Closing Thought–25Feb21

The Supreme Court is supposed to be the referee in our political system…..unbiased opinions based on the facts and the Constitution……so when a justice helps propagate a lie then the whole system is in danger.

What am I talking about?

Something that a long standing SCOTUS associate said recently…..

While it may not have been a complete surprise that Clarence Thomas dissented from his more liberal colleagues in a Supreme Court election case on Monday, what is causing some head whips is his apparently firm support for former President Trump’s debunked claims of election fraud. The case the high court declined to hear came out of Pennsylvania, where Republicans challenged an extension to the deadline for mail-in ballots due to the pandemic. Thomas, along with Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, disagreed with their colleagues’ decision to turn the case away, with Thomas arguing that even though the number of affected mail-in ballots wouldn’t have turned the election in Trump’s favor, the Supreme Court still should have addressed the underlying legal questions in case future votes see a narrower gap. His reasoning, however, as laid out in a 11-page dissent, relied partly on baseless fraud claims pushed by Trump and his allies, reports USA Today.

Thomas’ argument, which mentions “fraud” 10 times, per CNN: that even though rampant fraud wasn’t evident in the Pennsylvania case, mail-in ballots are especially vulnerable, and “an election free from strong evidence of systemic fraud is not alone sufficient for election confidence.” He also quoted a New York Times article calling fraud risk “vastly more prevalent” for mail-in ballots than during in-person voting—the same article said “fraud in voting by mail is far less common than innocent errors”—and mentioned “the high degree of subjective judgment” in tallying ballots. Alito and Gorsuch’s dissent didn’t bring up fraud. Per Slate, voter fraud with mail-in ballots is “vanishingly rare.” CNN notes that Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas, has also pushed the fraud narrative. Prominent Democrats are pushing back, and a UC-Irvine election law expert suggests Thomas shouldn’t even have addressed it, telling USA Today it’s an issue “wholly divorced from the actual legal question in the case.”

There has been NO evidence of widespread voter fraud and yet Thomas helps spread a lie…..does not bode well for the independence of the Supreme Court.

The Court has become too partisan to be a true “referee’ in the working of the government and nation.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Could SCOTUS Screw The Poor?

The final word in this society, that is before Trump, was the Supreme Court….and it has before it now a case that they could screw the poor our of their health care…..

The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will hear a pair of consolidated casesAzar v. Gresham and Arkansas v. Gresham — both of which concern whether the state of Arkansas may require Medicaid recipients to either work or take certain steps to find a job, or else lose their health benefits.

Arkansas, with the Trump administration’s approval, implemented a program called “Arkansas Works,” which requires Medicaid beneficiaries between the ages of 19 and 49 to “work or engage in specified educational, job training, or job search activities for at least 80 hours per month,” and to document that they’ve engaged in these activities.

The ostensible purpose of Arkansas Works is fairly straightforward. If Medicaid beneficiaries risk losing health care if they aren’t also employed, then they have additional incentive to find work. In approving Arkansas’s request to add a work requirement to its Medicaid program, the Trump administration claimed that this requirement would “encourage beneficiaries to obtain and maintain employment or undertake other community engagement activities that research has shown to be correlated with improved health and wellness.”

https://www.vox.com/2020/12/8/22158659/supreme-court-medicaid-work-requirements-azar-arkansas-gresham-obamacare-health

Forced to work during a pandemic where jobs are few and far between….really?  Is this what this country has become?

This might no interest most people but keep in mind that if this case is successful and the poor loses their access of health care….how long before they come for yours.

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SCOTUS: A Future Battle

All the noise around the newest attempt to pack the court with conservs to lead the fight on rights looks certain to move forward……(but the GOP is not packing the courts)…..

Then there has been noise about a Biden attempt to make the Supreme Court more in-line with typical America (whatever that is)……

Biden has said what Dems always say…..he will appoint a commission to study reform…..that means that they will drag their feet and accomplish NOTHING….as usual.

In an interview airing Sunday on “60 Minutes,” Biden told O’Donnell that if elected he would put together a bipartisan group to provide recommendations within 180 days on how his administration should work to reform the U.S. court system.

“If elected, what I will do is I’ll put together a national commission of, a bipartisan commission of scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal, conservative. And I will … ask them to over 180 days come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it’s getting out of whack … the way in which it’s being handled,”

(thehill.com)

The House Dems have offered up a bill that I covered recently…..https://lobotero.com/2020/09/28/to-make-scotus-better/

Looks like law experts have jumped on the Dems bandwagon…..

