Mimesis Law
23 September 2020

The Obama Justice Department, Craven Politics & The Failure To Recognize What Is Important

May 16, 2016 (Mimesis Law) — I admit it.  I don’t much like Obama’s Justice Department, and I never have. I think Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her lame predecessor, Eric Holder, are hacks. But, even hacks can set decent priorities if their noses aren’t entirely up the butts of the political folks at the White House.

Let me give you an example. The Justice Department just sent a letter, cosigned by the Education Department, saying public schools violate the law if they don’t respect the right of children who are transsexual to use any bathroom they want plus a whole lot of other warnings (threats). See here. At the same time, the state criminal courts in many American states are a shambles. See, e.g., here.

In a perfect world, I don’t object to the federal government aggressively protecting a miniscule minority of strange kids if resources are unlimited. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Therefore, I do object to virtually ignoring the fact that thousands of poor blacks, poor whites, and poor Hispanics are constantly getting screwed by state court systems that are well-intentioned but grievously underfunded.

If the DOJ wants to go on a well-founded jihad, it is time to look the states square in the eye and tell them to adequately fund the criminal courts (and criminal defense in particular) or stinky manure will rain down on them like water.  It makes a difference what battles one chooses to fight. It also tells you a lot about the man or woman at the top.


Photo credit: Global Yeshiva

I’m done. Since I don’t smoke weed, I guess I will just drink more wine. Rant over.

Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska)

26 Comments on this post.

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  • MOK
    16 May 2016 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Yep, agreed. Bring on the wine. I expect you will hear from some “whiners”, too.

  • Anonymous
    16 May 2016 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    An eight page single spaced “summary'” letter with 35 footnotes.

    Just saying.

    • Richard G. Kopf
      17 May 2016 at 5:50 pm - Reply


      Sorta like some of my “short” opinions where I bury stuff in detailed (and utterly worthless) footnotes to see if the Circuit’s law clerks are awake. All the best.


  • Quaid
    17 May 2016 at 6:33 am - Reply

    I think feds should look first to the giant log in their own eye instead of worrying about the speck in others…

  • Anon
    17 May 2016 at 8:01 am - Reply
    • Richard G. Kopf
      17 May 2016 at 11:33 am - Reply


      How sweet! Thanks. All the best.


  • 13 Questions While The Poor Have No Lawyers | Simple Justice
    17 May 2016 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    […] As Judge Richard G. Kopf wrote, […]

  • repenting lawyer
    17 May 2016 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    This makes no sense, you cannot be contending that the resources DOJ and DOE to this issue would have any impact on the issues that you speak of. Your grumpy old fart act is sometimes just Lincoln Country Club Republican, though the bald governor is probably thrilled.

    • Richard G. Kopf
      18 May 2016 at 9:00 am - Reply

      repenting lawyer,

      You cut me to the quick with your penetrating wit. But, please, at least give me this: I hate the Cubs.

      All the best.


  • Anon
    17 May 2016 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    “. . . protecting a miniscule minority of strange kids . . .”

    Strange kids. I see what you did there. I’m not impressed, but I see it.

    • Richard G. Kopf
      18 May 2016 at 8:50 am - Reply


      I am glad you saw what I did. But, I did not write those words to impress you or anyone else. No, my purpose was more subtle, and you know it. I wished to highlight a sense of proportion with my word choice. Realism requires a certain stark truth and that is what rubs you wrong. All the best.


      • Anon
        18 May 2016 at 9:20 am - Reply

        No, what you wanted to do was demean and belittle people by labeling them as “strange” and “different” from the rest of “us” (and thereby implying that they somehow deserve less protection under the law because they are different and because there aren’t many of them). Let me break it down further for you:

        “a certain stark truth” = “something Richard Kopf believes”
        “sense of proportion” = “things Richard Kopf thinks are important”

        And don’t kid yourself; your involvement here is nothing more than a way for you to feel important. It’s an ego project, just like Hercules was. It’s funny (in the way that word is used to describe things that are awkward rather than humorous) that you closed that blog and then just couldn’t stay out of the “limelight.” And it’s all meant to impress us. It’s just that it doesn’t quite impress most of us in the way that you hope. That dirty old man thing just didn’t play, did it?

        Maybe you should stick to judging (though given the Eight Circuit’s Martinez decision, I can see why you would want to spend more time here).

        • shg
          18 May 2016 at 11:15 am - Reply

          I’m going to jump into this lovefest. Anon, you’re a worthless coward. You want to call names, but refuse to give yours, or even your email. You leap to self-serving assumptions about what Judge Kopf “means” because his secret message hurts your imaginary social justice feelings. You want to be a tough guy? Stop hiding under a rock and throwing your puny pebbles at grownups. Either grow up or get lost.

        • Sgt. Schultz
          18 May 2016 at 3:57 pm - Reply

          Don’t listen to those mean old men. You’re awesome. And you’re even awesomer for being anon, because anon is really awesome. Just don’t let mommy catch you using the grown-up computer.

        • Richard G. Kopf
          18 May 2016 at 6:14 pm - Reply


          You mentioned the Eighth Circuit very recent decision in Martinez. As you might imagine, I cannot comment on the merits since it is coming back to me (1) because of the Johnson decision (that came down after my sentence) and (2) because my alternative explanation for the sentence, treating the offender as if he was a career offender, was found substantively unreasonable by Judges Bye and Kelly. Judge Loken did not agree with second part of the majority opinion, but he also believed that resentencing should take place essentially because of Johnson.

