Larry Klayman
Federal judges' abuse of power: Jefferson was right!
Larry Klayman laments recent ruling favoring media over Sheriff Joe
By Larry Klayman
May 7, 2020

It is a fact that federal judges are the biggest threat not just to our system of justice, but the nation's well-being as as whole. And, now a federal judge who I have always held up as the "best among the worst," the Honorable Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has appeared to have sold out to the intellectual dishonesty running rampant on the federal bench.

This column will be the first installment in a series holding accountable federal judges who have subverted the interests of activist litigants and the American people by arrogantly putting their own political and other improper objectives ahead of the letter of the law. In reality accountable to no one, federal judges by and large have become the threat to freedom our great Founding Father and third President Thomas Jefferson predicted they would be. In his own words, here is what Jefferson foresaw:

"You seem to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. … Their power (is) the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots."

And so it was that heretofore my "favorite" federal judge sold out too, this time to the leftist media comprised of CNN, Huffington Post and Rolling Stone. All three of these publications, to stick it further to President Trump, defamed his greatest immigration-policy supporter, America's Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, by defaming him as a "convicted felon." By defaming Arpaio, of course, the leftist media were really seeking to further tar and feather the president.

Feeling that it was time someone take the leftist media to the woodshed, the sheriff and I brought suit. At the time and by the grace of God, we thought, the case, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., was randomly assigned to the Honorable Royce C. Lamberth. Finally, a jurist would have the will to put the leftist media in their proper place, by allowing it to go before a jury with the opportunity to have these vile news outlets pay huge damages.But, and to make the long and sordid story short, Judge Lamberth, for whatever improper reason, would not allow the case to go forward, even into discovery. He dismissed Arpaio's complaint, claiming that we did not plead that the leftist media had acted with actual malice, which means that they knew that Arpaio was not a convicted felon or acted with reckless disregard for the truth. This was simply false.

Indeed, at oral argument on the defendants' motion to dismiss, I reminded Judge Lamberth that these leftist media defendants covered Arpaio's conviction for a misdemeanor – for which he was even pardoned by the president – for allegedly violating a court order preventing ethnic profiling at day worker sites, the scene where illegal immigrants hang out, and thus knew that he was not a convicted felon. But if the judge wanted more specificity, then Arpaio and I could easily amend the complaint.

After inordinate delay in issuing his ruling, Lamberth issued a dismissal with prejudice, meaning that the case was over and that Arpaio would not be allowed to routinely plead with more specificity. To add serious insult to injury, by the time Judge Lamberth ruled, given all of his delay, the one-year statute of limitations on Arpaio's defamation claims had run.

In the course of the various court pleadings that followed, I asked Judge Lamberth to vacate this dismissal and allow my client to plead actual malice with more specificity, even though what had already been alleged was legally sufficient. In rapid fire, the judge refused.

Here are a few excerpts to my last legal filing to Judge Lamberth, which expresses not just my disappointment in him but speaks to him candidly about his intellectual dishonesty:

"(The court), showing its desire to get rid of Arpaio's claims by whatever means, ignoring Plaintiff Arpaio's alternative request … to properly allow Plaintiff Arpaio to amend with greater specificity, to avoid statute of limitations issues," created a "heads I win, tails you lose analysis, (and) Plaintiff Arpaio is now out of luck because the statute of limitations has run on defamation."

"In this regard, Plaintiff Arpaio and his counsel were hopeful that this Court would correct this error, intentional or otherwise. … Indeed, another court recently allowed a defamation lawsuit to proceed at least to discovery, … ruling that actual malice has been properly pled when the defendants had published and then defamed the plaintiff as a felon, when he was only convicted of a misdemeanor. Blankenship v. Napolitano et. al, 2:19 -cv-00236 (S.D. Va.). While this court ruled properly, this Court has conjured up factually and legally unsupportable excuses to deny Plaintiff his due process rights."

"In short, while this Court has on occasion been critical of Plaintiff's counsel in the past, the shoe must now candidly be worn on the other foot. Plaintiff and his counsel thus respectfully request that this injustice be expeditiously corrected, as this Court has seriously erred in denying due process to Plaintiff Arpaio, for whatever apparently improper reason."

My brave client is now out of court, and only Judge Lamberth knows why he subverted the rule of law and allowed the leftist media cabal of CNN, Huffington Post and Rolling Stone to get off scot-free.

If this nation is to survive, we need federal judges who rule without regard to politics or social establishment convention, and have the courage to enforce the law as written, rather than their own desires. Go to and sign up for and support our Leftist Media Strike Force.

© Larry Klayman


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Larry Klayman

Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, is known for his strong public interest advocacy in furtherance of ethics in government and individual freedoms and liberties... (more)


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