On PointVincent Carroll, editor of the editorial pages, writes his On Point column most weekdays. He is also an author and freelance writer. Reach Vincent Carroll at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.
Carroll: Poor judgment
Poor U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham, born a century or so too late, fated to live without the deference and privilege due to someone of his exalted station.
To be sure, in his federal courtroom Nottingham is free to lord it over those who appear before him — a right he reportedly relishes. On the bench, according to a Rocky article earlier this year, he is “known for his short fuse and for asserting his control early.” In the trial of former Qwest chief Joe Nacchio, for example, Nottingham managed to give the U.S. attorney a good dressing down at the very first pretrial hearing.
But outside the courtroom, alas for the judge, it’s a different story. Although Nottingham is the same special individual, the world is not always ready to confirm it, and this can be frustrating in the extreme.
At times, for example, Nottingham will find himself in a crowded parking lot without a single space reserved near the store for dignitaries. When this occurred a month ago, the judge took matters into his own hands: He pulled rank and parked his SUV in a handicapped space.
Judge Nottingham’s attorneys say he “regrets parking in a handicapped space in his haste to pick up a prescription at a local Walgreen’s, but respectfully disagrees with the remainder of Ms. Elliott’s version of this incident.”
“Ms. Elliott” would be Jeanne Elliott, a spunky attorney confined to a wheelchair who cornered the judge and his car in the lot. She says that after she blocked his exit, he announced that he was a federal judge and warned he’d call U.S. marshals if she didn’t clear out.
No wonder Nottingham “disagrees with the remainder of Ms. Elliott’s version of this incident,” since it makes him sound awfully self-important. Which, as we all know, is entirely out of character for this shrinking violet on the federal bench.
Pay the PETA piper
Speaking of judges, one in the Roaring Fork Valley recently ordered a hunter to donate $500 to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals after the fellow baited and killed a bear illegally. Fortunately, Judge Chuck Buss is retired and was only filling in at the time for a vacationing jurist. So perhaps his eccentric sentence won’t catch on.
As The Aspen Times pointed out in an editorial, PETA doesn’t “do anything for wild black bears, and sending money to PETA is a complete waste of a fine ‘in lieu of community service.’ ”
Actually, it’s worse than that. The hunter is being forced to support a group with an agenda that is both strange and radical, and with which he almost certainly disagrees. PETA doesn’t merely push for humane treatment of animals and for humans to stop eating meat and wearing furs. Lots of people either sympathize with those positions or consider them intellectually respectable.
No, PETA goes much further. It has demonstrated time and again that it sees no moral distinction between species, that it believes killing an animal is equivalent to human murder. It’s a doctrine with revolutionary implications for any culture.
A few years ago, to cite the most notorious evidence for this attitude, PETA launched a Holocaust on Your Plate campaign. One of the claims: the “leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps.” No wonder PETA thought nothing of such grotesque comparisons as a picture of starving camp inmates juxtaposed with a photo of caged chickens.
Eventually the group issued a halfhearted apology, all the while continuing to assert that “the logic and methods employed in factory farms and slaughterhouses are analogous to those used in concentration camps.”
Given such a fringe worldview, it’s no wonder that PETA considers it unethical not only to eat fish but even to keep them in aquariums — to mention just one of its more exotic views. If judges can force convicted offenders to support an outfit like that, then what group would fail to qualify for similar subsidies?
Vincent Carroll is editor of the editorial pages. Reach him at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.
Are you kidding?
How about some relevancy Vince?Posted by jay on October 23, 2007 09:01 AM
Another slow day at the office? What a waste of ink and paper for today's column. Use your space wisely....not with foolhardy junk.
I wonder what the prescription was for? Is there a drug for false sense of entitlement?Posted by just sayin' on October 24, 2007 08:20 AM
Snotty-Notty should be jailed. He sentenced ex-black Denver US Marshal Benny Bailey (26 years service) to 6 years in federal prison, just because Bailey got some white "nookie", and he lied about it. Snotty-Notty should be jailed becuae he, Bush and Ashcroft viiiolated Bailey's constitutional rights. They had no legal right to even ask Bailey about his sex life. The NAACP, ACLU, and Congressional Black Caucus, all cut and ran of Bailey.Posted by 40acresandmymuleandNAMvetbennies on October 24, 2007 05:53 PM