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Judge to Congress: Fire 1 of Yours for Each 1 of Ours

Judge Richard Kopf of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska has a proposal for the House Judiciary Committee -- fire one of its lawyers every time a federal public defender is fired because of the sequester.

Writing on his blog, Kopf says "unless the House Judiciary Committee is run entirely by hypocrites, I think the Committee ought to fire one of its lawyers every time a federal public defender gets the axe as a result of the sequester.  Perhaps Mr. Branden Ritchie, Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, would be a good candidate for the first sequester generated pink slip. I don’t know anything about Mr. Ritchie. I assume that he is a very competent lawyer and a really good person. But, hey, shit happens."

The idea was prompted by his order last week permitting the withdrawn of the Assistant Federal Public Defender who was handling a death penalty case to which the judge had been assigned in Arkansas. After 18 years on the job, the lawyer had been fired because of lack of funding caused by the sequester.

He wrote in his order, "Deborah Anne Czuba has filed a motion to withdraw as counsel. She is a victim of the sequester. I now extend my personal thanks to Ms. Czuba for her excellent and zealous service in this most difficult of cases. She has every reason to be proud of herself. Congress has every reason to be ashamed of itself."

In responding to a comment the blog post attracted, Kopf writes, "The sequester is is a crazy idea that everyone thought was too crazy to ever happen–the problem of course is that the premise of that reasoning presupposed that those in Congress weren’t crazy. The joke’s on us. There is simply no excuse or rationalization for the ongoing destruction of the federal judiciary. None whatsoever."

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