Supreme Court Denies Siegelman, Scrushy Appeals
By Andrew Kreig/ Justice Integrity Project/ June 4, 2012
True to recent form, the U.S. Supreme Court denied relief June 4 to former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on corruption charges. This sets the stage for Siegelman’s reimprisonment in the most notorious federal political prosecution and frame-up of the decade.
The court denied without comment the certiorari petition of Siegelman and co-defendant Richard Scrushy, former CEO of HealthSouth, Inc. In 2007, U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller sentenced them to seven-year prison terms on multiple charges from Siegelman’s solicitation of donations from Scrushy in 1999 for the non-profit Alabama Education Foundation. Siegelman supported the foundation’s initiatives to increase school funding with a state lottery over the opposition of a Republican-orchestrated coalition.
On receipt of the court’s decision, Siegelman gave a brief comment to his supporters, who have helped him through the years by donating to help pay millions of dollars of legal bills. As published on a list-serve run by Alabama supporter Pam Miles, Siegelman wrote, “Cert Denied…..:)…I’m Blessed by having your love and support…” Later he expanded it to read:
My heart is broken. Not for me, but for my family and friends who have stood by me during this struggle. I am eternally grateful for the work of my attorney Sam Heldman. I am indebted to the 113 state Attorneys General of both political parties who supported my case. And I am thankful for the law professors from around the nation who actively supported my appeal. I pray that something positive will come of this in our future.
The court, as usual, gave no details on its vote to deny the petition. But Democratic Justice Elena Kagan, left, presumably recused herself because she had advocated Siegelman’s imprisonment when she was the Obama Administration’s Solicitor General in 2009. The new administration stood shoulder-to-shoulder with its Bush predecessors in continuing the frame-up and cover-up. This was part of a “look forward, not backward” mantra that President Obama articulated most famously in avoiding accountability for Bush-era torture and cover-up. But events make clear that the cover-ups obviously applied also to Bush political prosecutions. Kagan’s recusal made possible a 5 to 3 Republican majority for the case (although the precise totals aren’t otherwise known) on a Supreme Court increasingly divided on partisan political lines.
Our Justice Integrity Project has been collecting hard evidence from legal scholars that the court’s result-oriented decision-making is becoming an unprecedented disgrace, and is something every thinking voter needs to appreciate. Still to come are the court’s politically-charged, election-year decision on the health care mandate. But already anyone can see that Democrats and Republicans tend to vote as blocs on tight cases. Important legal scholars discern political motives as vital in such close decisions. Such scholars rarely share such views with the lay public because expert court-watchers do not want to antagonize fellow VIPs in the close-knit, high-prestige world of legal scholarship and advocacy. In that world, a travesty such as the 5-4 Bush v. Gore Florida vote recount decision in 2000 passes as a blip on the screen, forbidden even by the court itself from being cited as precedent.
Evidence of Supreme Court scandal, which our project carefully accumulated and shall provide in-depth later this summer, rarely finds such a tragic and dramatic result as the federal-state persecution of Siegelman, Alabama’s most important Democrat of his era. That is because his frame-up not only involved great suffering for all co-defendants and their families, but helped transform the public policies in an entire state. Beyond that, it helps bring the United States justice system into disrepute in human rights circles nationally and in some case internationally, thus undermining United States foreign policy credibility. The June 4 ruling appears to have been Siegelman’s last chance to avoid revocation of his appeal bond and resentencing by his nemesis, Judge Fuller. The Republican Fuller was chief middle district judge from /2004 to 2011. Fuller allegedly “hated” Siegelman even before the Bush administration’s second secret indictment of Siegelman, and tried to frame him while also benefiting from some $300 million in no-bid Bush contracts for a military contracting company the judge secretly controlled as its largest shareholder. (CONTINUED HERE)