Over two dozen constitutional law experts on Friday endorsed legislation recently introduced by a trio of House Democrats that would establish 18-year term limits for U.S. Supreme Court justices.

The endorsement letter (pdf) signed by professors and scholars across the country, along with a former U.S. senator and a former chief justice of the Utah Supreme Court, comes as the Senate GOP is trying to confirm right-wing Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s third nominee to the high court, before the November general election.

The ongoing political battle over the Supreme Court vacancy that resulted from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has elevated discussions and proposals to reform the high court. The term limits bill (pdf) was unveiled last month by Reps. Khanna (D-Calif.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), and Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.).

“We can’t face a national crisis every time a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court,” Khanna said while announcing the Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act (H.R. 8424), which would allow presidents to nominate two new appointees per four-year term.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/23/constitutional-law-experts-endorse-democrats-bill-create-18-year-term-limits-supreme

I like this proposal.

I do not think that partisan agents like Federalist Society should be consulted on judge nominations……NO political partisan group should have anything to say on nominations other than op-eds in support or opposition.

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“lego ergo scribo”

SCOTUS Bullsh*t

Surprise this Barrett woman has been confirmed and once again the court has a full compliment of justices.

In what the AP calls the culmination of a decadeslong coordinated effort by a constellation of conservative groups, fueled by tens of millions of dollars from wealthy anonymous donors, to tilt the high court farther to the right, Amy Coney Barrett was on Monday night sworn onto the Supreme Court. Hours after the Senate confirmed her, Justice Clarence Thomas administered the Constitutional Oath to Barrett before a crowd of about 200 gathered for a celebratory event on the South Lawn of the White House, the AP reports. “This is a momentous day for America,” President Trump declared at the event. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had earlier told senators they should be proud, noting that those who opposed Barrett “won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”

For her part, Barrett declared that “it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences” and promised to “do my job without any fear or favor.” She is expected to take the judicial oath administered by Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony Tuesday at the court to begin participating in proceedings. Trump has made it a priority to appoint conservative judges who appeal to white Christian evangelicals. “We’ll appoint more conservative judges and justices,” he promised a month before Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. “We will protect religious liberty, defend the lives of the unborn, uphold free speech and safeguard the Second Amendment and your right to keep and bear arms. So important, right?” The AP has more on the mysterious millions behind the push to get Barrett on the court

Her disingenuous words were stunning….. Barrett declared that “it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences” and promised to “do my job without any fear or favor.” 

The four cases below will likely help us gain an understanding of whether Barrett is a right-wing outlier, even within an increasingly conservative federal judiciary. The votes she casts in these cases, and the specific legal arguments that she signs onto, may show us just how hostile the Court’s newest member is to democracy, and whether she’s willing to embrace deeply radical legal arguments that undermine progressive policy or punish interest groups aligned with the Democratic Party.

To be sure, Democrats should not necessarily heave a sigh of relief even if Barrett rejects the conservative position in each of these lawsuits. These four cases represent some of the most extreme arguments before the Court, and there are others that could well be revelatory. How Barrett rules on them should offer a window into just how radical the newest justice is likely to be.

https://www.vox.com/21525343/supreme-court-amy-coney-barrett-obamacare-pennsylvania-voting-rights-census-unions

If that lie were true then she would not be high on the list of judges for the Federalist Society….she will help bring about the much desired conservative agenda and kill as many policies as possible.

Just my thought on this attack on rights of ALL Americans…..

Time for reform within SCOTUS….we can only hope the reforms will come soon.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Supreme Court Drama

The hearing for the newest nominee for the Supreme Court is being held as I type…..I also thought that a small idea of the theatrics might be amusing for my readers….(this may be the only post I do on this silly game)….

The day went something like this….

