Posted by Judicial Watch on September 15, 2017 8:03 pm

SEPTEMBER 15, 2017

Judge Adams: Social Security Claimants Waited Years for Rulings on Disability Benefits; Court Misspent Tax Dollars

 (Washington, DC) — Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of Akron, Ohio-based federal judge John R. Adams, who recently was the subject of an unprecedented and entirely unwarranted ruling by a disciplinary panel. (The Hon. John R. Adams v. The Judicial Council of the Sixth Circuit, et al. (No. 1:17-cv-01894)).

An August 14, 2017 decision by a review panel of the Washington-based Judicial Conference upheld an administrative ruling by the Sixth Circuit Judicial Council finding that Judge Adams committed misconduct by issuing an order requiring a magistrate judge to explain, on pain of sanctions, why he had missed a deadline in a Social Security benefits case. Judge Adams had long been concerned about the productivity and supervision of his court’s magistrates and the timeliness of their decisions, particularly in Social Security cases. To reduce delays in such cases, he began issuing orders setting deadlines for magistrates’ “reports and recommendations” – the magistrates’ reports on how a judge should rule.

The magistrates resisted Judge Adams’ efforts to speed up the process and, when one magistrate missed a deadline, Judge Adams demanded an explanation. After the magistrate cited a simple calendaring error, Judge Adams accepted this explanation and cancelled his order.

But some of Judge Adams’ colleagues on the Ohio federal district court filed an ethics complaint claiming that Judge Adams’ deadlines caused the magistrates to give priority to his cases over theirs. As a result, Judge Adams was subjected to a years-long ethics investigation so vengeful and vitriolic that even his mental health was questioned. Despite the complete absence of any medical evidence suggesting he suffers from a mental disability, Judge Adams was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination, including a three-hour battery of psychological testing.  When he objected, he was accused of not cooperating with the investigation.

Judge Adams tried to accommodate the investigation by voluntarily undergoing examinations by two, separate, board certified psychiatrists and a psychologist and submitting the reports of these examinations to the investigators. The reports concluded that Jude Adams does not suffer from any diagnosable mental disorder whatsoever. Judge Adams even offered to have one of the psychiatrists testify and be cross-examined at an April 2015 hearing. These reports and testimony were all rejected.

No case has ever decided whether a sitting federal judge can be compelled to undergo a psychiatric examination, but the August 14 decision nonetheless held it was misconduct for Judge Adams to object to this unprecedented demand. It also ordered him to endure two years of monitoring by a judicial committee, and threatened to reassign his current case load and ban him from being assigned new cases if he does not submit. Judge Adams’ September 14 complaint asserts that these actions not only are unwarranted, but violate U.S. Constitution and threaten judicial independence.

As Judicial Watch sets forth in

 

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