RIAA Lawyer In Limewire Lawsuit Recommended As A Federal Judge

from the judicial-capture? dept

We've talked plenty about "regulatory capture," when people from industry shift back and forth into the federal government and help make the laws that impact the very industries they once took paychecks from (and likely will again in the future). But what about "judicial capture"? There was a lot of buzz recently about the former RIAA lobbyist who became a federal judge for the District Court in DC, and who is now ruling on copyright cases that could have an eventual impact on the RIAA. There may be some other similar situations coming up as well. Someone who prefers to remain anonymous pointed out that Senator Chuck Schumer recently recommended Katherine B. Forrest to serve as a judge in the SDNY district court. Among Forrest's recent cases? Representing the major record labels in their lawsuit against Limewire.

Now, this is not to say that Forrest wouldn't make a good judge. She very well might. This also isn't meant to single out Forrest. It's just that this particular situation, combined with the Howell situation, at least raises some questions about whether or not judicial bias is an issue. It's just not a topic that's discussed all that often. I would imagine that if she did become a judge, she would recuse herself from any RIAA related cases that might come her way. However, at a time when judges are becoming increasingly important in keeping things like copyright lawsuits from getting completely out of hand, shouldn't there at least be some exploration of whether or not judges' previous work experience might bias them in a particular direction?


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  1.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 1:00pm

    I gotta stop reading this stuff

    Its just sad how this country is being robbed by special interests, that have no interest in We The People.

     

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  2.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 1:01pm

    Judges are hard to predict. There have been a number of judges who seem to have a bias that is opposite of what people assumed when they were appointed. Sometimes you will find a hard-core prosecutor who is soft on criminals once behind the bench, or a public defender who becomes a hanging judge. The theory is that they saw the flaws and abuses that went on when they were an attorney.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2011 @ 1:03pm

    "However, at a time when judges are becoming increasingly important in keeping things like copyright lawsuits from getting completely out of hand, shouldn't there at least be some exploration of whether or not judges' previous work experience might bias them in a particular direction?"

    Do you have evidence that judges are being appointed without any exploration into their previous work? "Shoudn't" suggest that. Perhaps you meant to write "is there exploration of whether or not judges' previous work experience might biast them in a particular direction."

     

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    Lesath (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 1:04pm

    It's almost like they aren't even trying to be covert about it anymore. How long until a bench seat on the Supreme Court is for sale?

     

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  5.  
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    umccullough (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    Re:

    The theory is that they saw the flaws and abuses that went on when they were an attorney.

    Reminds me of this:

    Fletcher: Your honor, I object!
    Judge: Why?
    Fletcher: Because it's devastating to my case!
    Judge: Overruled.
    Fletcher: Good call!

     

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  6.  
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    Willton, Apr 19th, 2011 @ 1:17pm

    Um, Senate hearings anyone?

    However, at a time when judges are becoming increasingly important in keeping things like copyright lawsuits from getting completely out of hand, shouldn't there at least be some exploration of whether or not judges' previous work experience might bias them in a particular direction?

    Have you never watched C-SPAN? What do you think the Senate does when it holds a hearing for each judicial candidate and peppers him/her with questions? Do you think the Senators are probing the candidate about favorite colors?

     

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  7.  
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    C.T., Apr 19th, 2011 @ 1:19pm

    Are IP lawyers more biased? Or, should we ban all lawyers from becoming judges?

    Would you be more concerned about an IP attorney becoming a judge than someone who was a tax attorney, an anti-trust attorney, or a criminal prosecutor becoming a judge? Each of those areas of the law place judges in positions great responsibility, over matters that many view as "getting completely out of hand."

    It seems that you must either be suggesting that (1)IP attorneys are more prone than other types of attorneys to bias or that (2) attorneys should be disqualified from becoming judges. I don't think either of those propositions seems very defensible.

     

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  8.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Um, Senate hearings anyone?

    Why not? IT's more interesting than watching paint dry. Barely.

     

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    .-=RWW=-. (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    page 2?

    Where's - the rest of the story - ? Is there a person, an agency, a department, an email address to post the concerns of the citezins. If I object, can I direct that to a specific and productive receipient? Or - is that all there is? Then let's keep dancing.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Are IP lawyers more biased? Or, should we ban all lawyers from becoming judges?

    (1)IP attorneys are more prone than other types of attorneys to bias - Absolutely so. criminal prosecutors dont (usually) have a large group dumping tons of money on them. There is no weed/cocaine lobby for example.

    If that tax attorney was taking huge sums of money from lets say the Federal reserve, and had a very strong bias to increase/decrease taxation, then yes, I would be against that person becoming a judge, for appearances only. He may be able to put aside his bias and be able to judge whats in front of him based on facts presented, but IMHO, highly unlikely.

    (2) attorneys should be disqualified from becoming judges. - Absolutely no, but, they should be barred from hearing cases where there is an obvious conflict of interest.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2011 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: Are IP lawyers more biased? Or, should we ban all lawyers from becoming judges?

    I'm sorry, where/how are IP attorneys able to get tons of money dumped on them? This is highly relevant to my interests!

    If you're talking about the fact that IP attorneys, like all attorneys, (usually) get paid for their work by their clients, then I'm not sure how that makes them more or less biased than other attorneys.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 2:13pm

    Re:

    How long until a bench seat on the Supreme Court is for sale?

    It's been for sale for a very long time (at least since early of last century.) Presidents who have justices die or retire from the Supreme Court replace them, and they usually choose justices in their best interest (and their best interest is usually the interest of those who put them in power to begin with.) District judges go through the same process as the Justices of the Supreme Court, where district judges are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.