The actual questioning of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has begun on Capitol Hill. However, Barrett is following the tradition of nominees not answering questions about how they might rule on key issues—in this case, ObamaCare and abortion, notes Politico. “If I give off-the-cuff answers, then I would basically be a legal pundit,” she said. “I don’t think we want judges to be legal pundits. I think we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully with an open mind.” Some highlights:

  • No deals: Barrett insisted she didn’t discuss ObamaCare with President Trump or anyone in the White House. “Absolutely not,” Barrett said in response to a question from the GOP’s Charles Grassley, per the Washington Post. “I was never asked. And if I had been, that would have been a short conversation.” Democrats fear Barrett will help the court undo the Affordable Care Act. A key case is on the docket in November.
  • Abortion: After Democrat Dianne Feinstein asked Barrett her views on two landmark rulings establishing a woman’s right to an abortion (Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey), Barrett declined to offer her views of them, per the Hill. “If I express a view on a precedent one way or another, whether I say I love it or I hate it, it signals to litigants that I might tilt one way or another in a pending case.” Feinstein said it was “distressing” not to get a better answer. “I have no agenda to try to overrule Casey,” said Barrett. “I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come.”
  • Abortion, II: Barrett declined to say whether she agreed with mentor Antonin Scalia that Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided. “I don’t think that anybody should assume that just because Justice Scalia decided a decision a certain way that I would, too,” she said. “I can’t pre-commit or say, ‘Yes, I’m going in with some agenda,'” Barrett added. “I have no agenda.”
  • More on agenda: The AP highlights this quote: “Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda, I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world.”
  • Election: Barrett declined to say whether she would recuse herself from any election-related case involving Trump, reports the Hill. Democrat Patrick Leahy pressed her on the issue, saying recusal is necessary “where impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” But Barrett wouldn’t go there: “It always happens after consultation with the full court, so I can’t offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting that entire process.”

The Dems are still playing to the camera….they do not have the votes to block this silly pathetic endeavor so their acting is moot.

 Yet Another topic that I have strong opinions about……https://lobotero.com/2020/09/23/dems-need-to-buck-up/

Image

Even her colleagues think she should step back…..

October 10, 2020

Dear Judge Barrett,

We write to you as fellow faculty members at the University of Notre Dame.

We congratulate you on your nomination to the United States Supreme Court. An appointment to the Court is the crowning achievement of a legal career and speaks to the commitments you have made throughout your life. And while we are not pundits, from what we read your confirmation is all but assured.

An Open Letter to Judge Amy Coney Barrett From Your Notre Dame Colleagues

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

To Make SCOTUS Better?

I have written my thoughts on how I believe SCOTUS could be improved after the death of Ginsburg and the fight that is about to erupt……https://lobotero.com/2020/09/23/dems-need-to-buck-up/ and my plan for the court…..https://lobotero.com/2020/09/25/i-have-lots-to-say-about-scotus/

The Dems are thinking ahead and have apparently been reading IST (JK) for they will offer a new plan for the highest court this week……

Under a bill House Democrats are preparing, Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have had to retire in 2011—and William O. Douglas, the longest-serving justice in Supreme Court history, would have stepped down in 1957 instead of 1975. The bill, which Democrats plan to introduce next week, limits the terms of Supreme Court justices to 18 years. It excludes those currently on the court, who were appointed to lifetime terms, Reuters reports. Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna says it “would save the country a lot of agony and help lower the temperature over fights for the court that go to the fault lines of cultural issues.” Recent polls have shown large majorities in favor of introducing term limits, which are already required on the Supreme Courts of every state except Rhode Island.

The bill would allow each president to nominate two justices per four-year term. After their terms expired, justice would became “senior” and would be allowed to return to service on lower courts, as numerous former SCOTUS justices have done, including David Souter. This would allow term limits to be introduced without changing the Constitution, writes Gabe Roth In a USA Today op-ed. Roth is executive director of the nonpartisan Fix the Court group. While Democrats probably won’t be able to stop President Trump nominating a replacement for Ginsburg, “they can join with their conservative colleagues who have long embraced the concept of term limits and ensure that never again will a superannuated bench determine the direction of our country,” he writes.

Rep. Khanna has a bill that could do the trick….

“No justice should feel the weight of an entire country on their shoulders,” Khanna added. “No president should be able to shift the ideology of our highest judicial body by mere chance. Most importantly, our country’s top constitutional questions shouldn’t be decided by a panel of jurists who are biding their time until a president of their choice is elected. It’s time to standardize and democratize the Supreme Court.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/25/time-standardize-and-democratize-supreme-court-ro-khanna-introduces-bill-justice

I like the idea that the Constitution does not needed amending…that process takes so long that my grandchildren will have grandchildren before it is decided…..look at the Equal Rights Amendment written in 1972 and still has not been ratified a half a century later.

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Trump’s SCOTUS Lotto Is Done

I try to avoid the silliness of the nation on weekends….but sometimes there is news that truly needs to be reported…….

