I sat eating pizza at lunch time while reading Judge Clay D. Land’s order sanctioning Orly Taitz to the tune of $20,000. He clearly thought long and hard about the matter, and devoted considerable study as to what was appropriate, and in preparing the appeals court for the inevitable appeal.
Judge Land did not put a dollar figure on the disruption to the court calendar, and the extra workload that Taitz’s “emergency” frivolous lawsuits have caused his staff and government attorneys, but it must have been considerable. I have written before about the cost the people of the United States bear due to birther lawsuits (an article not well received by birthers who are used to blaming everything on somebody else).
While the language of the Order, at least to me, shows a clear sense of outrage over Orly Taitz’s behavior, it also seems that Judge Land gets no satisfaction from the punishment. Citing another district judge, Land wrote:
Of all the duties of the judge, imposing sanctions on lawyers is perhaps the most unpleasant. A desire to avoid doing so is understandable. But if judges turn from Rule 11 and let it fall into disuse, the message to those inclined to abuse or misuse the litigation process will be clear. Misconduct, once tolerated, will breed more misconduct and those who might seek relief against abuse will instead resort to it in self-defense.
While some might be celebrating the “smack down,” my emotion, at least, is one of relief. It increases my hope that one tool of the smear campaign against Barack Obama (the frivolous lawsuit) may be entering its closing phase. I get no joy from Orly Taitz being punished, and honestly I don’t want to see anyone else similarly punished (whatever I may say when Mario Apuzzo gets my goat [no pun intended)]. Nevertheless, the courts are not there for political publicity stunts. These attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits must be reminded that they are officers of the court as well as advocates for their clients. If that worthy end is obtained, then the sanctions will be worth it.