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Did you hear about the mutiny over at the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct ?

In a statement released on April 13, 2007 , the Commission's members expressed disapproval of a book co-authored by its Chair, Raoul Lionel Felder (a noted matrimonial attorney).

Mr. Felder decided to team up with comedian Jackie Mason on a publication called, "Schmucks!" And in it, the pair takes stabs at their "favorite fakes, frauds, lowlifes, liars, the armed and dangerous and good guys gone bad."

Objecting to the "crude, biased, vulgar and otherwise demeaning" content, the Commission's members are of the opinion that the publication has not only impugned the group's "dignity," but has also seriously compromised Felder's ability to serve as Chair.

The statement notes:

We expect all members of the Commission, and especially the Chair, to forgo certain rights and privileges in order to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety and to maintain the trust and confidence of the public and the judiciary. The Chair is not free, for example to express publicly, even in his private capacity, opinions that might reasonably cast doubt on the Chair's or Commission's ability to be and appear fair and impartial, or opinions that undermine the integrity and dignity of the office of Chair. 

Here's some of the content the Commission took issue with:

  • The book repeatedly invokes racial, ethnic and religious invective. Such statements are inconsistent with the Commission's role in enforcing the judicial obligations to refrain from words or conduct that manifest bias based on race, religion or national origin, and to require court employees and lawyers to refrain from such conduct.
  • The book asserts that "anytime you hear the word 'allegedly,' you can bet it's true." Such a viewpoint is untenable from a Commission member whose role is to evaluate allegations of judicial misconduct and identify those that have merit.
  • The book claims that "nothing in our country is more insidious than affirmative action." Such a sentiment raises a reasonable perception that the speaker could not pass fair judgment on anyone he perceived to have benefited from affirmative action.

Finding the damage to be irreparable, the statement  advises that the Commission is now exploring options to remove Felder as Chair.

And, Rodney Dangerfield thought he had problems!