Appellate Circuit

A Dear Senator Letter. The Senate Committee’s Judicial Nominations Hearing on July 29, 2020 Was Wholly Inadequate and Absurd for Lifetime Appointments

All rights secured to citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous Judiciary.

LIT COMMENTARY

The Judiciary is Not Trusted By the People

“The trust and faith in the federal judiciary is at an all-time low. Currently, the majority of federal judges are violating their judicial oath, the United States Constitution and do not follow the rule of law. This absurd hearing only increases the people’s distrust in the current appointment process.”

August 6, 2020

Hon. Dianne Feinstein
Ranking Member
Senate Judiciary Committee
152 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510

Via Email; senator@feinstein.senate.gov

Dear Ranking Member Feinstein

JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS; 29 JULY, 2020, INCLUDING AILEEN MERCEDES CANNON, FLORIDA

We refer to the hearing for the five judicial nominees on Wednesday, 29th July, 2020 and write to express our agreement with your concerns as documented in the video [starting at 50:33 mins] and supported by the Chairman and Senator Blumenthal [starting at 51.12 mins]. Namely remote conferencing rather than in-person hearing(s) is wholly inadequate when appointing lifetime federal judges.

The Conferencing Was Inadequate for a Lifetime Judicial Appointment

Firstly, the video conferencing itself was fraught with technical issues and was not conducive to such an important hearing. Secondly, our interest as concerned citizens in these judicial nominations is explicit, especially as the current sitting President seems eager to make as many judicial nominations as possible, implementing a ‘quantity over quality’ standard, which is undesirable for such an important position which affects so many during a lifetime of tenure on the bench.

Aileen Mercedes Cannon

That said, our  primary interest in the July 29th hearing was specific. The nomination of Aileen Mercedes Cannon. Ms. Cannon will, if appointed, be replacing ‘retiring’ Senior Judge Kenneth A. Marra, S.D. Fl. District Court.  The hearing was our first opportunity to view and hear from Ms. Cannon, who barely scraped together the 12 year practice requirement (by the ABA) for such a nomination. We strongly believe she lacks the necessary experience and also when considering the busy and high profile cases on the docket at any given time at the S.D. Florida District Court where she would work.

We were more than surprised as to how little [a remotely visible] Ms. Cannon was involved in this hearing. On review of the video of the hearing, the following events took place which included Ms. Cannon;

  • Starting at 31:53 mins the Chairman informs Senators Rubio and Scott could not be present at the hearing, remotely or otherwise to introduce Aileen Cannon. He advises in the alternative that the two absent Senators have provided written statements in support of Ms Cannon.
  • Starting at 37:17 mins, the Chairman swears in Ms. Cannon and she then introduces herself, including a lengthy family history. This concluded her first visible involvement which ends at 40:57 mins.
  • Senator Blumenthal asks a general question re Brown v Board of Education (to the five nominees), which Ms. Cannon answered in the affirmative.
  • Senator Hirono asked a couple of general questions (to the five nominees) if any had been charged with any type of sexual misconduct. Ms. Cannon answered in the negative.
  • Senator Blackburn asked one general question regarding the First Amendment and which Ms. Cannon answered briefly from 1:13:34 – 1:14:10.

The hearing ended abruptly with no other direct or general questions to Ms. Cannon. One could not possibly decide if Ms. Cannon or indeed any or all of the nominees are ready for the role to which they have been nominated as the bare-bones hearing was over before it really started.

In conclusion, the proceedings were completely absurd and entirely ineffective.

Requested Relief

The hearing should be annulled and rescheduled at a time when the Senate and the Nominees can attend the hearing in-person.

The Judiciary is Not Trusted By the People

The trust and faith in the federal judiciary is at an all-time low. Currently, the majority of federal judges are violating their judicial oath, the United States Constitution and do not follow the rule of law. This absurd hearing only increases the people’s distrust in the current appointment process.

Case Study; Judges Luck and Lagoa (11th Cir.)

For example, if we look at the [Trump] appointments of Judges Luck and Lagoa in 2019 to the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, they both admitted at a Federalist Society meeting in early 2020[1] that the confirmation process was super-fast. Judges Robert Luck[2] and Barbara Lagoa[3] were formerly justices on the Florida Supreme Court.

Less than a year into their tenure, both these judges have question marks about their judicial integrity – and it was this very committee that wrote the damning letters to each Judge Luck[4] and Lagoa.[5]

In relation to Judge Luck, there are more questionable acts which require a summary background. It concerns oral argument and the subsequent unpublished and revised opinion in the case of Regions Bank v. Kaplan, No. 18-14010 (11th Cir. Mar. 19, 2020).

This is a convoluted case history but the facts which concern Judge Luck and indeed his fellow panel Judges, including Chief Judge William Pryor and Judge Jill Pryor are very specific. They address the responsibility of ‘black robe’ judges to report fraud by attorneys before them.

