Republican-Appointed Federal Judge Stands on Head to Question Republican Inman’s Charges

I’m not taking sides on republican vs. democrat. My point is just that the judge in the Inman case was appointed by one of the Bush presidents (W. I think but I’m not going to look it up again), and he’s finding a way to squint sideways and pretend that the Citizen’s United ruling means that politicians can demand bribes for votes.

Wait what now? Oh the Citizen’s United ruling, which has been used to blame everything on everything when it was really a pretty narrow opinion. The only thing the Citizen’s United case said was that the government couldn’t limit corporations/labor unions and the like from making unlimited campaign contributions. The case said nothing about politicians being given the green light to ask for cold, hard cash in exchange for votes.

Citizen’s United did not throw limitations on speech, even political speech, out the window. Think about all of the kids of speech that are illegal or civilly actionable: inciting a riot, threatening someone, defamation, slander, disturbing the peace. Citizen’s United did not greenlight any of those types of speech, nor did it green light corruption in office. (You would think the way that some people comment on this site that politicians think it’s illegal to have an anonymous government accountability website. It’s not, based on Citizen’s United. Okay maybe based on actual cases that have long decided in favor of the constitutionality of anonymous leafletting.) But that’s not the point. Citizen’s United had nothing to do with bribery. It had to do with limits to campaign finance, not promises for votes in exchange for campaign donations.

So my question is, if asking for bribes in exchange for votes is legal, isn’t there a problem with Blagojevich being in prison? Isn’t that essentially what he tried to do? How is it any different to demand bribes to choose a political appointee compared to demanding for bribes for a vote? They seem the same to me.

I see this about the Inman recall petition, but I still don’t see how to go about signing the petition. If anyone knows, feel free to comment.

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4 thoughts on “Republican-Appointed Federal Judge Stands on Head to Question Republican Inman’s Charges”

    1. Inman has appealed the language in the recall petition, so the petitions cannot yet be printed and signed. Please go to recallinman.com for more information and consider a donation to help fund the recall efforts.

  1. My feelings is that the biggest danger to democracy is not muslim ‘extremist’, but christian republican prosecutors and judges. Going all the way back to Bush vs Gore, (for a great read on this assault on the American voting process read republican and Charles Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s essay ‘None dare call it treason’ ) where the republican judges on the supreme court decided that if Gore actually won the recount it would be an embarrassment, so they voted to stop the recount. Recently, we’ve had Citizens United, gerrymandering, and other decisions unfairly giving republicans an advantage in elections.
    Going off on a bit of a tangent here, on a local level. A few years back a police officer by the name of Sgt. Dennis Finch was murdered by a delusional man named John Clark. I don’t hold Clark responsible for this senseless act. John Clark was insane, so he wasn’t totally responsible for the act. The ones who should be held responsible are the local republican judges.(Thomas Phillips, Powers,etc(I just know in my bones they’re republican by their lack of integrity) The reason I hold them responsible is because the republicans decided it was ok for insane people (like John Clark) to horde assault weapons.

  2. I represent the Inman Recall Petitioners. I think you raise an important point with the Judge’s ruling and I’m glad you’re discussing it. I respectfully disagree with some of your points and just wanted to address them for what it’s worth.

    First, as to Judge Jonker, he’s not a political type of judge. I see the connection with republican appointment that you’re stating but it’s misplaced on Judge Jonker. He is very thorough and fair. I have practiced in front of him and have always felt that he is an extremely intelligent and unbiased judge. He expects a lot out of practitioners in front of him but that’s what you should expect in federal practice.

    Second, I think the concern Judge Jonker was troubled with was bigger than the Inman case and involves partisanship more than speech. A point he made was that he could see campaign contributions and votes being scrutinized going forward under partisan lenses. I think that’s a fair concern and he was right to ask the government to brief it more. The connection with Citizens United is that it has broadened the scope of what constitutes a permissible campaign contribution. Judge Jonker stated that he had reviewed the text messages submitted and they “turned” his stomach. However, he did want insight on how the quid pro quo of campaign contributions should be presented to a prospective jury in the Inman case.

    To be honest, I don’t really think this is a case of a judge trying to shoehorn the law to fit the facts of a case but rather a federal judge surveying the changing landscape of federal laws on campaign contributions and the criminal implications. I suspect that this is an issue that is going to be addressed in jury instructions rather then the counts being kicked. The judge intimated as much on the record.

    Thanks very much for addressing this issue. I enjoyed reading your perspective.

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