PHILLIPS: The insufferable whining of John Roberts

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is complaining about his funding. Isn't that one of the first things we should cut? Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, January 2, 2014 — The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is at it again. John Roberts, the legal genius who ignored the Constitution so he could rewrite Obamacare and make it legal, is complaining again.

This time, he is complaining about the funding of the federal judiciary. He says that the sequester budget cuts have deprived the federal judiciary of “the funding it needs.”

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John Roberts’ creative writing is not limited to his rewriting of Obamacare to make it constitutional. The portion of his report where he talks about the funding the Federal Courts “need” is pure fantasy. 

Roberts has confused “need” and “want.” Like any professional bureaucrat, he not only wants to protect his turf, he wants to continue to build his bureaucratic empire.

The problem with the federal judiciary is not that it is underfunded. It is overfunded. 

Last year in federal courts there were 271,950 civil cases filed and 69,449 criminal cases filed. Of those 69,449 criminal cases filed in federal court, probably 69,000 of them did not need to be filed.

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Somewhere in the neighborhood of 99 percent of all federal criminal cases filed have a state court corollary.  In other words, the offense could have been prosecuted in state courts.  Sometimes crimes are prosecuted in both state and federal courts. 

In 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people. McVeigh was convicted in federal court and given the death penalty. Terry Nichols was also convicted in federal court, but on lesser charges that precluded the death penalty. The Oklahoma City district attorney’s office indicted Nichols for the same counts of murder he had been tried on in federal court. Unfortunately, the result was the same and Nichols dodged the death penalty.

Instead of complaining about the funding he receives, John Roberts could demand that the Department of Justice, under the supervision of Congress, simply stop filing criminal cases.

Other than treason and possibly federal income-tax evasion, there are almost no crimes that compel exclusive federal jurisdiction. Federal prosecutors have this wonderful option: They can decline to prosecute cases and frequently do. Federal prosecutors love to prosecute cases involving a convicted felon in possession of firearms. Every state has a similar statute. There is no reason to prosecute those cases in federal court.

Drug conspiracies are another crime federal prosecutors love. They love to point out that in cases where large amounts of drugs are moved from, say, Texas to Tennessee, you have interstate issues.  That is absolutely true. And there is no reason why the drug cases cannot be prosecuted separately in the state courts of Texas and Tennessee. 

When our Founding Fathers created the federal court system, they envisioned a system that would primarily handle civil litigation and the occasional federal criminal offense. The prosecution of criminal offenses, with the exception of treason and possibly a couple of others, should be left to the states and not the federal government.

The government is awash in waste, fraud, abuse and duplicated services. Cutting the federal judiciary is a great place to start.

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More from Judson Phillips: Cold, Hard Truth
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Judson Phillips

Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet.

A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says.

Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in February 2009 after hearing Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC.   “I heard there was going to be a Tea Party in Chicago inspired by Santelli, but didn’t know if anyone was doing a rally in Nashville where I was based.  Finally I emailed Michelle Malkin and asked her if there was a Tea Party in Nashville.  Malkin sent an email back saying, ‘No, why don’t you organize one?’  I did.”

The first Tea Party in Nashville was held late February 2009 which drew a crowd of about 600. Judson then organized the Tax Day Tea Party in Nashville, which drew over 10,000 people into downtown.   It was at this time that Tea Party Nation was formed.  Later that year, Judson decided to bring activists from across the country together, so he organized the first National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, which featured Alaska’s former Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin as it’s keynote speaker.

He currently manages the Tea Party Nation website, writes several daily columns and is working on more projects than any one person should.  He is a frequent guest on cable and broadcast news shows, including on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and others.

Contact Judson Phillips


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