- Even the bench must play by the rules…
Yes, most Democrats will stamp their feet. Yes, they will vote against it. Perhaps, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will even don Depends undergarments to filibuster it. But nonetheless, House Speaker Paul Ryan should move to impeach Federal Judge Kimba Wood for both her failure to recuse herself despite apparent conflicts of interest relevant to the hearing Monday on President Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, as well as for her blatantly unconstitutional decision to unilaterally force Cohen to violate the attorney-client privilege of his clientele by disclosing their identities in open court.
And even though the articles of impeachment would be unlikely to pass, Speaker Ryan and House Republicans should still force Pelosi and her Democrats to explain why they are blocking/voting against an effort to hold a federal official accountable for such blatant misconduct. After all, the Democrats routinely table unlikely votes on gun control and abortion access for similar reasons. And if the Democrats want to continue this “witch hunt,’’ as President Trump rightly called it before federal judges were approving raids on legal practices and forcing attorneys to publicly disclose legally privileged information in open court, then let the left try to justify the blatantly unconstitutional behavior of Judge Wood. I am sure their excuses would be quite illuminating for swing voters ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
To sign a petition asking Speaker Ryan to propose articles of impeachment against Federal Judge Kimba Wood, click here. More information is available below.
As FreeMartyG reported Monday, Federal Judge Kimba Wood was a top pick of former first lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for U.S. Attorney General in the 1990’s and she is now overseeing the handling of the legal files seized from Trump attorney Michael Cohen by the FBI. Further, it has now come to light that Judge Wood, who was once known as “the Love Judge,” officiated at the wedding of well- known political donor George Soros, who gave over $10 million to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. And yet Judge Wood didn’t recuse herself from the Cohen matter despite the clear wording of the relevant federal law which requires any federal judge to “disqualify himself [or herself] in any proceeding in which his [or her] impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” as codified by 28 U.S.C. § 455(a).
Ironically though, and perhaps showing a disconnect from reality, when Judge Wood was pressed about hiring a neutral arbiter to determine which, if any of Cohen’s seized legal documents should be handed over to investigators, she said she was open to the idea. But not because the law requires it. Rather, Judge Wood stated she wanted to avoid the appearance of bias.
Wood also seems to have signaled that she would not fairly entertain any accusations against fired former FBI Director James Comey’s former office. “I have faith in the Southern District U.S. attorney’s office that their integrity is unimpeachable,” Wood said in open court.
But maybe it’s her own impeachability that she should be worried about.
On top of her readily apparent biases, as detailed here, the New York Bar Association upholds that even the existence of a previously undisclosed attorney-client relationship is itself privileged at request of the client. However, Judge Wood nonetheless forced Mr. Cohen to publicly report the identities of his clients, including that of Fox News host Sean Hannity, in open court.
Hannity has now said that his legal relationship with Cohen was limited to free advice about legal questions. But had he previously stated this, as many are apparently criticizing him for opting not to do, then litigant’s and critics could have tried to point to such a disclosure by Hannity as a possible waiver of his attorney-client privilege. As a matter of law, the attorney-client privilege belongs to the client and not to either his/her counsel nor to the court. Therefore only the client may waive it by, for example, disclosing privileged information to third parties.
Now, to be clear Judge Wood may not have signed off on the search warrant(s) for Cohen’s office and residences herself, as under normal circumstances nowadays such applications are typically heard by federal magistrate judges—a relatively recent practice which itself is not without controversy. However, given her connections to the Clintons and to Democratic mega-donor George Soros, Judge Wood still should have recused herself rather than compel Cohen to list his clients under such questionable circumstances. Further, federal judges are precluded by law from engaging in partisan political activities as well as from engaging in conduct which causes a “substantial and widespread lowering of public confidence in the courts among reasonable people.”
Also, while some may argue that there is a judicial misconduct complaint process more suitable to the matter at hand than Congressional impeachment, in reality asking Judge Wood’s colleagues to find against her under even the most egregious circumstances is an unlikely prospect. Nearly all such complaints are quickly dismissed without publicly naming the judge(s) against whom they are filed. To demonstrate this point, Marty Gottesfeld is in the process of submitting a judicial misconduct complaint available here against Judge Wood.
However, instead of such quiet efforts, more is needed to dissuade what appears to be a growing number of federal judges who seem to view the laws binding upon them as optional. Indeed, Wood’s decision not to remove herself may be the highest profile instance in recent memory of a federal judge failing to follow the law on recusals, but it is not an isolated occurrence. And the existing judicial complaint process has proved utterly ineffective at curbing this trend, leaving potential impeachment as the only other viable avenue to pursue.
Finally, it is worth trying to imagine what the left would do in a corresponding inverted hypothetical situation in which a federal judge who had been considered for Attorney General by George W. Bush and who later officiated at the wedding of a well-known conservative political donor forced an attorney for Hillary Clinton to publicly list his or her other clients. In such a theoretical instance, might Nancy Pelosi introduce articles of impeachment against that judge?
Marty Gottesfeld is an Obama-era political prisoner and Republican Senate candidate against incumbent Elizabeth Warren. You can donate to his legal defense fund at FreeMartyG.com or to his political campaign at VoteMartyG.com.
This article was originally published at: https://freemartyg.com/paul-ryan-should-move-to-impeach-federal-judge-kimba-wood