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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Abramson Fiasco Argued at Supreme Court

This from the late afternoon edition of the Daily Business Review- a detailed article by Bud Newman addressing the constitutional crisis facing the Supreme Court in whether to seat Bill Abramson.

We offer on the blog just some excerpts from the thoughtful article....

A skeptical Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on whether Gov. Charlie Crist must sign a judicial commission for Palm Beach Circuit Judge-elect William Abramson even though his law license has been suspended for 91 days. “It seems completely absurd, and I think the general public would find it ludicrous, that someone who can’t practice law” can still be a judge, Justice Barbara Pariente said. However, she added, “We’re not dealing with [Florida Bar] policy, we’re looking at the Constitution” and what it requires or prohibits.

Tallahassee attorney Mark Herron of Messer Caparello & Self, who argued Abramson’s case, conceded to Pariente that “it may be absurd” for Abramson to preside in a courtroom when he is temporarily ineligible to practice law but said the Constitution does not bar a suspended lawyer from being a judge. He said it only requires a circuit judge to have been a member of The Florida Bar for the previous five years — a requirement Abramson meets.
“Our case is Abramson is eligible,” Herron told the court, citing Bar rules. Chief Justice Peggy Quince asked Herron whether there is “something kind of screwy about this situation” in which a suspended lawyer might still be a judge. Herron agreed with Quince but quickly added that “I’m not saying it. The Constitution is saying it.”

Attorney Stephen Grimes of Holland & Knight’s Tallahassee office — one of two former Florida justices arguing for The Bar — acknowledged the state Constitution does not have specific language barring a lawyer in bad standing with The Bar from becoming a judge. However, he argued the Supreme Court has ruled in other cases that the constitutional language is used “unless you reach an unreasonable or an absurd result.”

Justice Charles Wells appeared to agree. If Abramson’s commission is signed, he said, “You would be confronted with what would be a very harmful and absurd situation for the judiciary.”
It was Charles Dickens who once wrote that sometimes 'the law is an ass.' Here it most certainly is. There once was a time when you did not have to be a lawyer to be a judge in Florida, but that was eons ago. So let's employ common sense and simply say that Abramson has a right to serve on the bench the moment his suspension is up and he is reinstated, assuming it is within the time parameters of his term that he was elected to serve. The Governor has to appoint a placeholder in his stead. (Of course I can see a subsequent argument being made that when the race was called and the trumpet sounded, he was unqualified to be at the gate and take the seat, and thus it is lost forever- but that is an argument for another day.)

This constitutional dilemma is quirky for sure, but not beyond judicial interpretation. Some would say it is not all that hard to figure out. You have to be a member in good standing just to be a traffic hearing officer or magistrate. It is a logical and reasonable extension that a constitutional interpretation of the 'five year rule' incorporates the principle that you must be a member of the Bar in good standing to be a judge. Laws are read in para materia with their companion statutes and legislative intentions. The Court has to give breadth to the spirit of the law as well as its letters.

What is your opinion?


  1. My opinion is that there is too much apathy, but who cares?

  2. A Traffic AttorneyJanuary 27, 2009 at 9:31 PM

    that is what Bill Abramson was. and he is now a circuit court judge. oh my, i see that palm beach is even more of a mess than broward. but is it cool that he got elected or did he just get co-opted?



