Most likely anyone perceiving a need for sweeping reform of America’s legal system lacks an “acceptable opinion”. How tragic it is when even these patriots stifle debate about the optimal course of legal reform in America. Those convinced it must unfold “Tea Party” or “Occupy”-style accordingly shelf National Forum On Judicial Accountability (NFOJA) and its thoughtful quest for “Citizen Panels On Judicial Misconduct”. Rather than reasonably support this and similar lawful plans for self-empowerment, many grassroots legal reform advocates seem content to leave America’s legal system intact while somehow forcing it to produce fair outcomes.
Dismissing NFOJA as too complex, too time-consuming, etc. may be a “smart way” of doing many things. But promptly vindicating people victimized by entrenched abuses of America’s legal system does not appear to be among them. Noam Chomsky, or at least the above quote attributed to him suggests why.
Recall that in 2007, the prestigious anti-corruption coalition Transparency International, confirmed that for various reasons “(i)t is . . . crucial that the transparency of the judiciary be continuously scrutinized . . .” Unfortunately it is far from clear that anyone perceiving the need for such intense scrutiny of America’s judiciary has an “acceptable opinion”. Nonetheless, lively debate has become acceptable about the related impact of “judicial elections -vs- merit selection” and, to a lesser extent, “judicial activism” in America.
Interestingly, America’s judiciary is quite transparent with its regular rejection of nearly all allegations that one or more from its ranks have been unethical. Historically, the Establishment is excellent in making clear that anyone suggesting the contrary lacks an “acceptable opinion”, whether he or she is a state legislator, member of Congress, or an average Joe or Jane. So attempts to spark lively debate about the extent of judicial misconduct and corruption in America tend to fail.
Though it may cite or weigh-in on specific cases, NFOJA is not generally focused on actual or alleged instances of judicial misdeeds. Rather than lively debate about the extent of judicial misconduct and corruption in America, NFOJA tends to promote dialogue about the wisdom (or folly) and lawfulness (or unconstitutionality) of judicial self-policing.
True, an opinion that judicial misconduct and corruption are widespread in America is as unacceptable as contending that America’s judiciary should not be final arbiter of its own integrity. But the former is defense orientated while NFOJA is an offensive measure. It strives to optimize the decision-making and policing powers of average Americans with regard to their legal system. In that sense it is meant to be preemptive and an assurance that corrective measures will be effective.
NFOJA contends that the rule of law is best preserved in America through optimal participation by all Americans in lawyer disciplinary matters, state judicial ethics enforcement, and the general oversight of federal judges. This solution-orientated approach avoids premising the need for major reform on the reality or prospect of rampant misconduct among lawyers and judges. Rather than fixate on one-sided attempts to “expose” unethical conduct or prove its pervasiveness, NFOJA focuses on restoring the balance of power between America’s judiciary and its sovereign citizens; a balance lost when judges essentially control all government processes for evaluating their conduct.
NFOJA’s Vision of Optimal Participation:
Lawyer Disciplinary Matters - NFOJA promotes enactment of special procedures, including but not limited to jury trials, triggered by charges against a lawyer for supposedly inappropriate remarks about a judge. This judicial whistleblower protection frees ethical lawyers to zealously police all aspects of America’s legal system. For the proposed legislation, Click Here
State Judicial Ethics Enforcement - NFOJA promotes vesting randomly selected, adequately trained, rotating groups of private citizens with responsibility for discipline of state judges. For the current draft of proposed legislation, Click Here: Summary / Full Proposal
General Oversight of Federal Judges - NFOJA is developing a program by which all petitions for certiorari rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court would be systematically distributed to law schools for consideration by law students. The participating students would address the "cert- worthiness" of rejected cases, much like a school law review publication operates. In the process, conflicts, enforcement, and public policy gaps in federal law could be addressed.
NFOJA’s Corporate Philosophy: Shoring up American courts entails both avidly championing and vigilantly chastening the country’s judiciary.