The absurdly-named theocratic group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms — whose Executive Director Reverend Jason J. McGuire says he belives that a gay person successfully can pray to Jesus and thereby become heterosexual, and that that is a constitutionally valid reason legally to prohibit same sex marriage — along with other theocratic plaintiffs brought a lawsuit seeking to have New York’s Marriage Equality Act declared null and void, and all of the same sex marriages entered into under it also declared annulled.
In a Decision signed November 18, 2011, Livingston County Acting Supreme Court Judge Robert B. Wiggins dismissed all but one of the Plaintiffs’ allegations. The one surviving allegation is legally dubious. Judge Wiggins’s written decision is chock full of unjudicial, unprofessional bias and political propaganda. Even if it turns out that he has properly decided on the one surviving allegation, the bias and political propaganda he wrote into his Decision constitutes conduct unbecoming an Acting Supreme Court Judge.
It is significant that Wiggins is an Acting Supreme Court Judge, because it is imaginable that he might want to do things to appeal to political gay-bashing Republicans and Tea Partiers in rural Livingston County such that they would nominate him for a full fourteen-year term on the Livingston County Supreme Court.
The Plaintiffs’ largely if not entirely bogus Complaint may be viewed here, Attorney General Schneiderman’s Response may be viewed here, and Judge Wiggins’s Decision shot through with unprofessional, non-judicial bias and political propaganda may be viewed here. A sober-minded and highly-intelligent legal assessment of the situation may be read here, on New York Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard’s blog, always a “must read.”
What follows is the text of a letter I am sending to the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct, asking it to investigate Judge Wiggins. The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct’s site is here.
Whereas, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct receives and reviews written complaints of misconduct against judges of the state unified court system;
And whereas, the types of complaints that may be investigated by the Commission include bias, prejudice, corruption, prohibited business or political activity and other misconduct on or off the bench;
I, Scott Rose, acting both as a New York State resident and as an investigative journalist for — and contributor to — the publication The New Civil Rights Movement (www.TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com), submit to the Commission the present Complaint regarding Acting Supreme Court Judge Robert B. Wiggins of the Supreme Court in Livingston County in the State of New York.
This Complaint involves Judge Wiggins’s “Decision and Order,” having the Index Number 807-2011 and dated November 18, 2011. The Decision regards a challenge to New York’s Marriage Equality Act.
The Verified Complaint that initiated the case lists as Plaintiffs 1) New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, an anti-gay organization of bullying theocrats, whose website states “As a Christian ministry, NYCF exists to influence legislation and legislators for the Lord Jesus Christ”; 2) NYCF’s Executive Director, Reverend Jason J. McGuire; 3) NYCF’s Senior Lobbyist Reverend Duane R. Motley, and 4) Rabbi Nathan S. Leiter, another anti-gay, bullying theocrat who is Executive Director of Torah Jews for Decency.
Named as Defendants are 1) The New York State Senate; 2) The New York State Department of Health; and 3) Eric T. Schneiderman in his official capacity as The Attorney General of the State of New York.
Judge Wiggins’s Decision emanates bias.
In this case, Defendant Schneiderman had filed a Motion to Dismiss, as well as a Memorandum of Law in support of that motion. In his Decision, Judge Wiggins said apropos of Schneiderman’s Memorandum of Law that it “spews sanctimonious verbiage.” The question arises whether an unbiased, impartial judge would in a Decision write that a Defendant’s court document “spews sanctimonious verbiage.”
An examination of the context of Judge Wiggins’s phrase “spews sanctimonious verbiage” solidifies an impression that in his Decision, Judge Wiggins included non-judicial, political propaganda indicative of bias. Where Judge Wiggins wrote that the State’s brief “spews sanctimonious verbiage,” he was emotionally expressing an opinion regarding the Plaintiffs’ allegation – (as made in the Plaintiffs’ Verified Complaint) — of a “corrupt legislative process” including “the Governor’s violation of the constitutionally mandated three-day review period before the Legislature votes on a bill by unjustifiably issuing a message of necessity.”
Judge Wiggins concluded that Governor Cuomo’s handling of the message of necessity was entirely legal. That is to say, in his Decision, Judge Wiggins ultimately acknowledges that legally, the Plaintiffs’ allegation regarding Cuomo’s use of the message of necessity was without merit. Nonetheless, instead of organizing this section of his Decision around a legal analysis of why the Plaintiffs’ allegation regarding Cuomo’s use of the message of necessity was without merit, Judge Wiggins organized this section of his Decision around chastising Governor Cuomo over his use of the message of necessity. He did so, even though as a matter of law, a Governor’s message of necessity is not subject to judicial review.
Several aspects of this section of Judge Wiggins’s Decision suggest that Judge Wiggins might 1) personally engage in bullying non-acceptance of gay people; and/or that he might 2) in hopes of advancing his personal professional fortunes, not stop short of pandering – within the text of a Court Decision — to those that documentably do engage in bullying non-acceptance of gay people.
There is an appearance that Judge Wiggins — presently an ***Acting*** Supreme Court Judge — could be politicking, through this Decision document, in hopes of getting Livingston County conservatives to ***nominate*** him for a full fourteen year term as Supreme Court Judge in Livingston County.
Continue to Part II.
New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.
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