    CASE NO. SC09-3


    COMES NOW JOHN B. THOMPSON, on his own behalf, and moves this court for leave to file an amicus curiae brief herein on behalf of Judge Abramson, stating:
    1. Thompson can prove to this court that the assault by The Florida Bar upon Judge Abramson is part of a pattern of activity that seeks to protect friends and clients of Florida Bar Governors and harm those who are perceived, largely because of Bar Gubernatorial paranoia, to be a threat to “judicial independence. “ The ABA’s McKay Commission Report, of which this Court is apparently unaware, explains fully how Bar structures such as Florida’s feed and enable this paranoia and turn bar discipiline into what the Palm Beach Post has recently correctly called “revenge politics.” Thompson is happy to explain the ABA’s findings and warnings to this Court. Sitting on that ABA Commission was none other than The Florida Bar’s own #2 officer, John Berry, who now presides over The Florida Bar’s pell-mell repudiation of his own ABA Commission Report. Apparently Mr. Abramson’s lawyer doesn’t know about the ABA McKay Report either, which makes the undersigned’s involvement herein salutary.
    2. Because the undersigned movant is also busy preparing his petition for writ of certiorari to overturn the Florida Supreme Court’s relatedly improper order by which it illegally permanently disbarred him, after denying him his absolute right to petition this same Court for review of the Bar Referee’s fraudulent Report, he asks that the amicus brief itself be submitted only upon the granting of this motion. Movant has enough to do stemming from this same Bar’s other criminal acts without preparing, uselessly, another filing that will disappear into Court Clerk Tom Hall’s “Miscellaneous File,” never to be seen again. So, upon a granting of this motion, the brief will arrive shortly thereafter.
    3. At least five of the points to be made in the undersigned’s amicus brief are as follows, and not necessarily in this order:
    a. There is a documented history of The Florida Bar’s subversion of the disciplinary process, according even to a poll taken of its own members by Bar President Miles McGrane. This is simply the latest installment.
    b. Justice Pariente’s comment, reported in the news coverage yesterday, of this Court‘s hearing on this matter, is the unintentionally funniest quotation of the new year. Justice Pariente states, “"It does seem completely absurd and the general public would find it ludicrous that a person who can't practice law could serve as a judge.” In fact, the undersigned’s experience, over 33 years and shared by tens of thousands of other lawyers in this state, is that it is quite often the “person who can’t practice law” who becomes a judge. Examples: Broward’s Larry “The Crying Judge” Seidlin, Miami-Dade’s Dava “The Oathless” Tunis, Miami-Dade’s Richard “Here’s My Verdict, So Now Let’s Have a Trial” Friedman. Judge after judge, most lawyers in this state know, climb onto the bench to avoid practicing a profession at which they could not make a living because they are incompetent. The list is quite long of persons who can’t practice law and thus become judges. This Court knows this as well as anyone, and yet Justice Pariente has unintentionally put her finger on the absurdity of The Bar’s going after a lawyer who has been elected a Judge, because, The Bar, says, he can’t practice law.” How funny.
    c. More importantly, does this Court not know that one of the requirements of remaining a judge in Florida is that one can’t practice law”? Judicial Canon 5 G states: “A Judge shall not practice law.” So what is this sudden concern that Judge Abramson can’t practice law? NOT A SINGLE JUDGE OR JUSTICE IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA IS ALLOWED TO PRACTICE LAW! How does this Court not know that?
    d. Former Justice Harding has improperly insinuated himself into this process, solemnly warning this Court, “We are dealing with public trust and competence of a branch of government, trust and confidence in the judiciary." Really? So we are to allow this Supreme Court to ignore the clear words of the law that say all a judge has to be is a member of the Bar, which Judge Abramson is, and supplant that standard with an extra-legal standard that The Bar and Bar President Jay White’s law partner have come up with in order to help a political crony and client of White’s law firm? How does turning the law in Florida into a political plaything enhance “the public’s trust and confidence in the judiciary?” Maybe Justice Harding would have us go all the way and just auction judgeships off to the highest bidders, preferably friends of Bar Governors in order to really jack up public confidence in an “independent judiciary.” Justice Harding doesn’t want the rule of law. He wants the rule of the Bar Governors, the public be damned. Their votes be damned.
    e. Right now, before the US Supreme Court, is a case set for oral argument, to determine whether elected state judges should be able to take compromising money from litigants before them. Chief Justice Quince of this Court has sided with those who say “no” to that corruption of the democratic process.
    And now this same Justice Quince is possibly going to retreat from that pro-democracy, pro-integrity position and tell Judge Abramson that because Bar President Jay White’s law partner and fellow Governors want to thwart the democratic process in order to reward a client, that he, a duly elected Judge, must be removed just because a politically-connected Board of Bar Governors wants that result? How can Chief Justice Quince stand for integrity in the U.S. Supreme Court case and possible subvert the integrity of the judiciary and the electoral process in this case before her now?
    WHEREFORE, since the undersigned has experience with the corrupted Florida Bar and since no one has yet addressed, as far as he knows, the simple fact, as noted above, that NO JUDGES CAN PRACTICE LAW IN THIS STATE, he moves this court for leave to file an amicus brief herein. The Court could do worse. It could listen to The Bar and its lawyers.
    I HEREBY CERTIFY that a copy hereof has been provided to all parties of record this January 28, 2009.