Looks like Donald the Orange has made his much awaited decision on who he would nominate to replace Ginsburg on SCOTUS…….and the winner is…..Amy Coney Barrett.

It appears that President Trump has his new Supreme Court nominee. The Washington Post, Politico, the New York Times, and Axios all report that sources are pointing to federal appeals court judge Amy Coney Barrett as Trump’s pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a move that would significantly push the Supreme Court even further to the right, with a 6-3 conservative majority. The 48-year-old Barrett, who has served on the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit since 2017, would be the third relatively young conservative justice appointed by Trump to the high court, joining Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both in their 50s, on the bench.

Barrett, whom the Times calls a “polar opposite” to Ginsburg, was in the running to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy when he retired in 2018. Trump, however, was said to be “saving” the devout Catholic, known for her deeply conservative views on such topics as abortion and LGBT issues, for when Ginsburg’s slot opened up. A caveat from the Times, though, on Trump’s supposed nominee: “As they often do, aides cautioned that Mr. Trump sometimes upends his own plans.” On Friday night, in response to questions from reporters on his pick, Trump would only say he’s made his pick “in my own mind, yes,” and that “I haven’t said it was [Barrett], but she is outstanding,” per Politico.

There is so much more……this pick is polar opposite to Ginsburg…..but what can we expect when we allow ideologues make the picks for the president.

The 48-year-old Barrett was appointed by Trump to the appeals court in 2017, and was also reportedly a finalist for Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat in 2018. She has been portrayed as a favorite of social conservatives seeking to push against the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence. She is unusual, compared especially to famously (and perhaps strategically) tight-lipped recent nominees like Brett Kavanaugh and Elena Kagan, for her extensive paper trail on questions of constitutional law. As a legal academic, she’s written extensively on what obedience to the original meaning of the Constitution requires of judges and members of Congress; how to reconcile the importance of precedent with allegiance to the Constitution’s original meaning; and how precedent can be used to mediate deep disagreements about the law.

As a result, we know more about her jurisprudential beliefs than we’ll know about those of any SCOTUS nominee since, perhaps, Ginsburg. We know she identifies as an originalist who believes that the original public meaning of the Constitution is binding law. But we also know that she is skeptical of the radical libertarian originalist idea that economic regulation is presumptively unconstitutional, and that she believes some Supreme Court decisions that originalists may conclude are incorrectly decided nonetheless stand as “superprecedents” that the Court can abide by.

Her legal writing has also prompted heated reactions from detractors. One piece (with fellow law professor John Garvey) on when Catholic judges might be obligated to recuse themselves from death penalty cases, prompted criticism from Senate Democrats during her appeals court confirmation hearings, who suggested Barrett was unable to separate her faith from her jurisprudence (a charge she strongly rejected).

(Read More)

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/21453067/amy-coney-barrett-potential-nominee-supreme-court

Read and weep……this is what our “impartial referee” of the Constitution has become a plaything of ideologues.

30+ days until the election and now the Dems have something else to bitch about…..which they need to focus on the vote and let this minor irritant go for the more they bitch and whine the more they turn people off.

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“lego ergo scribo”

I Have Lots To Say About SCOTUS

There are a few things I would like to say before the nomination and hearing process starts…..before the circus and comedy tale begins.

We are having a knockdown and dragged out fight between the parties over the choices for the Supreme Court.

I have told the readers what I think of the most recent fight involving the replacement of Judge Ginsburg….but in case are are ill informed…..https://lobotero.com/2020/09/23/dems-need-to-buck-up/

But that is not where I will stop…there is so much more I need to say….if for no other reason that to get it off my chest.

My biggest question is…..why are they appointed for life?  No one else in the scheme of things in the government has a job for life…why the justices?  They can only lose their gig through misadventure (and that is a hard thing to prove)……

Did you know that since it’s beginning the Supreme Court has had only 17 chief justices?  244 years and that is all the chief justices we have had…..and they have in the past overruled their own rulings…..like Plessey v Ferguson(1896) gave us the law of segregation…..whereas the idea of  ‘separate but equal’ facilities….Brown v Board of Education (1954) overturned it.

By stacking the court with ideologues any progress can be overturned…now you see why their political ideology is so important these….once again it is not so much about the law but rather the political agenda.

There is more……if this is truly important then maybe learning about the branch would be wise.   http://supremecourthistory.org/

Picking a judge should be about the Constitution and seeing it is upheld at every turn….not about some political ideology agenda as it is today.

