High Crimes and [NFL] Misdemeanors? Members Raise Impeachment In Fuller Case

fuller-mugshotWe previously discussed the arrest of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller in Alabama for misdemeanor battery of his wife. Now members are raising the possibility of impeachment if he does not resign despite the absence of a conviction on the misdemeanor. Rep. Martha Roby (R., Alabama) is citing a rather novel source of extraconstitutional precedent: the NFL Ray Rice case.

imagesRoby (whose father, Joel Dubina, is a U.S. circuit court judge on senior status) is willing to allow the judiciary’s disciplinary process to play out but says that the Congress should act promptly the way the NFL has done to show that “Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated, explained away or swept under the rug.”

While I am a huge Bears fan, I generally keep my love for football separate from my constitutional analysis. Indeed, next to the Pirates of Penzance, the NFL is the last group that I would look to for legal guidance on most questions.

As lead counsel for the last judge to be impeached, Tom Porteous, I would hope that members consider the constitutional rather than the NFL standard for impeachment and removal. The Good Behavior Clause in Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, which states that all federal judges “shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.” The reference to judges holding office only “during good behavior” is often misunderstood as a standard that allows removal for simply bad behavior. In reality, while some have argued that perhaps a higher standard is meant to be imposed by the language, it has at a minimum required the showing under the Impeachment Clause in Article II, Section 4, that allows for removal of “civil officers” (which would include federal judges) in cases of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” This requires a majority of the House and two-thirds of the Senate.

Being suspended from football is not the same as being removed from the courts. Both involve people who are “benched” but that is the full extent of the analogy. It is no better an analogy than Fuller claiming that battery of a spouse is merely a form of “unnecessary roughness.” I respect the strong feelings of Rep. Roby and most people about these allegations. I share them. I also do not mean to suggest that Rep. Roby is unaware of the constitutional standard. However, there are serious issues here of both criminal and constitutional law. We can leave Ray Rice out of it. The issue should first be allowed to be fully considered by the criminal legal process and judicial disciplinary process before Congress starts any discussion of impeachment.

Source: Montgomery Advertiser

41 thoughts on “High Crimes and [NFL] Misdemeanors? Members Raise Impeachment In Fuller Case”

  1. and I don’t know what your comments ah e to do with it. Judge fuller wasn’t in an elevator. But Ms. Rice did go after thr Mr. In the elevator. And no doubt Mrs. Fuller went after mister too.. What bride wouldn’t in her circumstance. And that is the problem …if society really up held marriage she would not have to resort to self help…society failed her. We either define and uphold marriage as something or it’s just a fundamenatal right to who you want to buk that week. I stand behind Mrs. Fuller. She had every right ti kick his ass….and I stand behind the judge for defending himself. Unless we are going to get beind marriage we may as well let queers do it. And let the federal judiciary write divorce grounds too. Bull crap. We can do better we did do better.

  2. no judges too like fuller want a constitutional right to marry and a state right to screw around on tbeir bride….leaving her no option but to kick his but….and how convient he can claim self defense. What a sharade….and to think the powers to be want to make it a constitutional sharade. Jerks..

  3. this is how stupid a federal constitutional right to marry is. He has a ‘windsor’ right to marry and a state right to fux around. And when wife number one says bullcrap..and they duke it out it becomes a federal case. Bullcrap even if they slapped each other around what was the alternative? So because states went to no fault marriage isn’t marriage ….it’s a fedetal offense…tell me what besides beating her man can a woman do about adultery? And what than per se can a man do about getting blamed for it than selfdefense…like this. Maybe ya think if he’d off beencharged on the first hard on the wife wouldn’t have beat him. But society leaves her no choice….cuz thay don’t really stand behind marriage. Mrs. Fullers do. And then in the fiht Mr. Fullers have self defense. No one would be beat if society reallly stood behind marriage….but politicians want a constitutional right to marry and a state right to bbukk around.

