Such a waste....
Let's see if 2015 is the year that judges really step up and start putting a check on the executive by making that chart curve back downwards. Some are hoping that the 11th Circuit will start to change things with all of the new judges, but others are more realistic. From the Daily Report:
... Obama's Eleventh Circuit nominees as a group do not appear to be particularly liberal—and, to the extent they lean left, they may be hamstrung by years of conservative precedent. Jill Pryor once sat on the ACLU of Georgia's legal committee, and Martin has spent considerable time penning dissents to conservative rulings since joining the court. But all of Obama's Eleventh Circuit nominees except Pryor have spent time as prosecutors, and she has spent the bulk of her career as a business litigator. Julie Carnes was appointed to the district court by George H. W. Bush and was selected for the Eleventh Circuit as part of a compromise package of federal court nominees agreed to by the White House and Georgia's senators.
Court watchers should learn more soon.
A group of doctors' request that the entire court examine a controversial, high-profile ruling on guns has been pending since August. A panel in that case rejected the doctors' First Amendment challenge to a Florida law that limits physicians' ability to talk to their patients about firearms.
The Eleventh Circuit is set to hear three cases en banc in February: two criminal cases and a civil case in which the court will revisit aspects of a panel decision that sided with plaintiffs who filed a Fourth Amendment lawsuit over a raid of a barber shop.
Also in February, a three-judge panel is scheduled to hear an Alabama-based, nonprofit Catholic television and radio network's challenge to the federal contraceptive mandate. Unlike the businesses that won their case before the Supreme Court in June, the religious nonprofit can opt out of providing contraceptive coverage, but it has argued that filling out the required form that would signal its third-party health insurance administrator to provide the coverage is itself a violation of the group's religious beliefs. The Eleventh Circuit recently granted oral argument in a similar case brought by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah.
And, although the U.S. Supreme Court may get to the issue first, the Eleventh Circuit has in November and December received an avalanche of briefs from the parties and other interested groups in a case over Florida's ban on marriages by same-sex couples.
Or how about cleaning up the Department of Corrections? Did you see the Herald article about the DOC forging a document regarding a criminal investigation? This is scary:
The Florida Department of Corrections has opened a criminal investigation into whether a public record provided by the agency to the Miami Herald was forged.
The document was a form, purportedly filled out and signed by inmate Harold Hempstead, the whistle-blower who in March leaked details to the newspaper about a gruesome death at Dade Correctional Institution, where inmate Darren Rainey collapsed while locked in a brutally hot shower.
Hempstead’s information led the Herald to investigate the Rainey case as well as other suspicious deaths and possible corruption in the Florida Department of Corrections. By the end of 2014, DCI’s top administrators had been ousted, and the department’s secretary, Michael Crews, had retired.
Last year, in the course of the newspaper’s investigation, Hempstead signed a release giving the Herald blanket permission to obtain all his medical records, waiving the strict health information privacy law known as HIPPA.
The rule provides safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information, and sets limits and conditions on what may be disclosed without patient authorization. Normally, the department heavily redacts its documents, citing the federal law, including details such as where a prisoner is found injured, beaten or dead, where they are transported after they are found and evidence discovered at the scene that the agency believes may reveal an inmate’s medical condition. Examples of redacted items might include descriptions of bloody clothing or, in the case of Rainey, the fact that pieces of skin had fallen off his body.
After Hempstead signed the waiver, a Department of Corrections spokesman informed the newspaper that he had withdrawn his permission to release his records uncensored. When the Herald questioned whether that was true, the spokesman supplied a document — seemingly not in Hempstead’s handwriting — that expressed his change of heart.
Since then, the inmate said, he has told two DOC investigators in two separate interviews that the second document is a fraud.