          I thought in fairness to others who read this blog that they should understand your cryptic reference. The reader may find the decision at https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=18273864628284290115&q=United+States+v.+Martinez,+eighth+circuit+2016&hl=en&as_sdt=3,28&as_ylo=2016.

          All the best.

          Rich Kopf

  • repenting lawyer
    17 May 2016 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Do your comments apply to the political hack AG of NE devotion all his power to oppose the federal action or does he get a free pass on partisan stupidity.

    • Richard G. Kopf
      18 May 2016 at 8:54 am - Reply

      Repenting Lawyer,

      Yes, of course. All the best.


  • losingtrader
    18 May 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    “I’m done. Since I don’t smoke weed.”

    Maybe you should fire up something other than tobacco in that pipe, while watching Ghostbusters 2 with Joan, then issue a few ” …judicial mestrangement orders…” about transgendered bathrooms while you’re both high , eating truffles, and laughing hilariously.

    As to short opinions, face it, you’re a thought leader in judicial activities. Perhaps opinions limited to one page are next? If you believe SHG’s opinion of new law grads, the next generation of judges will be doing this anyway.

    BTW, your favorite guest turns 13 Friday.

    • Richard G. Kopf
      19 May 2016 at 7:21 am - Reply

      losing trader,

      I expect nothing less than a parade and ice cream and cake and rabbits to chase for a 13th birthday. Photos, please.

      All the best.


  • Law Student 451
    19 May 2016 at 12:41 am - Reply

    I read the Martinez decision a few days after Ted Cruz the trouble maker’s primary race in Indiana ended (sweet karma on my many levels). It is what it is and no, judge, don’t comment on Ted Cruz, that nasty man got what’s coming to him after alienating everyone in his party and around him in the words of John Boehner….Do not comment on the guy because I love reading your stuff on here and I don’t want another fuss from some academic nut case!!!

    As for the Obama DOJ, you have to admit though, its at least better than the Ashcroft/Gonzalez/Mukasey DOJ. On a side note, I once was at a talk given by former AG Mukasey and I brought up the sentencing guidelines. This is post-Booker/Rita/Gall and after he left office. He was talking to a bunch of students. I asked him what he thought about the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the Sentencing Commission. And also why he followed the Guidelines. He just responded “The sentencing guidelines are a fraud and so is the commission.” Chuckled and then proceeded to the next question. I did have my picture taken with him though….

    • Richard G. Kopf
      19 May 2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

      LawStudent 451,

      No, I shan’t comment on our Brother at the Bar.

      As for the AGs you list, I wasn’t particularly enamored with them either. But in fairness to those I wrote about, and those you listed, they have really tough jobs.

      What I would like to see is someone that is highly respected by highly respected criminal defense lawyers and highly respected by highly respected federal prosecutors alike. I would want an AG who would say “no” to the White House on a fairly regular basis. In short, I would want a real lawyer. Perhaps someone like former federal district judge John Gleason.

      All the best.

      Rich Kopf

      • Law Student 451
        20 May 2016 at 6:27 am - Reply

        Judge Gleason would have been a good choice. His expungement and his creation of a “federal certificate of rehabilitation” shows the guy has wit, humor and some understanding of what the poor souls that stand in front of a judge go through once they walk out of the courtroom.

        Everyone’s judge is tough judge. Its tough for anyone (not just AGs) to live, work, feed yourself and your family and I am sure its even tougher to do so in politics were every action is put under the microscope but everyone copes.

        As for Martinez, if it were me, and its not, that was an awfully long sentence were a decade probably would have been more than sufficient and no greater than necessary. I read the dissent too but I don’t find it persuasive. As for the majority decision, once you cut out the legal mumbo jumbo, which I am sure you’ll follow, at the end of the day, I just think such a long sentence is effectively a condemnation of a man and any hope of life/rehabilitation. At 50+ or whatever/whenever it is he’ll get out with such a sentence, there’s not much left to rebuild a law abiding life. He’ll either be on welfare or some other support to stay out of trouble.

        I assume you wont engage me on Martinez, and you shouldn’t because I love reading your posts and blog, but 26 years is awfully long despite his dumb idiocy in his youth (20s still count as youthful, once you get past 30 there is no turning back).

        • shg
          20 May 2016 at 6:30 am - Reply

          Your comments end up in the Akismet spam folder, where I fish them out. You may want to check with Akismet as to why it thinks you’re a spammer. I would have let you know this privately, but your email bounced back as undeliverable.

  • Clearing The Backlog: Rape Kits To Nowhere | Simple Justice
    19 May 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    […] the definition of sex discrimination, but it’s more fun to call it bathrooms) “craven politics.” There is neither money nor concern by the Department of Justice for indigent defense, but […]

  • Kopf Eats Crow
    1 June 2016 at 8:56 am - Reply

    […] 1, 2016 (Mimesis Law) — I recently savaged Obama’s Justice Department regarding a letter it sent to public schools about bathrooms for transsexual kids.  I […]

  • Jasna
    23 June 2016 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same. Albert Einstein