Saturday, March 3, 2018

Another federal judge goes off the rails

The following article appeared in the American Thinker on March 1st

This one is Judge Juan R. Torruella, of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston.  This 84-year-old dinosaur was nominated to the court in the pre-Reagan era, in 1974, by President Gerald Ford.  As a Puerto Rican native and strong advocate for the island, the judge is so troubled by his home island's financial difficulties that he's calling for a federal grand jury investigate to see if criminal cases can be made against those responsible for the Puerto Rican government's monumental debt.

To quote him: "I request an investigation by a federal grand jury to determine if there are criminal cases against individuals and organizations inside and outside of Puerto Rico in relation to the economic crisis facing the country." 

What prompted such an outburst at this late hour?  It's that Judge Torruella notes massive amounts of U.S. taxpayer money is pouring into Puerto Rico in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria.  He rightly worries that the same corruption and incompetence that led to the island's pre-hurricane financial disaster will be repeated.  He doesn't want to see that money squandered and drained away to political lackeys.  Here, the judge has a legitimate concern.  However...

If the grand jury honestly looked into the matter, it could indict the entire political establishment of Puerto Rico for malfeasance or misfeasance along with the island's public-sector unions.  And would such an investigation turn into a witch hunt to hook those deep-pocketed outsiders who had the audacity to loan money to Puerto Rico?  Probably.

Where the judge really goes off the rails is when he engages in the blatantly political.  As the San Juan Daily Star reports:

He also called attention to the "passivity' with which the island has accepted unequal treatment by the U.S. government, and called for mobilizing what he called "allies" in minority sectors in the mainland U.S. to denounce the violation of Puerto Rican civil rights.  "It is time for that passivity to end," Torruella said.  "Our cause is just."

So the judge states that, in his esteemed view, America has been violating the civil rights of Puerto Ricans.  He also calls for political action within the Puerto Rican communities settled in the United States to do what?  For such advocacy, Judge Torruella needs to step down from the bench and hit the lecture circuit to make his case.  Otherwise, he is abusing the power invested to him.

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