February 13, 2004
The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary
2138 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Re: Request for Impeachment Investigation
Dear Chairman Sensenbrenner:
Judicial Watch, Inc. is a non-profit, non-partisan, tax exempt Section 501(c)(3) public interest educational foundation that relies on the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), the civil discovery process, and court litigation, among other tools, to educate the American people about corruption in government and other abuses of power by public officials, and to hold the responsible parties accountable. One of its purposes is to provide the public with information that exposes misconduct by members of the judiciary.
We are writing to request that the U.S. House Judiciary Committee commence a formal impeachment investigation of Justice Boyce F. Martin, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Martin appears to have engaged in conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the court in at least two cases. In fact, Acting Chief Judge Alice Batchelder, ruling on Judicial Watch’s January 28, 2003 judicial complaint, found that the complaint raised, “an inference that misconduct had occurred.”
On January 28, 2003, Judicial Watch filed a judicial misconduct complaint against then-Chief Judge Martin. (Attached as Exhibit 1). The complaint raised questions about Judge Martin’s conduct in two cases: In re Byrd, 269 F.3d 578 (6th Cir. 2001) and Grutter v. Bollinger, 288 F.3d 732 (6th Cir. 2002). Judicial Watch alleged that Judge Martin had ignored established procedures and law of the Sixth Circuit in order to affect his own agenda.
Acting Chief Judge Batchelder issued her opinion on Judicial Watch’s complaint on May 28, 2003. (Attached as Exhibit 2). In her ruling, Judge Batchelder held that the complaint against Judge Martin raised the “inference that misconduct has occurred.” However, instead of initiating an investigation or ordering corrective action against Judge Martin, Judge Batchelder concluded that the court “has taken and is taking corrective action regarding all allegations in this complaint.” Judge Batchelder also stated that, due to the fact that Judge Martin’s tenure as Chief Judge was coming to an end, additional action was unnecessary.
On June 25, 2003, Judicial Watch appealed Judge Batchelder’s order to the Judicial Council of the Sixth Circuit. (Attached as Exhibit 3). Judicial Watch’s appeal requested that the Council begin an official investigation into the actions of Judge Martin based on the fact that an inference of misconduct had been found but no remedial action was taken.
The Council affirmed Judge Batchelder’s order in a brief opinion written by Acting Chief Judge Julia Smith Gibbons on July 30, 2003. (Attached as Exhibit 4). Judge Gibbons’ affirmance rested on the fact that Judge Martin’s seven-year tenure as Chief Judge was ending, thereby making additional action unnecessary.
As Judicial Watch has properly followed the procedures for making judicial misconduct complaints, but has still not obtained an acceptable result, we ask that you begin a formal impeachment investigation into Judge Martin’s action.
An impeachment investigation into Judge Martin’s actions is entirely appropriate in this case. It is very clear that the Sixth Circuit found Judicial Watch’s complaint raised an inference of judicial misconduct. The Sixth Circuit and the Council’s conclusion -- that Judge Martin’s tenure as Chief Judge was due to expire - - simply does not address Judge Martin’s misconduct. Regardless of what position Judge Martin currently retains, his ability to retain any position on the Court sends a message to other judges that misconduct will be left unpunished. As long as Judge Martin has a place on the Court, he can continue to engage in misconduct. In fact, after the complaint against him became public, Judge Martin lashed out at his fellow judges and remained defiant and unapologetic about his actions. Additionally, Judge Martin’s actions violated the public trust. This in and of itself, is grounds for an impeachment investigation.
In addition, ignoring Judge Martin’s misconduct poses another, even greater danger - - a continuing and mounting perception by the public that the judiciary is unaccountable and corrupt. Judge Martin blatantly ignored established law and procedures in order to effectuate his own agenda. He then publically mocked the complaint and the Court’s findings, and launched personal attacks against his fellow judges. Judge Martin’s very public disregard for law, and the lack of a any remedial action, suggests to the public that judges are indeed above the law, even when they are found to have committed acts of judicial misconduct. This seriously undermines the public confidence not only in Judge Martin’s ability to perform his official functions, but also the public’s confidence in the judiciary as a whole. No amount of review or clarification of the court’s procedures will address this public concern or correct the damage done to the reputation and integrity of the court.
We therefore ask, respectfully, that a formal impeachment investigation of Judge Martin commence. We ask that you refer this request to the House Judiciary Committee for action.
Thank you for your cooperation.
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.