    John B. Thompson, Amicus Curiae Movant
    5721 Riviera Drive
    Coral Gables, Florida 33146, 305-666-4366

  4. Corrected the spelling of Governor. sorry about that. Jack

  5. John B. Thompson
    Juris Doctor and Attorney
    5721 Riviera Drive
    Coral Gables, Florida 33146
    Admitted to Practice in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, Not Admitted in State of Florida

    January 30, 2009

    Chief Justice Quince and Associate Justices
    Florida Supreme Court
    500 South Duval Street
    Tallahassee, Florida 32399 Via Fax and e-mail

    Re: Cancer

    I informed The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors two years ago that I fight on against The Bar’s illegal collaboration with the porn-to-kids industry in large part because of the encouragement to do so of my wife’s sister, Pamela Claire of Kansas City. For twenty years, Pam has been the most abiding enthusiast for my efforts to protect her and other parents’ children from the very perjurers with whom you and your Bar collaborate.

    Pamela has had breast cancer for many years. My struggle, compared with hers, is easy, yet she urges me on. We heard yesterday from Pamela that her cancer has spread to the rest of her body, including her spine. Her struggle continues. She is very brave. How could I be anything less in light of her example?

    I don’t ask for your pity, either for her or for me. Pam doesn’t ask “Why me?” She asks, “Why not me?” Therefore, why not me as well? Somebody has to destroy this cancerous tumor called The Florida Bar.

    What you should feel toward me is fear. I’m not giving up this fight, which is now in the U.S. Supreme Court and also in the form of a voter initiative to amend the Florida Constitution. I have other tools as well, just as modern medicine has a quiver full of arrows to pierce cancer.
    Back when I got started in my efforts against the porn-to-kids industry, I worked with Andrea Dworkin, a lesbian feminist. Ms. Dworkin testified to the Attorney
    General’s Commisson on Pornography as follows:

    “In this country where I live, there is a trafficking in pornography that exploits mentally and physically disabled women, women who are maimed; there is amputee pornography, a trade in women who have been maimed in that way, as if that is a sexual fetish for men. In this country where I live, there is a trade in racism as a form of sexual pleasure, so that the plantation is presented as a form of sexual gratification for the black woman slave who asks please to be abused, please to be raped, please to be hurt. Black skin is presented as if it is a female genital, and all the violence and the abuse and the humiliation that is in general directed against female genitals is directed against the black skin of women in pornography.”

    My accusers, Chief Justice Quince, are the lawyers who sought to protect Howard Stern and the Grand Theft Auto video games. Whined Stern, with this quotation on the cover of the book that lampoons The Bar: “This lunatic lawyer in Miami got me off the air.”
    I got Stern fined by the FCC because of this aired quotation:

    “Ever bang any famous nigger chicks? What do they smell like? Watermelons?”
    One of the “comedy bits” I sent the FCC was Stern’s Female Amputee Beauty Pageant. The contestants described, on the air, how they would lubricate their stumps and place them into the anuses of men to achieve orgasm.

    Teenaged boys playing the Grand Theft Auto games can have forced sex with black women in a Gentlemen’s Club and then kill them. Ted Bundy would be amazed.

    Andrea Dworkin “got” what I was doing. You, a black woman, who sits atop a terror organization run by white good ole boys, obviously do not. How sad for you. This very moment the Supreme Court is poised to deny judicial office to Judge Abramson because his political opponent is a client of Bar President Jay White’s law firm.

    The Bible tells us that “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” If you don’t fear Him, then fear me. Perseverance in the face of adversity is a Midwest thing. You wouldn’t understand.

    My dear sister-in-law Pamela has cancer. The Florida judicial system has cancer as well, and the tumor is The Florida Bar. I intend to cut it out. I can do no less.

    Sincerely, Jack Thompson