Taylor’s Ethics, Taylor’s Arguments
The New York Times reports that Judicial Watch has uncovered the fact that federal judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who ruled against the NSA surveillance program, is an officer and trustee of a Michigan organization that has awarded multiple five-figure grants (totaling $125,000 since 1999) to the state chapter of the ACLU, which joined the national ACLU as a plaintiff in the case. The Times can’t seem to find a working legal ethicist who would say Judge Taylor should have recused herself from the case, though two of them the Times talked to, Steven Lubet of Northwestern and Stephen Gillers of NYU, have a record of calling for conservative judges to be purer than Caesar’s wife. It’s nice to know they care so much about the reputation of conservatives, but it would be nicer still if they cared more about liberal judges whose impartiality “might reasonably be questioned” (to use the language of judicial ethics). At least they do admit that Judge Taylor should have disclosed her involvement in this matter. I wonder, don’t they think a federal judge should get out of a leading role in a grant-making organization that gives money to another organization that exists in large part for the purpose of litigation in federal courts?
Also in the Times, Wisconsin law professor and blogger Ann Althouse does an honest day’s work exploding the flawed opinion of Judge Taylor.