The extraordinary bias of the judge in the Manafort trial
Washington Post
By Nancy Gertner
August 16, 2018
The performance of U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III in the trial of Paul Manafort on bank fraud and tax evasion charges has been decidedly unusual.

During the trial, Ellis intervened regularly, and mainly against one side: the prosecution. The judge's interruptions occurred in the presence of the jury and on matters of substance, not courtroom conduct. He disparaged the prosecution's evidence, misstated its legal theories, even implied that prosecutors had disobeyed his orders when they had not.



(10,491 posts)
17. Don't mistake partisanship for weirdness
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 01:19 PM
Mar 2019

Federal judges are weird.

I'm less concerned that he's a Reagan appointee than he is a 78 year old dude who has had this job for 32 freaking years. At this point, he's an echo chamber to himself.

32 years is a long-ass time to be in a powerful position where you can never be fired regardless of whatever strange ideas you are pushing.

Chin music

(23,002 posts)
26. Yes. I know.
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 05:45 PM
Mar 2019

We have to remind everybody when they blow off about it, bc it's the law. And, if a judge can't follow the law and makes rulings that are clearly partisan, then they should be up for impeachment.
It's such a pain in the ass to have to follow repubs around changing their diapers, but, I for one really adore being an American. We have such a wonderful country. It's worth it to keep pushing on all fronts. This will pass.

Silver Gaia

(4,542 posts)
11. I'm thinking it is only important to know that Ellis was appointed by Reagan because
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 08:20 AM
Mar 2019

at first, some wondered if he is a Trump appointee. He is not, so that line of hysteria was tamped down. Judge Ellis has been around a long time and his record shows that he has always been a RW nutjob judge. So, while this sentencing is abhorrent, and overall unusual, it is not really anything unusual for this particular judge. That's the second important thing that knowing he was appointed by Reagan tells us. He's not a RW nutjob because Reagan appointed him. He just IS that. Knowing it was Reagan gives us the scope of time and eliminates the fear of him being a Trump appointee (although he certainly could be, and likely is, a Trump supporter).


(26,108 posts)
13. Vinca may have the answer to this:
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 09:03 AM
Mar 2019
1. I'm wondering if, when Manafort was in the Reagan White House, he had anything at all to do
with the nominees for federal judgeships. Ellis was appointed by Reagan. One position Manafort held was an associate director of personnel matters. Ellis probably should have recused himself.



(10,491 posts)
16. I think people misapply political philosphies to criminal law.
Fri Mar 8, 2019, 01:15 PM
Mar 2019

Judges can have political leanings. And that matters at the appellate level for sure.

But individual federal judges at a district level are often driven more by their idiosnycracies than anything else.

Federal judges have a literal lifetime to push their own weird beliefs in whatever area that they want.

This judge is probably less a "Trump judge" than he is a judge who hates minimum sentences and also doesn't see white collar crime as that big of a deal.

Combine that with a near 70 year old defendant, and I'm guessing he thought, "Well I don't want this guy to die in prison."

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