Earlier, I asked several questions of readers regarding the debacle at the Second Circuit. Among others, I asked: “Do you agree with Judge S.’s decision to seek relief from the order throwing her off the cases?” I propose now to answer my own question.
I have great respect and empathy for Judge Scheindlin. She is a very good trial judge who has been treated very badly by the Second Circuit. Having spent six years sitting as a member of the Judicial Conference’s Code of Conduct Committee, I am confident in stating that nothing written in the paltry panel order throwing her off the cases establishes a violation of the Code. But, I believe strongly that Judge Scheindlin was wrong to get involved in the fray at the Second Circuit by retaining counsel and filing papers in the appeal. Her first duty is to the litigants (both the plaintiffs and the defendants) and not herself. Asserting herself in the Second Circuit has done nothing to advance a rational resolution of the merits of the parties’ dispute. If anything, the judge’s actions have made things far worse. The Circuit has acted like an angry and petulant toddler, and it is up to the trial judge to be the adult in the room. She should withdraw her request for relief.