Arthur Hellman Quoted in New York Times on Possible Impeachment of Federal Judge
The Judicial Conference of the United States told Congress that impeachment might be warranted for Mark E. Fuller, a former Federal District Court judge in Alabama, even though he had already resigned after being arrested and accused of striking his wife. The New York Times called on Pitt Law Professor Arthur D. Hellman for expert commentary.
“They didn’t pull any punches,” said Hellman, who specializes in judicial ethics. “They didn’t try to whitewash it in any way, and I think that’s part of the message they’re trying to convey: If a federal judge does something bad, the judiciary will take steps to force him off the bench.”
Hellman put the Judicial Conference action in the context of the sometimes tense relationship between Congress and the judiciary. Members of Congress have long voiced questions about judicial conduct, so much so that in 2004, Chief Justice Rehnquist appointed a panel to evaluate the judiciary’s approach.
Although the panel made recommendations in its public report, questions persisted, and Hellman said the Judicial Conference’s notice appeared to be a renewed effort to ease Congress’ worries about the effectiveness of judicial discipline.