Abortion, Benchslaps, Constitutional Law, Federal Judges, Sam Sparks, Texas

Benchslap of the Day: Sparks Fly When Judge Calls Lawyer ‘Incompetent’

We briefly mentioned a lawsuit over the new ultrasound-before-abortion law in Texas back in June, and now it has turned into a full-blown media circus. The suit argues that this new law is unconstitutional, and it was brought by a group of Texas doctors who are being represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The case is being presided over by Judge Sam Sparks of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

And thanks to Judge Sparks, sparks themselves are flying in his courtroom. Lawmakers have tried to intervene in this controversial abortion case at least twice before, and each time, Judge Sparks has politely rejected their attempts to butt in with their amicus briefs. The courtroom, as Judge Sparks sees it, is simply no place for political grandstanding.

But Judge Sparks must have been at his wit’s end with all of these amicus interlopers, because his last order with regard to the subject is anything but polite. You know you’re screwed when a judge has essentially called you an incompetent imbecile….

Who exactly is Judge Sparks calling incompetent? That would be anti-abortion lawyer Allan E. Parker, Jr. of the Justice Foundation. The Austin Chronicle has more on Parker’s alleged misdeeds:

Allan Parker

Sparks did not mince words – especially in responding to Parker’s filing of a host of exhibits, including the picture of a “first-trimester aborted child,” according to a list of the appendices, which Sparks has placed under seal.

This is the third time that Parker has tried to grandstand with Sparks in this case – he tried twice during a hearing this summer – and the third time Sparks has shut him down.

Judge Sparks ripped Parker a new one in his latest order, which denies leave to file an amicus brief. You can find the full order here. Our Benchslap of the Day, courtesy of Judge Sparks, is a mere excerpt from this snarky little order:

[T]he Court is forced to conclude Allan E. Parker, Jr., the attorney whose signature appears on this motion, is anything but competent. A competent attorney would not have filed this motion in the first place; if he did, he certainly would not have attached exhibits that are both highly prejudicial and legally irrelevant; and if he foolishly did both things, he surely would not be so unprofessional as to file such exhibits unsealed. A competent attorney who did those things would be deliberately disrespecting this Court and knowingly shirking his professional responsibilities, offenses for which he would be lucky to retain his bar card, much less an intact bank balance.

For Mr. Parker’s sake, and because the Court has no time to hold a sanctions hearing –- in part because it must take time out of deciding the actual legal issues in this case to address the self-serving entreaties of attention-seekers like Mr. Parker –- the Court assumes Mr. Parker is as incompetent as he appears. Rather than sanction him, the Court simply does what Mr. Parker would have done if he was a competent professional, and seals attachment 7 to his motion.

Ouch. It must suck to be called a stupid attention whore by a federal judge.

Sparks Strikes Again in Abortion Case [Austin Chronicle]

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