Judge Baddour should recuse himself from Silent Sham case

Because you can't perform oversight of yourself:

The day before Thanksgiving, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) filed a lawsuit against the University of North Carolina over the "Silent Sam" Confederate monument that stood on the Chapel Hill campus before it was torn down last year by anti-racist protesters. Seven minutes later, Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour signed an order settling the case and requiring UNC to give $2.5 million to SCV to build a place to house the statue.

Going out on a limb here, because I am not a lawyer, but: The timeline (of lawsuit filed to order signed) raises some pretty big red flags. In order for the Judge's order to have been "well though-out" with all the T's crossed and I's dotted, he would have to have seen the text of the lawsuit before it was filed. And he would have had to be involved in the scheduling (timing) of the filing, so he could be available to sign off a few minutes later. Nothing wrong with that per se, it happens in civil suits from time to time. But it does demonstrate clearly that Judge Baddour was aware of the potentially huge opposition to such a deal, and the need for it to be taken care of quickly with little or no public exposure. And therein lies the problem, and the Judge's possible conflict of interest moving forward. By denying student and faculty intervention in the case, he has also blocked any "on the record" questions about his own involvement. There is no "adversarial" element in this case, no opposing counsel to present evidence, except what the Judge himself deems relevant. And since a reversal of his order would be an admission he made a mistake previously, the likelihood of that (ideal) outcome is small. Justice cannot survive under those constraints, this case needs fresh eyes.

Tags: