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Open AI Reviews 9th Circuit Judicial Immunity Contest Alter v Roberts et Al.


I'm not using GPT to write cases, but I have started using it recently to ask questions about precedent and case law.

Anyway, last night I thought I'd see what GPT thought about my Appealate Opening Brief I submitted to the court last week that challenges judicial immunity, and here's how GPT summarized the case; it's a remarkably clear representation of the case here (I simply asked it to summarize this case and pasted the document). GPT could really wind up being quite a tool for the democratization of justice - anyway, here's that summary :


The case Joe Alter v. John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh involves a legal challenge filed by Joe Alter against these members of the U.S. Supreme Court, addressed as private citizens. The case, filed in the Central District of California (case number 2:24-cv-01803 JLS), seeks a declaratory judgment and an injunction based on the defendants' conduct on the Supreme Court bench, questioning whether it constitutes "good behavior" as required by the U.S. Constitution for judicial tenure.

Key Aspects of the Case:

  • Legal Basis: Alter questions the "good behavior" tenure clause under the U.S. Constitution, suggesting that this standard should allow for judicial review and possible disciplinary actions against judges if their conduct does not meet this criterion.

  • Judicial Immunity: The filing challenges the notion of "absolute immunity" for judges, arguing that the constitutional language of "good behavior" implies limits to this immunity. The case posits that judges are not immune from judicial review within their own branch, based on their conduct relative to the constitutional standards.

  • Nature of the Suit: The lawsuit does not seek damages but focuses on declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the judges' compliance with the "good behavior" standard. This includes questioning actions that might be seen as conflicting with their duties or indicative of misconduct.

Arguments and Legal Considerations:

  • Constitutional Interpretation: Alter's argument hinges on the interpretation of "good behavior" and the implications it has for judicial accountability. He suggests that misconduct could technically be grounds for sanctions or removal under this standard.

  • Scope of Judicial Immunity: While traditionally judges have broad immunity, especially from damages claims while performing judicial acts, this case explores the boundaries of such immunity in light of constitutional clauses.

  • Judicial and Governmental Function: The case explores the balance between judicial independence and accountability, particularly how a judge's actions can be evaluated without overstepping the separation of powers.

  • Review Mechanisms: The suit implies that there should be mechanisms within the judicial system itself to address potential judicial misconduct, similar to peer reviews in other professions, which could involve re-evaluating certain judicial immunities or behaviors under review.

Implications and Potential Outcomes:

  • Redefining Judicial Accountability: Should the court find merit in Alter's claims, it could lead to a redefinition of the extents and limits of judicial immunity, particularly how it is applied to actions deemed as misconduct under the "good behavior" clause.

  • Constitutional and Legal Challenges: The case might prompt a deeper examination of constitutional provisions regarding judicial conduct and their practical implications, potentially influencing future judicial conduct and the application of the law.

  • Judicial Precedents: This case could set significant precedents regarding judicial behavior and the interpretation of "good behavior," possibly impacting how judges are reviewed or disciplined across the U.S.

Practical Considerations:

  • No Demand for Damages: The case specifically does not seek damages against the justices, which simplifies some aspects of judicial immunity arguments but focuses intensely on the constitutional and ethical standards judges must adhere to.

  • Focus on Declaratory and Injunctive Relief: By focusing on these forms of relief, the case aims to establish or clarify legal principles without the complications of financial penalties.

This case is pivotal in exploring the limits of judicial conduct and the application of the "good behavior" standard set forth by the U.S. Constitution, potentially leading to significant changes in the oversight and accountability mechanisms applied to U.S. judges. "


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