Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Should Washington Supreme Court Judge Be Disciplined For Yelling Tyrant At Mukasey?

This little item managed to go unreported at the time Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed last week in Washington while delivering a speech to the Federalist Society. It turns out that Washington Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders shouted, "Tyrant! You are a tyrant!", before walking out on Mukasey's speech. Sanders explained his actions to the Seattle Times:

"Frankly, everybody in the room was applauding or sometimes laughing, and I thought, 'I've got to stand up and say something.' And I did," Sanders told The Seattle Times Tuesday. "I stood up and said, 'Tyrant,' then I sat down again, then I left."

The Seattle Times story notes that Sanders initially refused to acknowledge his actions when first questioned about it by reporters. Mukasey did not collapse until some time after Sanders' outburst. The story notes that Sanders could be disciplined by the state's Judicial Conduct Commission for failing to act "dignified" toward those he deals with in his official capacity. Sanders says he thinks his actions fall within the free speech realm. Sanders was previously admonished for visiting a sex offender treatment center and accepting documents from two of the offenders. He was also disciplined for speaking at an anti-abortion rally, but that action was later overturned by a court.


Paul K. Ogden said...


I have criticized the tendency for attorneys to be disciplined or reprimanded with respect to judicial criticism in Indiana. I don't think attorneys lose their free speech rights when they get sworn in. If you as a judge can't take criticism, then you need to find another position.

But free speech does not mean the right to interrupt someone else's speech. I'm pretty sure the justice would not tolerate someone for doing thatin his courtroom. It's unbelievably that he would attempt to justify his actions. There is no justification whatsoever. The fact, Mukasey collapsed is beside the point. Even if he didn't, the justice's conduct was out of bounds.

Nice find. Gary.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The fact that he yelled at it at the nation's highest law enforcement officer doesn't help his case. Federalist Society events are often attended by plenty of promintent judges and attorneys. It's not like it would go unnoticed.

Ted said...

Best explanation (following 2 you tube videos) I've seen for the total media blackout of what is the single greatest news event and domestic threat -- let's call it OBAMAGATE -- since the outbreak of the American Civil War and for the sincere prayers of the American people that the United States Supreme Court -- let's call it OUR LAST HOPE -- now to have the courage to save our great nation as we have come to know it: