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Orbit v2

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Like a lot of people it was a surprise to me that Seamus Woulfe, the Attorney General only a few weeks ago, had popped up again, appointed by the new government as a judge of the Supreme Court no less. The golfgate controversy might possibly shine a light on the manner of his appointment and other related matters.

Nobody who isn't involved really knows how these appointments are made. In this case it doesn't look that good imo from the outside . It has the appearance of Leo and Micheal wondering who to appoint, Leo suggesting the first name that came into his head, ie. the one lawyer he has had most dealings with during his stint as Taoiseach, and then Micheal going along with that.

It raises other questions like how appropriate it is to elevate a lawyer who has never served as a judge to the highest court of the land.

Also, how appropriate is it to appoint a judge in the middle of July almost unnoticed by the public, with no scrutiny by the Oireachtas outside of the government?

And more generally, it was my understanding that the Supreme Court was going to be down-sized after the establishment of the Court of Appeal given that the new court will be taking a significant chunk of the Supreme Court's workload. Even ignoring that, we currently have a supreme court with 10 judges (and one vacancy). Compare that with the US Supreme Court which gets by with 9 judges in total. Do we really need such a large court?

So, what was the justification for appointing a new judge to the court, and what was the specific reason for appointing Woulfe?
 

NYCKY

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Like a lot of people it was a surprise to me that Seamus Woulfe, the Attorney General only a few weeks ago, had popped up again, appointed by the new government as a judge of the Supreme Court no less. The golfgate controversy might possibly shine a light on the manner of his appointment and other related matters.

Nobody who isn't involved really knows how these appointments are made. In this case it doesn't look that good imo from the outside . It has the appearance of Leo and Micheal wondering who to appoint, Leo suggesting the first name that came into his head, ie. the one lawyer he has had most dealings with during his stint as Taoiseach, and then Micheal going along with that.

It raises other questions like how appropriate it is to elevate a lawyer who has never served as a judge to the highest court of the land.

Also, how appropriate is it to appoint a judge in the middle of July almost unnoticed by the public, with no scrutiny by the Oireachtas outside of the government?

And more generally, it was my understanding that the Supreme Court was going to be down-sized after the establishment of the Court of Appeal given that the new court will be taking a significant chunk of the Supreme Court's workload. Even ignoring that, we currently have a supreme court with 10 judges (and one vacancy). Compare that with the US Supreme Court which gets by with 9 judges in total. Do we really need such a large court?

So, what was the justification for appointing a new judge to the court, and what was the specific reason for appointing Woulfe?

I believe that there is a tradition (and open to correction here) of giving AGs, first dibs on the Supreme Court or the High Court appointments when they arise. A number of AGs have made that transition.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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No
D'you know if there is a special allowance to help them make this enormous career leap at all...? Bit of counselling, perhaps?
 

Orbit v2

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I believe that there is a tradition (and open to correction here) of giving AGs, first dibs on the Supreme Court or the High Court appointments when they arise. A number of AGs have made that transition.
It's certainly more common for lawyers (whether they served as AG or not) to go to the High Court first. But, if other AGs have been appointed straight to the supreme court it doesn't affect my point that it has the appearance of an award for their service to the government, or of laziness at best. And it raises the whole business of political connections, given that Woulfe was active in FG before being appointed AG.
 

Dame_Enda

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The Minister for Justice should now commence the powers of the Judicial Council to discipline judges. These provisions are in law but have not been commenced. In my opinion Woulfe should resign.
 

greencharade

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Not only was this appointment done on the sly, but we also do not know whether government ignored its own process again, defined in law, regarding the appointment of judges. This was also seen with its last appointment to the Court of Appeal.
 

james toney

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Reminds me of Frank Clarke back in 2017.

' The Government has nominated a new Chief Justice - but cannot say how he was picked.'

'Mr Justice Frank Clarke will take over in the highest role in Ireland's judiciary in the middle of next month when Susan Denham retires.'

However, the Government could not state how Mr Clarke was picked for the role.

'Although a special expert group had come up with three names for the role, only one was brought to Cabinet for consideration - and a spokesman could not say how that name was picked from the three.'

The spokesman also said the process for picking the judge was modelled on a proposed new permanent system - but that system would see ministers always given three names to consider, rather than one.
 

StarryPlough01

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Liveline on fire
Simply heartrending stories


  • 'The Golden Circle' - Katie
  • "They are so far removed from the people they represent, they are on another planet, in another universe." - Ann
  • "I now feel [due to Golfgate] - 'Why didn't we just burst the door of the nursing home and go in there?" - John

Outrage at Oireachtas Society Event

BROADCAST • 13:45 • 24th Aug 2020

"Cormac told Katie that he was in the Clifden hotel at the same time the Oireachtas Golf Society Event took place. Orla is very angry about the golf gate fiasco after losing her beloved father John Mc Gillicudy last week. John lost both his father and mother due to Covid within 9 weeks of each other. David lost his mother during the pandemic."
 

Lumpy Talbot

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This one isn't going to go away. There must be a point with a judge as there would be with a cabinet minister where the news becomes about them rather than the job they have to do and that is usually the tipping point.

I'm not sure how Woulfe thinks he can moralise from the bench in public as judges are wont to do to liven up their otherwise dry lives. His line of response would sound terrible coming from a defendant in a District Court case.

Supreme Court judges are unlikely ever to be fired in Ireland- think of the children- the neighbours and what they might say, etc and so forth. So I suspect a retirement through a sudden bout of ill health is probably on the cards there.

No one is going to want to see him on the Supreme Court benches at this point.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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No
Of course the judiciary and the Supreme Court won't want to establish a precedent of a Supreme Court judge just having been appointed having to resign. But that's just them protecting themselves against 'red tape' as they see it.

It won't be long before one of them tries to tie the demands for Woulfe to resign with 'interference in the independence of the judiciary'. So what happens when judges become just a bit too independent from regulations everyone else has to follow?.
 

Orbit v2

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What was he doing at an Oireachtas golf event anyway? Separation of powers much?

He'd landed the new job with no fuss from the public or politicians. Sounds like he was easing himself into it gradually. It was the end of the legal term, nothing going on. His name hasn't even been added to the list of court members yet at supremecourt.ie (and still hasn't). What harm would it do to have one last hurrah with all the old cronies? Quite a bit as it turns out.
 

Prester Jim

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There will be real pressure on Woulfe to resign from his colleaugues now. They have no oversight at the moment and the Dail frown on blatant interference for the most part.
Woulfe will be pushed to resign ASAP so that the good times still contiue to roll for the judiciary. It is a question of how much neck he has, is he willing to put up with it to keep his really very cushy job?
I think he will put up with a lot to keep his position. One solution would be for them to promise him some other cushy number elsewhere.
 

NYCKY

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It's certainly more common for lawyers (whether they served as AG or not) to go to the High Court first. But, if other AGs have been appointed straight to the supreme court it doesn't affect my point that it has the appearance of an award for their service to the government, or of laziness at best. And it raises the whole business of political connections, given that Woulfe was active in FG before being appointed AG.

To be clear, I wasn't trying to justify it. Was just pointing out that there is form there and in that regard I don't think Woulfe or his appointment is much different to others.
 

The OD

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Retired judge warns of ‘great danger’ in hounding people out of office

A retired senior judge has warned of rushing to judgment against attendees at the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner and unfairly hounding “good people” out of office for “one serious mistake”.

Far as I can tell, one serious mistake can easily get you 5, 10, 15 years or life in prison.


said he accepted the “utmost importance” of abiding by Government advice and for political leaders to set a good example “but the relentless fuelling of public anger by some politicians and some sections of the media is in my view not good for democracy”.
 

StarryPlough01

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How Adare You? [Updated]
By Nick Kelly
at 8.00 pm August 25, 2020


How Adare You? [Updated]


European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan’s statement and timeline with no mention of visiting Limerick on August 12; Dunraven Arms Hotel, Adare, County Limerick (top left)

Starry:

Gene Kerrigan wrote a brilliant feature article in the Sindo on Hugh O'Flaherty. Do you remember the two judges - O'Flaherty and Cyril Kelly - brought down by white collar Phillip Sheedy case? Sheedy killed a mother in his speeding car.

O'Flaherty then was nominated to become Ireland's representative to European Investment Bank in position of VP. There was a public outcry and he resigned.


Sheedy judge still feels bitter

"... as the Chief Justice's report concluded, he nonetheless compromised the integrity of the judiciary."


____

 

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