Having been declared unfit for Judicial Office in July, 1998, because, according to the per curium opinion, I put my own interests above that of society, lacked judicial temperament and violated the law, I remove my name from consideration to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.
In addition to my having been declared legally incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial, along with allegations I was a domestic abuser, racist, sexist and insane, I would refuse to serve even if I were nominated and approved; the process would be too painful. I have been beaten and abused quite enough. Not tough or thick skinned, anymore. The establishment won. It destroyed my dreams, my legal and judicial career; took my Mother, home and place in the community; and ruined any chance I could do social justice, leaving the world better than I found it. Find someone else, Mr. President, I have been made quite miserable enough.
And, this time, during the interviews, when my removal came up, I would tell you honestly what I did and what I think of the Criminal Justice System, unrestrained by the hope I would have been reprimanded and put back on the bench when I kept my mouth shut and the hope I would get the exalted job on the Court.
Sadly, Judge Kaye just died and I never got to ask her if she read the record and really believed the finding that she based my removal on. Judge Lippman lives, as do Judge Ciparick and my erstwhile lawyer. One day, maybe I will find out what happened to me. 20 years, almost to the day, and, yes, I have not gotten over it and never will.
My qualifications, Mr. President, make me the ideal choice for the job. I would bring life experience to the interviews. When I raised the issue during my misconduct hearings, the Commissar ridiculed me for my “morning milk,” “legal realism” approach to the job. I was against mass incarceration, putting drug users in jail and exacting fines from those who had no money and no jobs. I refused to set silly bails asked by recently admitted with large law school debts ADAs reading off cue cards handed to them by Supervisors in lofty offices making more than I was, preferring to find alternatives based on community ties. But, alas, that caused me to be denominated as “anti-prosecutorial.” Now, who knows.
Twenty-five years ago, when I was still somebody, I met Justice Scalia at a Judge’s reception at New York County Lawyers. I was a NYC Criminal Court Judge, a Dinkin’s appointee, sitting in the Bronx, moving the calendar, deciding motions and conducting trials. I asked him, after introducing myself, if he thought that sitting in a trial court doing the work most judge do would have made him a better judge. The handlers gasped, as he sipped his wine and responded (don’t remember exactly due to my then anxiety and present aging brain, but close enough): “… don’t know how you do it. In a millisecond, you make a decision to admit or deny and then years later, I get a case which I discuss for 6 months with three of the smartest people to graduate from law school and decide whether you were right or wrong.”