In August, US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that New York Police Department policy called stop-and-frisk violates the constitutional rights of minorities. The NYPD would stop and frisk anyone they deemed suspicious, but Scheindlin said that the majority of those stopped were black or Hispanic and that they would not have been stopped if they were white. She said that it violates their Fourth Amendment rights of minorities.
Ray Kelly, NYPD Commissioner responded to the judge’s ruling, claiming that it would reverse the downward trend in gun related crimes. He reported that about 10% of the 5 million stop-and-frisk resulted in arrests and that the policy had saved lives and reduced gun related crimes. Kelly’s premonition is already coming to fruition. Since the judge’s ruling placed a squelch on the stop-and-risk, shootings have increased by 13% and the number of gunshot victims has also increased by 9%.
In a shocking and rare move, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that Judge Scheindlin conduct on the bench went against the Code of Conduct of United States Judges. In their decision, they removed Scheindlin from the case because her appearance of impartiality had been compromised. In so doing, they also stopped Scheindlin’s orders requiring the New York City Police Department to change their entire stop-and-frisk program. Scheindlin had also ordered a federal monitor to watch the NYPD for any possible violations of racial profiling which was a very uncommon practice since the lawsuit was a civil. I’m not sure how the new ruling will affect the monitor, but I would think that it would nullify the order requiring such.
It’s rare to see a federal judge receive this kind of discipline. There are a number of federal judges that should also receive the same kind of discipline for ruling on personal agendas instead of on the law.
However, there was one statement in the article I read on this that bothered me.
“Though they are lifetime appointees, this is behavior unbecoming of a federal judge.”
This is incorrect. The US Constitution does not say that federal judges, including those on the Supreme Court are lifetime appointments. In fact, Article 3, Section 1 of the US Constitution states:
“The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.” [Emphasis mine]
This means that when a judge’s behavior is no longer considered good, as in the case of Scheindlin, they are subject to removal from the bench. I just wish the system would read the Constitution and under this and start acting upon it. Judges who rule on sharia law instead of American law should be removed from the bench. Judges who rule in favor of homosexuality because they are gay themselves, should also be removed from the bench and their decisions overturned. If this became common practice in the judicial system, I bet more judges would start ruling on the letter of the law instead of their own agenda and what they want the law to say. I would urge all of you to bring this constitutional point to the attention of your US Representative and Senator and urge them to act on the Constitution.