A firm denial: Judge puts matters in perspective in court
This is funny if you’re not a lawyer.
President Bush’s difficulty in getting the Senate vote on some of his judicial nominees is well known. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in its scrutiny of the hapless hopefuls, will call them forth and probe them with all manner of questions.
Usually, though, the inquision omits one important question: Do you have a sense of humor?
It ought to be a requirement for a judge to be capable of doing something once in a while to break the boredom of the courtroom and to put things in perspective for the litigants.
That was done last month by an appointee of President Bush’s father, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks. Sparks presides in the Western District of Texas, the place where another judge, the imperious Roy Bean, used to dispense what he called “the law west of the Pecos.”
Judge Sparks doesn’t come to the courtroom wearing .45s as Judge Bean did, but he isn’t above firing off a verbal round now and then. Here, for instance, is an actual order that he issued in a civil case:
BE IT REMEMBERED on the 21st day of July 2004 and the Court took time to make its daily review of the above-captioned case, and thereafter, enters the following:
When the undersigned accepted the appointment from the President of the United States of the position now held, he was ready to face the daily practice of law in federal courts with presumably competent lawyers. No one warned the undersigned that in many instances his responsibility would be the same as a person who supervised kindergarten.
Frankly, the undersigned would guess the lawyers in this case did not attend kindergarten as they never learned how to get along well with others. Notwithstanding the history of filings and antagonistic motions full of personal insults and requiring multiple discovery hearings, earning the disgust of this Court, the lawyers continue ad infinitum.
On July 20, 2004, the Court’s schedule was interrupted by an emergency motion so the parties’ deposition, which began on July 20, would and could proceed until 6:30 in the evening. No intelligent discussion of the issue was accomplished prior to the filing and service of the motion, even though the lawyers were in the same room. Over a telephone conference, the lawyers, of course, had inconsistent statements as to the support of their positions. On July 20, 2004, the Court entered an order allowing the plaintiffs/counter-defendants until July 23, 2004 two days from today to answer a counterclaim. Yet, on July 21, 2004, Bodyworx.com, Inc.’s lawyers filed a motion for reconsideration of that Court order arguing the pleadings should have been filed by July 19, 2004.
The Court simply wants to scream to these lawyers, “Get a life” or “Do you have any other cases?” or “When is the last time you registered for anger management classes?”
Neither the world’s problems nor this case will be determined by an answer to a counterclaim, which is four days late, even with the approval of the presiding judge.
If the lawyers in this case do not change, immediately, their manner of practice and start conducting themselves as competent to practice in the federal court, the Court will contemplate and may enter an order requiring the parties to obtain new counsel.
In the event it is not clear from the above discussion, the Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.
SIGNED this the 21st day of July 2004.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
A creative man like that would win the approval of almost all senators — except, perhaps, the ones who are lawyers.
Published in Editorials on August 25, 2004 11:18 AM