The attorneys for Messrs. Kaplan (and in effect former Congressman Bennett) were co-conspirators to fraud. The issue which concerns the most is the 3-panel effectively “laughed it off” with a warning at the oral argument and after newly appointed Judge Luck (who moved from the Florida Supreme Court no less) roasted counsel with the undeniable evidence.

The evidence presented by the lower court judge concluded that the law firm knowingly conspired with the Kaplans’ to ‘overcharge and overbill’ its legal fee. This, the lower court concluded, was both intentional and fraudulent. This conversation between Judge Luck and Kaplan’s counsel starts at appx. 2.57 minutes into oral argument.

However, after the conversation between Luck and Kaplan’s counsel, the 3-panel refocuses on the parties, namely the involvement and knowledge of Kaplan and his wife in the fraudulent scheme.

What this shows is the fact that the judge(s) knew Kaplan’s counsel were co-conspirators to a fraud and yet did nothing after oral arguments where Luck had essentially grilled counsel and warned them about the fact he knew their arguments were not only frivolous they were fraudulent.

Judges are also registered State Bar lawyers and as such have a duty to report attorney misconduct. Despite having an attorney who’s law firm created fake and fabricated forged invoices in front of the 3-panel, no further misconduct inquiries or referral to the prosecutor was forthcoming. This despite the direct questioning by Luck who stated that the law firm was found to be crafting fraudulent invoices.

In a similar 11th Circuit case, the court found that an attorney who allegedly was the “mastermind” of his client’s fraudulent transfer of settlement funds through the attorney’s trust account could be held liable as an “initial transferee” upon a showing of the attorney’s lack of good faith. In re Harwell, 628 F.3d 1312 (11th Cir. 2010).[6]

Yet nothing was reported in Luck’s case involving a politician, real estate investor, lawyers and a law firm who conspired to finch hundreds of thousands of dollars from Regions Bank.

Our Own Experience with the Judiciary in Federal Courts has Revealed Internal Corruption beyond what Any Litigant Could Possibly Conceive

Personally, we can list many more acts of bias at both the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit and lower courts, along with several State Bars and related entities. However, for brevity, we simply enclose a copy of our letter today to the Chief Judge William Pryor at the Eleventh Circuit, which should provide you with sufficient detail as to our own delicate and worrisome situation. We have too much evidence which shows the judiciary is corrupt and as they have no legal arguments, the judges and Bars’ are resorting to nonsensical orders and letters of dismissal in the hope we will lose hope and faith in the justice system and give up our civil rights, property  and liberty. Anyone maintaining such a view would be mistaken. We refuse to succumb to elder abuse, intimidation and the criminal acts we have witnessed. These have included the manipulation of orders and judgments, withholding evidence, fraud and exclusion of precedential laws to aid the illegal taking of our home.

Summary

We sincerely hope you agree with our concurring opinion that the hearing on July 29th was both inadequate and absurd. We respectfully suggest that you should petition the full committee, your esteemed colleagues at the Senate Judiciary, to invalidate the hearing.

As far as our own case, we totally believe the record supports our position and our opinion, which questions the integrity of the judiciary. Our cases are fact based, e.g. based on the truth. We have the evidence we need to support our claims. That stated, we respectfully leave our case(s) and whether you can assist to your own personal discretion.

We do thank you for your many years of dedication and commitment to appointing honest and qualified judges to the federal bench.

Stay safe and God Bless.

Respectfully

s/ Joanna & John Burke

Joanna Burke & John Burke

46 Kingwood Greens Dr.,
Kingwood, TX, 77339
Tel: (281) 812-9591
Fax: (866) 705-5076
Email; kajongwe@gmail.com

“All the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous Judiciary.”

Andrew Jackson, Seventh President of the United States

[1] See Federalist Society Video; A conversation about the Eleventh Circuit, https://youtu.be/0Pf7GqMEzzc

[2] On October 15, 2019, President Donald Trump (R) nominated Luck to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The United States Senate confirmed Luck on November 19, 2019, by a vote of 64-31.

[3] On October 15, 2019, President Donald Trump (R) nominated Lagoa to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination on November 20, 2019, by an 80-15 vote.

[4] See letter to Judge Luck, dated 21 July, 2020; https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/3/0/306d972d-ac49-4f2b-874e-6e2bd0fede11/DEB2EF1C96AEF2CA0E59DE18D64F5880.letter-to-judge-luck-from-judiciary-democrats—7.21.2020.pdf

[5] See letter to Judge Lagoa, dated 21 July, 2020; https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/d/9/d9c6f711-785f-42c6-91b7-d4ca907711e1/CF47BD2AD2045F5D85047BBF7010D561.letter-to-judge-lagoa-from-judiciary-democrats—7.21.2020.pdf

[6] A Published Opinion; http://media.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/files/200914997.pdf

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