No one should have a government job for life.

It is the 21st century time for the US to move out of the shadow of the 19th century and update the Constitution to reflect society of the present.

Some changes to the federal judge positions…..all judges to include SCOTUS….they should be limited to 2 5 year terms…and the chief justice is based on seniority not favor from the president…..if the branch is suppose to be independent then make it so.

Then there has been floated the idea that SCOTUS judges should be elected as in the states.  I disagree!  That opens up justice to the influence of money and power more so than today.

Qualifications should be for SCOTUS…..20 years experience as a trial judge.  For federal judges there should be at least 10 years of experience….with no political affiliations.

Justices are chosen, in descending order, first by ideology, confirmability, age, race and gender…..no where is a training in law a requirement only considered because of tradition.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Who’s Who For SCOTUS

By now the country knows and is in mourning for Judge Ginsberg…..that means that the conservs are rubbing their hands in anticipation of putting another conserv on the highest court in the land.

I have heard two names that gives me shudders….Ted Cruz (who says he does not want it) and Tom Cotton that warmonger from Arkansas…..but believe it or not there are other names in the hunt for the replacement….and these are…..

The full list of Trump’s additional picks is as follows:

Bridget Bade of Arizona, judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, that state’s attorney general
Paul Clement of Virginia, former U.S. solicitor general
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas
Stuart Kyle Duncan of Louisiana, judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Steven Engel of the District of Columbia, assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice
Noel Francisco, former U.S. solicitor general
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri
James Ho of Texas, judge on the 5th Circuit
Gregory Katsas of Virginia, judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Barbara Lagoa, a judge from Florida on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Christopher Landau of Maryland, U.S. ambassador to Mexico
Carlos Muñiz of Florida, justice on the Florida Supreme Court
Martha Pacold of Illinois, judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Peter Phipps of Pennsylvania, judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Sarah Pitlyk of Missouri, judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Allison Jones Rushing of North Carolina, judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Kate Todd of Virginia, deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel to the president
Lawrence VanDyke of Nevada, judge on the 9th Circuit

An extensive list indeed…..but is there a short list?  (Of course there is for Donald cannot concentrate long enough to read that long list)

The line to succeed the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court likely starts with these federal appeals court judges:

Amy Coney Barrett 

Read On……https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/18/replacing-ruth-bader-ginsburg-list-starts-amy-coney-barrett/2669382002/

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

2020 has been a horrible year….and it just got worse.

Sad news…..Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has from cancer.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday at her home in Washington, DC, reports the AP. She was 87. Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court says; it was her fifth bout with cancer since 1999. NPR reports that in the days before her death, Ginsburg dictated the following statement to her granddaughter, Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement, per NPR. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent a lifetime flourishing in the face of adversity before being appointed a Supreme Court justice, where she successfully fought against gender discrimination and unified the liberal block of the court. She was born Joan Ruth Bader on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. Her father was a furrier in the height of the Great Depression, and her mother worked in a garment factory. Ginsburg’s mother instilled a love of education in Ginsburg through her dedication to her brother; foregoing her own education to finance her brother’s college expenses.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg began her career as a justice where she left off as an advocate, fighting for women’s rights. In 1996, Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, holding that qualified women could not be denied admission to Virginia Military Institute. Her style in advocating from the bench matches her style from her time at the ACLU: slow but steady, and calculated. Instead of creating sweeping limitations on gender discrimination, she attacked specific areas of discrimination and violations of women’s rights one at a time, so as to send a message to the legislatures on what they can and cannot do. Her attitude is that major social change should not come from the courts, but from Congress and other legislatures. This method allows for social change to remain in Congress’ power while also receiving guidance from the court. Ginsburg does not shy away from giving pointed guidance when she feels the need. She dissented in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. where the plaintiff, a female worker being paid significantly less than males with her same qualifications, sued under Title VII but was denied relief under a statute of limitations issue. The facts of this case mixed her passion of federal procedure and gender discrimination. She broke with tradition and wrote a highly colloquial version of her dissent to read from the bench. She also called for Congress to undo this improper interpretation of the law in her dissent, and then worked with President Obama to pass the very first piece of legislation he signed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a copy of which hangs proudly in her office.

She was a bright spot on the Court and she will be sadly missed.

My condolences to her family and fiends.

May she Rest In Peace