    Sure, Justices have to be vetted by the Senate, which of course work their best to try and approve justices that meet their best interests too. But in the end, they are all bought and paid for by someone. The good thing is that, for the most part, the system works because there are too many chiefs and not enough indians...the competing conflicts in interest keep the process neutral. But that doesn't mean that it is perfect (and it never will be so long as humans are involved in the process.) Because there is less of an impact with district judges, there is likely to be less scrutiny and thus more people get through...but since the RIAA/MPAA owns most of the Senate (and at least one person in the White House,) it isn't surprising that the normal conflict wasn't there to vet this individual.

     

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    Stuart, Apr 19th, 2011 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Are IP lawyers more biased? Or, should we ban all lawyers from becoming judges?

    I most definitely think that judges and attorneys should not mix.
    We do not want judge to come from or to go to law firms.
    While it may be convenient to use lawyers as judges it in no way should be done.
    Judges should come from outside.
    No police, no lawyers, no politicians.

     

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  14.  
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    drkkgt (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 3:14pm

    Re: I gotta stop reading this stuff

    They do have interest in We The People. it's just that the "people" are the corporations not the us ants who toil.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Are IP lawyers more biased? Or, should we ban all lawyers from becoming judges?

    "No police, no lawyers, no politicians"

    Nobody who knows anything about the law.

     

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  16.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Are IP lawyers more biased? Or, should we ban all lawyers from becoming judges?


    It seems that you must either be suggesting that (1)IP attorneys are more prone than other types of attorneys to bias or that (2) attorneys should be disqualified from becoming judges. I don't think either of those propositions seems very defensible


    I made no such suggestion. I'm not sure where you're reading that. I simply pointed out that there should be greater concern about *any* judge and the biases they bring to the bench with them, using this particular one as an example.

     

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  17.  
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    umccullough (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Are IP lawyers more biased? Or, should we ban all lawyers from becoming judges?

    Certainly nobody who has been to law school... that's ridiculous!

     

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  18.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 19th, 2011 @ 5:37pm

    Re: Are IP lawyers more biased? Or, should we ban all lawyers from becoming judges?

    You seem to suggest that a) Nobody should be concerned and b) the public should not watch those things.

    We could improve those things with more transparency, every appointed position in the government should come with full disclosure of the pass from the candidate to that position and the public should have access to it.

    The public in turn should start tracking those positions, and compiling a history of the men and women that occupy those things.

    Those positions are the weeds in the government that need to be pruned, to keep it honest.

     

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  19.  
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    Thomas (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 5:41pm

    Not a big surprise..

    but I didn't realize that federal judges could be bought too. I know that it's easy enough to buy Congressmen, but not federal judges.

    Since the RIAA/MPAA haven't gotten the decisions they want from the federal judges, the obvious thing to do is simply put their own lackeys into federal judgeships. This will certainly help them in the future.

    And people think that our government is not corrupt? hahahaha

     

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  20.  
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    Thomas (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 5:43pm

    Re:

    It won't be long before a supreme court justice can be bought too. The days are long gone when we can expect judges to be honest.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2011 @ 7:11pm

    I would imagine that if she did become a judge, she would recuse herself from any RIAA related cases that might come her way.

    Wishful thinking, I'm afraid. As if their lobbying laws into effect wasn't bad enough, now we'll have RIAA lawyers arguing RIAA law before RIAA judges.

     

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  22.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Re:

    We have Scalia on the bench along with Judge Roberts.

    If you want to see "Originalism of Constitutional Law", look no further.

    I hate to say it, but there needs to be "updates" to the Constitution to remain relevant. Both of those judges seem not to want to rule ANYTHING unconstitutional.

    Business patents? (Shirked duties)
    Harper vs RIAA? (Didn't want to hear it)
    Free Speech for the Rich? (That's what they want to hear)

    I don't want to sound overly negative, but the high court system seems to come off rather conservatively. I just hope that I can be proven wrong with the advent of time.

     

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  23.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Um, Senate hearings anyone?

    When Elena Kagan was in the running for the Supreme Court, the questioning was beyond ridiculous. The questions had little if anything to do with practical reasons to have her as a Supreme Court and was more about her political affiliation. In the end, the ones that voted no would have voted that way because she was a Democrat rather than any true look into wrong doing on her part.

    The same thing happened with Sotomayer, who basically talked without saying anything. But once they are elected by majority vote, is there a review process they have to uphold? Is there something that says Supreme Justices have to be voted again into their position?

    There could be ways to uphold justice in SCOTUS or even the federal review process. But it seems more and more, the process is upheld by regulatory capture.

     

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  24.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Are IP lawyers more biased? Or, should we ban all lawyers from becoming judges?

     

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  25.  
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    Rekrul, Apr 19th, 2011 @ 10:58pm

    I would imagine that if she did become a judge, she would recuse herself from any RIAA related cases that might come her way.

    Yes, I'm sure that will happen...

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Are IP lawyers more biased? Or, should we ban all lawyers from becoming judges?

    Hmm...that didn't point me to where I can get that ton of money dumped on me.

    Oh well.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 2:33pm

    "combined with the Howell situation, at least raises some questions about whether or not judicial bias is an issue. It's just not a topic that's discussed all that often."

    Judicial Bias is one of the biggest topics of the day, I am all for "Judicial Bias" meted out by judges biased towards the intent of the founders of the Constitution of the United States.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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