Jul 24, 2006
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C. unanimously decided to remove a federal judge from a case. What did he do? Take a bribe? No. He was removed because of his “animosity toward a party.” That party is the U.S. government! Judge Royce Lamberth had ruled in favor of 500,000 Indians in a suit which has been dragging on since 1996, saying the government squandered 100 billion dollars in grazing, energy and mineral royalties from Indian lands. Lamberth called the Department of the Interior, which handles Indian affairs, a dinosaur that should have been buried a century ago.
Lamberth is a Texas conservative, appointed by Reagan to the federal court and by Chief Justice Rehnquist to head the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 1995. Hardly someone with a “bias” against the government.
Lamberth’s blast at the Department of the Interior came from what was produced in court. Several independent investigations found the Interior Department never kept complete records of the Indian trust, used unknown amounts to help balance the federal budget, and let the oil and gas industry use Indian lands at bargain rates.
In other words, Lamberth was removed from the case for daring to say the truth about what the government had done.