  4. maybe if society upheld even the notion of marraige he would not have screwd with the clerk and his wife would not have called him on it so he would’t have drug her around the room. Society is to blame. Pure and simple. If male poloticians would not have done away with adultry laws none of this would have happened. Blah blah it happenened cuz Mrs. Fuller found out he was scrwing around. Had society upheld marriage…he’d of never screwed around and she wouldn’t need to start a fight. Oh you all are for marriage so long as you get a mistrress too. That is a constitutional right …right? He acted in full defense of his constitutional right to chrat on hid wife. And when she attacked him he acted in self defense. Now do you see how stupid a constitutional right to marry is?

  5. With reference to the precedent of the indictment, for abuse of power and coercion of a public official, of the Governor of Texas, Rep. Martha Roby (R., Alabama) must be immediately indicted for abuse of power and coercion of a public official in an attempt to compel a resignation.

    U.S. District Judge Fuller committed misdemeanor battery of his wife and the “high crimes” of contempt of Congress, defrauding Congress, corruption of the authority of appointed office and violation of the public trust. No higher crime exists than to debase the very governance of a nation.

  6. PCS, “domestic abuse” and/or “marital relations” are a tough call, private or state, but the Rices agreed to marry post facto. I guess they like it and it works for them.

    The media reported that not only has she struck him, but that she spat or “expectorated” on him.

    The Rice’s appear to like it, or are perfectly adapted to, rough.

  7. How bad can a woman get? Here’s Joan Rivers in full attack mode. Guys, get some body cams……And then litigate it.

    1. John – I am not a fan of domestic abuse, either way. When it occurs in a public elevator it is a public event. However, I think she should have been charged as well. There is tape of her hitting him before they get on the elevator. Cuts both ways.

  8. What did he do to assault the wife? Did she leave him? Is he divorced? Is the assault bad enough to inflict jail time? Does she have family who will kick the Judge’s arse?

  9. “It Takes Two To Tango.”

    Married to the State or the Spouse?

    Under the American concept of individual freedom and self-reliance, the citizens are the sovereign, not the state. Marital relations should be private and entirely those of the spouses. They set and live with the rules and parameters. If one of the spouses decides the parameters have been exceeded and reports abuse to the authorities for criminal prosecution, divorce should be compulsory and immediate. This should be agreed to by the parties. While counseling was and is available, it is dubious to contend that behavior can be modified.

    Video of married spouses in a public place but not affecting or in the presence or view of the public, such as an elevator, should remain private and its release should constitute an actionable invasion of privacy. Release of video of individuals who reasonably “believe” they are in private and not perceivable to the public, should be an invasion of privacy. Private citizens should be allowed reasonable private “space” in public.

    The Rice family understood its relationships and their dynamics. The parties understood the reactions, tendencies and capacity of each. In their case, one might expectorate, the other rapidly manipulate an appendage. As these individuals later married and recognized their “mistakes” and “human failures,” they found the relationship acceptable. Aspects of a relationship may be acceptable to some people and not others. Individuals are different. Children learn from parents who learned from parents who learned from parents. In may be an insurmountable task for the law to affect the beliefs and innate behavior of all individuals.

    If the spouses agree, the crime is victimless.

    Is the state’s dominion compelling or the freedom of the individuals?

    1. John – several states would disagree with you. And I do not think you have an expectation of privacy in a public elevator.

  10. The “Rule of Thumb.”

    Sir Francis Buller, 1st Baronet (17 March 1746 – 5 June 1800) was an English judge.

    “His conduct on the bench, however, was often the subject of severe criticism, accused of being hasty and prejudiced. He was caricatured as “Judge Thumb” by James Gillray in 1782, because of an alleged statement made by Buller that a husband could thrash his wife with impunity provided that he used a stick no bigger than his thumb.”

  11. If members of Congress want this standard applied to others how about they apply it to themselves. Look at the number of felony convictions against sitting members of Congress and then decide where police should focus their resources.

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