Federal and State Judges Think they Can Overrule the US Supreme Court

Jeff Barnes has put into words what I have been thinking about for several weeks. Barnes is a lawyer who has concentrated on foreclosure defense and has won many cases across the country. He is a good lawyer, which means that he understands how to get traction. So when he complains about Judges, people ought to sit up and take notice.

I think he has hit the nail on the head:

DISTURBING NEWS: CERTAIN JUDGES CLAIM THAT SUPREME COURT DECISIONS ARE NOT BINDING ON THEM
Posted on October 22, 2015

October 22, 2015

In recent months, we have been advised by homeowners in different states that certain Judges in those states have taken the position that decisions by either the Supreme Court of that state or decisions of the United States Supreme Court are not binding on them. Taking such a position violates the Judge’s duties as an officer of the Court, erodes confidence in the judiciary, and renders the public more suspicious of the court system than it already is.

A Judge is duty-bound to follow the “law of the land” whether they agree with it or not. A Judge cannot impose his or her own personal views as to whether the state or US Supreme Court made the correct decision on an issue: when a state Supreme Court or the US Supreme Court decides a specific legal issue, the law is established and Judges must follow it. State supreme courts (other than as so denominated in New York, as the “Supreme Court” is a lower level court in NY) and the US Supreme Court are the highest appellate courts, and their decisions establish “the law of the land”: a state Supreme Court decision establishes the law for that State, while the US Supreme Court establishes the law for the country.

In our experience, the overwhelming majority of Judges are fair, honest, considerate of the position of both sides, and take the law into account when rendering their decisions. The examples below are isolated, but the fact that two such examples have been recently brought to our attention is disturbing.

One of the cases which we were advised of concerned the use of Mr. Barnes’ successful appeal of the MERS issues in the Supreme Court of Montana, which by its decision established that MERS was not the “beneficiary” of a Deed of Trust despite claiming to be so. Although this decision was issued two years ago, the homeowner advised that when that decision was presented to a local Montana county Judge, the Judge took the position that he was not bound by the Supreme Court of Montana’s decision.

Another homeowner advised us that in a prior foreclosure-related hearing before a state court Judge that the Judge told the homeowner that he was not bound by decisions of the United States Supreme Court.

This contempt and disrespect for state Supreme Courts and the US Supreme Court is beyond disconcerting.  There is no reason why homeowners facing foreclosure should be treated adversely when a decision of a state or the US Supreme Court is in favor of them and presented to the Judge. “And Justice for All” means just that: it does not mean “except no justice for homeowners in foreclosure.”

Jeff Barnes, Esq.

see http://foreclosuredefensenationwide.com/?p=612

We see it in many cases involving rescission. It is isn’t that the Judge doesn’t understand. As pointed out by Justice Scalia in the Jesinoski decision the wording of the Federal statute on TILA Rescission could not be more clear and could not be less susceptible to judicial construction. In that unanimous decision of the US Supreme Court in January, 2015, the Court said that like it or not, notice of rescission is effective by operation of law when mailed and nothing else is required to make it effective. The court specifically said that common law rescission is different than the statutory rescission in the Truth in Lending Act.

In fact, the court was perplexed as to how or why any judge would have found otherwise. Thousands of Judges in hundreds of thousands of cases had refused to apply the plain wording of the TILA statute 15 USC 1635. Then came Jesinoski in which the Supreme court said there is no distinction between disputed and undisputed rescissions — they are both effective upon mailing by operation of law. That became the law of the land.

And yet, trial judges and even appellate court are again leaning toward NOT upholding the law and NOT forcing the banks to comply with statute. Many more are “reserving ruling” denying the homeowner remedies that are readily available through TILA Rescission. These courts don’t like TILA rescission. They don’t want to punish the banks for bad behavior. But that is what Congress wanted when they passed TILA 50 years ago.

As many Judges have said in their own written findings and opinions — if you don’t like the law then change it; don’t come to a court of law and expect a judge to change the law. Whether this will lead to some sort of discipline for Judges or simply make them vulnerable to being removed from the bench is unknown. What I do know is that when ordinary people come to realize that the foreclosure crisis could end now, thus stimulating our limping economy, they will likely vote accordingly.

Any Judge who refuses to follow the law as it is written and passed by a legislative body and signed into law by the executive branch (the {President or the Governor) has no right to be on the bench and should resign if his “moral compass” makes following the law so onerous that he or she cannot uphold the laws. In the absence of resignation, then momentum will likely rise and push the agenda of those people who want such judges removed involuntarily. Those Judges are acting against the most basic thrust of our society — that we are a nation of laws and not of men. We have a very well defined process of passing laws and that does not include any one person (on or off the bench) deciding on their own the way the law should read.

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