Judge Free Speech

Friday, October 20th, 2006

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I’m hooked on the ‘blog CreditSlips, “A blog on all things about credit and bankruptcy. We are seven academics who will use this space to do what we like to do when we get together–discussing and debating what does happen and what should happen when consumers and businesses borrow money.”

Local UNC law professor, Japanese internment expert and battler of the Malkinator, Eric Muller (isThatLegal.org), turned me on to these wild-n-wacky debt analysts last year.

One of their more interesting and disturbing threads involves Judge Leif Clark, a man of conscience, driven to criticize the precipitous dissipation of our civil liberties. Turns out that the Judge exposed himself to censure for practicing his First Amendment right to declaim the Bush madministration’s actions.

Over the past two weeks, I have been following a story about Leif Clark, a bankruptcy judge in San Antonio (see here and here). As regular Credit Slips readers will remember, Judge Clark wrote a letter to National Public Radio responding to an interview. In the letter, Judge Clark made remarks highly critical of the Bush Administration’s attitude toward civil liberties. At the time, I thought we had the proverbial tempest in a teapot about whether Judge Clark’s comments violated the Canons of Judicial Ethics which forbid judges from engaging in “political activity.” The San Antonio News-Express has reported that Judge Clark’s comments are now “under review by the chief judge of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the tribunal that disciplines federal judicial misconduct in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.”

Further commentary over on CreditSlips.

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