Since I’m sure this series will have plenty to explore after tonight’s broadcast on public television and Saturday’s meeting in Brandon, I thought I’d better post an installment that’s been sitting in draft form for a couple weeks.
One of the always popular lies from the supporters of the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.) popped up again on their ever-changing web site. (Seems the changes tend to coincide with opponents pointing out misstatements and falsehoods it contains.) Here’s the oft-repeated but false saw that continues to rear its head: “A judge cannot be sued for doing his or her job, however unpopular the ruling.” Not only is that false, it can happen repeatedly.
As demonstrated in a prior post, it is entirely possible for a judge whose ruling has been affirmed on appeal to be the subject of a J.A.I.L. complaint. If the losing party still disagrees, they need only file a complaint with the special grand jury. Because J.A.I.L. requires that “[a]ll allegations in the complaint shall be liberally construed in favor of the complainant,” says the special grand jury can ignore “any other contrary statute” and gives itself precedence “in any case of conflicts with statute [or] case law,” the grand jury can wholly disregard the rulings or statutes supporting the judge’s decision. Thus, if seven members of the grand jury don’t like the result — even if it is proper under the law — they can authorize a lawsuit against the judge(s).
Yet it doesn’t necessarily end there. Now let’s assume suit is brought against the judge(s) and after hearing the evidence and applicable law, the jury rules against the complainant. He or she appeals and the Supreme Court upholds the jury verdict (assuming none of them were named as defendants because they affirmed the prior decision). Guess what? The complainant can now go back to the grand jury and file a complaint against the judge(s) who sat on the lawsuit against the first judge(s). But it goes beyond that.
As discussed before, since J.A.I.L. says the term judge includes “all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity,” included in its scope are not only judges but individuals who participate in the judicial process, such as grand and petit jurors and witnesses. That’s right, at any step in the process a disgruntled person can invoke J.A.I.L. to go after the judge, the lawyers, the jurors and even those who testified. All he or she needs to do is claim these individuals acted in “deliberate disregard of material facts.” And this can go on for as long as the special grand jury allows. No on E refers to this as the “Cascading Lawsuit effect,” a very apt description.
So, when J.A.I.L.ers tell you a judge can’t be sued for doing his or her job, that’s a lie. The truth is J.A.I.L. will let people do whatever the grand jury allows them to do and even average citizens can be attacked for participating in the system. Yet these citizens will have no recourse. Why? Because the people who claim immunity is so horrible made sure their measure gave the grand jury and those associated with it immunity “civilly, criminally, or [for] contempt.”
One defeats the fanatic precisely by not becoming a fanatic oneself, but on the contrary by using one’s intelligence.