A conflict of interest is coming to light in Judge Taylor’s past. You will recall that Judge Taylor is the one who wrote the idiotic opinion siding with the ACLU over the NSA wiretap case. Now Judicial Watch has found that she help make a $45,000 donation to the ACLU:
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and judicial abuse, announced today that Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who last week ruled the government’s warrantless wiretapping program unconstitutional, serves as a Secretary and Trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case ACLU et al. v. National Security Agency. Judicial Watch discovered the potential conflict of interest after reviewing Judge Diggs Taylor’s financial disclosure statements, available on Judicial Watch’s Internet Site.
According to her 2003 and 2004 financial disclosure statements, Judge Diggs Taylor served as Secretary and Trustee for the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan (CFSEM). She was reelected to this position in June 2005. The official CFSEM website states that the foundation made a “recent grant” of $45,000 over two years to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the wiretapping case. Judge Diggs Taylor sided with the ACLU of Michigan in her recent decision.
According to the CFSEM website, “The Foundation’s trustees make all funding decisions at meetings held on a quarterly basis.”
“This potential conflict of interest merits serious investigation,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “If Judge Diggs Taylor failed to disclose this link to a plaintiff in a case before her court, it would certainly call into question her judgment.”
You can view her financial statements here.
This is definately something that needs to be looked into.
UPDATE 2215hrs PST
There has been a flurry of posts about this press release by Judicial Watch since I posted about it this morning, figured I would update you on those who are adding to the story below with my “other’s blogging”. The best analysis so far is coming from many quarters but I will highlight a few. First Allah at Hot Air doesn’t think this will rise to an actual ethics violation:
You shouldn’t need a money trail here to make you believe she was inclined towards the plaintiff. The opinion speaks for itself. But if there simply must be score-settling, this is where it’ll come from. Note in particular Canons 2A, 3C(1)(d)(i) and 5(B)(1). The twist is that she’s not a trustee of one of the parties; she’s a trustee of an organization that helped fund one of the parties. One step removed. Thus it’s a question of the spirit of the law versus the letter.
And Captains Quarters:
As Allahpundit notes, this does not appear to violate the legal canon of ethics, at least not explicitly, but it does seem rather too close for comfort. Many judges probably either belong to the ACLU or have given it support, but in this case it would appear unseemly for Taylor — as an officer of an organization that is a major benefactor — to have presided over a lawsuit the Michigan chapter brought. I doubt she will get any official sanction, but I also think it will dent her reputation than her opinion in the case has already done.
It appears she may be shielded from any kind of ethics violation but it does look and smell fishy.
- Sister Toldjah
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- Stop The ACLU
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- Hot Air
- Iowa Voice
- Captain’s Quarters
- The Political Pit Bull
- The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
- California Conservative
- Blue Crab Boulevard
- Getting Nothing But Static
- Pro Cynic
- Dread Pundit Bluto