Tanner Andrews

Lately, I read of judges lamenting the loss of trust. We even have Supremes traveling the country claiming they are not a bunch of partisan hacks.

Sorry, that boat sailed 20 years ago. When they announced that counting all the votes would violate the equal protection rights of voters in preferred portions of the county, they pretty well lost credibility.

There are at least two justices now who are well and truly caught. They accepted lavish vacations and favors from wealthy people with interests before the court.

Technically, it is not bribery, because the gifts do not come with explicit direction. Still, the court prefers to preserve the illusion of honesty. Justices attempt that by failing to disclose the gifts.

It does not work. Grifting is not the way to enhance public trust. Neither is whining about the lack of trust.

It is not confined to federal courts, either. In Florida, a one-party system has appointed an appellate judiciary that is, ahem, underwhelming. I may be fat, dumb and lazy, but these guys are examples.

The U.S. Supremes get vacations from interested friends, but then return and sit for several months per year. In our District Courts of Appeal, every day is vacation day.

The preferred technique is what we call a PCA, or “per curiam affirmed.” I think that is Latin for “Nice weather, let’s go chase a few golf balls around.”

Effectively, a bunch of judges, who are rarely or never seen working by the public, say that they just do not want to bother to explain their ruling.

They do it to ordinary people all the time. No one cares. Someone loses a bunch of money, or their home, but it is just one guy and maybe his family.

You would hope that, for important cases, they might actually pay attention. Your upcoming property-tax bill will tell you otherwise.

The 5th District Court of Appeal over in Daytona Beach has just PCA’d our West Volusia Hospital Authority.

I assume that it is laziness, not corruption.

Either way, get ready for a tax increase. Halifax Hospital is about to get about $5 million of our West Volusia taxes in order to increase their Medicaid profit margin.

Maybe the judges were too lazy to explain. Or, and I am speculating here as to what they were thinking —, maybe they were too embarrassed to show their faces.

— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.


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