Sunday, February 06, 2011

6 FEB 11: Recuse Spiders

Justice is supposed to be blind, we're told. But I hear plenty of skeptics who don't think it really is. I surprised one man at church this weekend by mentioning a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court is Catholic. He still didn't seem convinced the court is Christian, but that's another matter....

SUNDAY SOAPBOX: Our main letter writer this weekend is watching Phenix City crime and politics from about 20 miles away....

Sir Richard:

I swerved from my usual practice (Robert's Rules of Order) of checking your BLOG before reading the good ol' L-E, and there to my wondering eyes appeared an Item about the legal shenanigans pertaining to Arthur Sumbry Sr.

The item solidifies my past disclosures about the camaraderie that binds together the local Jurists and the "Good Ol' Boys" in Russell County politics.

I searched several dictionaries and my thesaurus for a definition of the word RECUSE without success It just wasn't there.

I knew the term had to exist, because a quartet of judges had used the procedure to escape me during my efforts to prosecute two mayors and a former police officer in "Hurt'sboro.

Further research led me to WEST'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN LAW.and its definition. is as follows.

RECUSE- A transitive verb -"The disqualification or removal of oneself over a particular proceeding."

It's a legal tactic to avoid responsibility or; God Forbid, incur any disfavor among ones local peers. Once again; Judge Al Johnson is in the spotlight, and rather than risk making another appealable decision; he has decided to pass the buck to someone "outside" the circle of wagons.

If I were to bet - I would put my money on Arthur Sumbry Sr.

R.J. Schweiger

My check of hardbound dictionaries went one-for-two. American Heritage didn't have "recuse." Webster's New World Dictionary did -- saying: "To challenge (a judge, juror, or court) as prejudiced or otherwise incompetent to act." Robert Schweiger probably would lean toward the latter in this case.

I presumed Robert Schweiger knew what "recuse" meant - because he used the word in a previous e-mail to this blog [18 Jan 07]. It's different from "reaccuse," which he's done toward Hurtsboro officials several times here.

While Robert Schweiger calls Russell County Judge Al Johnson a "buck-passer" by recusing himself from the Arthur Sumbry Sr. case, there's another way to look at it. This could be a move to guard against any appearance of impropriety or bias. Imagine if Cam Newton's eligibility for Auburn football had been left up to Nick Saban....

(You'll recall Phenix City Police passed the accusations against Sumbry over to the Russell County Sheriff, because the City Council oversees the police department. Civil rights leaders wanted that done in the Columbus Parks Department investigation -- but they were left standing alone like a goal post at Shirley Winston Park.)

Recusal is done at all levels of government. All federal judges in Arizona have recused themselves from the Gabrielle Giffords shooting case, because one of their colleagues was killed. Yet I seem to be the only person wondering if a Tucson TV station with the call letters KGUN should change them.

We have one more e-mail today, responding to our Friday topic about the plans for Point University in West Point:

I can't waiting for the rim shot on this one and can't believe you didn't funny-up with "Good ole P*eYoo"!


To be honest, that one-liner never occurred to me. I was too busy trying to be like that public radio talk show - "On Point."

I've been asked to emcee a "storytelling night" at a Columbus church - and you're invited to join us! There'll be a worship service, followed by a chili supper/cookoff and the story time. It all starts next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET at Woodmen of the World hall on Milgen Road, across from Christ Community Church.

LAUGHLINE FLASHBACK: Ten years ago this weekend, the Super Bowl was history and a new football league had its premiere. Remember Vince McMahon's Extreme Football League, which had a team in Birmingham? Here's part of what we wrote about it for LaughLine subscribers during 2001:

19 MAR 01: The XFL telecast between Birmingham and Las Vegas ended with a minute to play, so "Saturday Night Live" could start on time. NBC executives may propose today that games be moved to Thursday night, and end so "Friends" can start on time -- at 8:00 p.m. ET.

26 MAR 01: Memo to Vince McMahon: Instead of moving WCW stars Ric Flair, Bill Goldberg and Hulk Hogan into the WWF, put them on XFL teams. There MAY still be time to save this league....

2 APR 01: San Francisco played Las Vegas in Sunday night's XFL matchup - one that UPN billed as an "Elimination Game." But once again they let us down, because we didn't see a single player using the restroom.

(Maybe we misunderstood what UPN meant. If enough people didn't watch the game, the league would be eliminated.....)

16 APR 01: The XFL Playoffs began - with new rules for extra points. Teams can go for one, two, or even THREE after touchdowns. So THAT'S why people haven't been watching this league! The extra points are too boring....

(Memo to Jesse "The Football Analyst" Ventura: you TWICE said the first Chicago-Los Angeles game went to "triple overtime" - when you were there, and it only went to DOUBLE overtime. Are you figuring Minnesota state budgets this way, too?)

23 APR 01: The XFL crowned its first [and only] champion over the weekend -- the Los Angeles Extreme. Trouble is, their victory parade won't get any attention in L.A. unless they can turn it into a police chase.

(This PROVES Vince McMahon fixed the games all along. The team called "Extreme" won the Extreme title. Coincidence?!?!?!)

Los Angeles demolished San Francisco's Demons to win the XFL title. One Extreme player celebrated a touchdown by dropping an imitation of The Rock's "People's Elbow" -- on the ball! Now we know what the players have planned for the off-season - forming World Wrestling Federation tag teams.

The XFL's version of a championship halftime show was to bring together all the league's cheerleaders for a dance number. We hadn't seen so much shaking since NBC executives saw the football league's ratings.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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