Federal Judge James Rosenbaum ruled today that he did not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear former Judge Willard Proctor's request that the federal court enjoin his removal from the bench and allow him to file to seek another term. The suit was dismissed.
Proctor was removed from the Pulaski Circuit Court bench by the Arkansas Supreme Court for multiple ethical violations. He has contended he's a victim of racial discrimination and that other constitutional rights were violated. In responding to his suit, defendants said that he should take constitutional claims to the U.S. Supreme Court, an avenue suggested by the judge. Rosenbaum noted that Proctor had been given an opportunity to raise constitutional issues in the state proceeding, but had declined to do so. The judge specifically rejected Proctor's claim that he retained "executive duties" that allowed him to remain in office, even though he'd been stripped of judicial duties. The judge said those executive duties, such as running his controversial probation office, were "entirely based" on his judicial work.
Rosenbaum, a Minnesota judge who heard the case when Little Rock judges recused, cited a legal doctrine that says federal district courts have no authority to review final judgements of a state court in a judicial proceeding or constitutional claims "inextricably intertwined" with claims already heard in state court.
ps -- Since no news medium in this town, save maybe Roby Brock and The Tolbert Report and this blog, has the good grace to acknowlege competitors' work, I will toot our horn. But for Mara Leveritt's reporting in the Times, Proctor would still be cavorting with defendants in his court, putting probationers in a gulag-like debtor's prison and burdening the county jail with people producing fees for a nonprofit he created. You're welcome, Arkansas.