So Salon is reporting that a number of Federal Judges who were subsequently appointed to the federal bench made campaign contributions to Republican candidates. In fact, “At least two dozen federal judges appointed by President Bush since 2001 made political contributions to key Republicans or to the president himself while under consideration for their judgeships, government records show.” As I recall, judicial ethics require that judges do everything possible to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. It seems to me that blatently giving cash to the President to ensure your appointment to the federal bench is not only unethical but actually illegal. Some of these judges gave money directly to Bush after he officially nominated them. This is the very thing that trial court judges in Brooklyn are going to jail for. It should be no different with federal judges.
Hopefully this isn’t one of those scandals that Nancy Pelosi deems “off the table.” At the very least there should be a congressional investigation and those judges who were shown to have donated directly to the President either while their nominations were being considered or after they took the bench should resign. The following judges are implicated in this scandal and should resign: Judge Thomas Ludington of Michigan gave Bush $1,000, after being nominated in September 2002. Judge P. Kevin Castel of New York gave Bush $2,000 after Bush nominated him in March 2003. Judge Paul Crotty of New York gave $1,000 to Bush in June 2003, the same month he met with Bush officials about the judgeship. Judge Mark Filip of Illinois, who had volunteered as a Republican election monitor in Florida during the disputed 2000 election, gave the president $2,000 after Bush nominated him in April 2003.
The White House issued a standard vague denial but seemed to defend the practice by asserting that, “[w]e are not aware of any law or regulation that prohibits a federal judicial candidate or nominee from making political contributions." A strong and independent judiciary is the cornerstone of a healthy society. We haven’t had one in several years. The judicial branch, like Congress and the laws it passes has been bought by corporate interests and functions as a tool of the capitalist power machine.