"Neutral judges"

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on March 10, 2008

This quasi-judge needs to be removed from the bench:

Shawn Sage long dreamed of joining the military, and watching "Full Metal Jacket" last year really sold him on becoming a Marine.

But last fall, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner dashed the foster teen's hopes of early enlistment for Marine sniper duty, plus a potential $10,000 signing bonus.

In denying the Royal High School student delayed entry into the Marine Corps, Children's Court Commissioner Marilyn Mackel reportedly told Sage and a recruiter that she didn't approve of the Iraq war, didn't trust recruiters and didn't support the military.

"The judge said she didn't support the Iraq war for any reason why we're over there," said Marine recruiter Sgt. Guillermo Medrano of the Simi Valley USMC recruiting office.

"She just said all recruiters were the same - that they `all tap dance and tell me what I want to hear.' She said she didn't want him to fight in it."

Sage, 17, said he begged for Mackel's permission.

"Foster children shouldn't be denied (an) ability to enlist in the service just because they're foster kids," he said. "Foster kids shouldn't have to go to court to gain approval to serve one's country."

Mackel, a juvenile dependency commissioner at the Children's Court in Monterey Park, declined through a clerk to speak about any court case or comments she may have made in court.

Now a California state lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would allow wards of the state to sign up for military service with the consent of a foster parent or social worker. Who knows whether this bill will even get a hearing in the far-left California legislature.

Having said all that, I'm a little disappointed, but not surprised that DRJ over at Patterico's place opposes removing this power from lawyers.

One side effect of this case is that a local congressman plans legislation to allow foster teens to enlist a year early with approval from their foster parents or social worker, eliminating the need for judicial approval. I hate to see decisions like this eliminate oversight from a neutral source. The problem seems to be that the judge isn’t neutral, not that the system needs changing, so this may be a case of bad facts making bad law.

Well, this judge certainly is no neutral source and I hate to say it, but the vast majority of judges aren't "neutral." Judges often complain about attacks on their impartiality, objectivity and jurisprudence, but it's a self-inflicted wound. I don't see where this would be a bad law -- the people giving permission (foster parent/social worker) would appear to be ones who would know the youth better than some court commissioner who rules by whim.

Mackel should be removed from her job -- I wouldn't put her in charge of a knitting circle.


Why, one must ask, was the suit against Biden's student debt wipe “inevitable”?

Was it because the Biden admin is in flagrant violation of the law, and because *everyone* in America knows it?

Not in Waldman’s view, apparently. | @charlescwcooke


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March 2008



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