Gavel Gamut By Jim Redwine(Week of 18 July 2016)STOCK IN TRADEAbraham Lincoln who was a storekeeper before he was a lawyer is credited with the statement:“A lawyer’s time and advice is his stock in trade.”But if an attorney becomes a judge what is her/his stock in trade? For what do we pay our judges? It is not their time; judges receive salaries. It is not their advice; judges are not supposed to give advice, only decisions based on the evidence and the law.And why do we need somebody whose job it is to not give advice, i.e. to keep their personal opinions to themselves and decide cases objectively?Society has plenty of people whose role it is to suggest and execute policy. County commissioners and council people, mayors, governors and presidents come to mind.We also have lots of people whose job it is to pass legislation and fund it. State legislatures and Congress have those duties.Such executive and legislative bodies have not only the right but also the obligation to express opinions and advocate for their positions. We elect these people for those very purposes. We may agree or disagree with our Executive and Legislative bodies as we choose.But where do we look for objective decisions on important matters? What gives us confidence that issues wrangled over by individuals or such public servants as presidents and senators will be resolved fairly and impartially by that third branch of government, the Judiciary?Judges have no armies or militia. Judges cannot impose taxes or pass legislation. Why do we even listen to much less comply with a judge’s decision, especially one we disagree with?When I have taught judges from other countries such as Palestine or Ukraine or Russia they invariably ask me how I get citizens to accept my court judgments and follow them. In many other countries the concept of the Judiciary as a separate, equal and independent branch of government is impossible for the judges themselves to grasp. They are so used to court decisions being based on the political leanings and connections of judges nobody expects an unbiased judgment. America is supposed to be different.Of course, we are all partisan. If a sitting judge voices a political opinion we agree with, we not only may not mind, we might applaud. Yeah for our side! However, should a judge portray prejudice against persons or positions we support we lose confidence in our legal system. And that is the only stock in trade judges have, i.e., confidence the judge is impartial.The momentary elation we experience when some judge violates her/his duty and publicly rails for or against a particular person, party or position fades rapidly when we realize the judge is acting from prejudice. This is so because we know that we may have to face a judge who decides cases on whim not law.There are many reasons America remains the land of the free but one of the most vital reasons is our independent judiciary. Are America’s judges human? Yes. Are they prejudiced? Yes. Is the perception they are going to decide cases without allowing their prejudices to control their view of the evidence important. You know it!FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
The improving sentiment has also been driven by early signs the plunge in demand might have bottomed out in some markets, although clearing the glut built up over the last couple of months will take time. The recovery in crude consumption also promises to be very gradual, with escalating tension between Washington and Beijing over the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic threatening to make it even more difficult.“Some supply cuts have kicked in, US production has been curtailed by low prices and economies are slowly re-opening,” said Howie Lee, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore. While the worst appears to be over, crude is still lacking a major reason to rally, he said.WTI for June delivery rose 7.3 percent to $21.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 10.18 a.m. in Singapore after closing up 3.1 percent on Monday. The contract has rallied 77 percent since the close on April 28.Brent for July settlement advanced 4.6 percent to $28.44 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange after climbing 2.9 percent in the previous session. The global benchmark traded at a $4.37 premium to WTI for the same month.The peak in oil oversupply has probably been reached and a protracted rebalancing has started, Morgan Stanley analysts Martijn Rats and Amy Sergeant said in a note. However, the market is still considerably oversupplied and will likely remain so for several weeks, they said.In a sign of how big the glut is, crude supplies from the Middle East soared to their highest level since at least January 2017 last month. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and the UAE, which account for about 70 percent of OPEC’s production, shipped a combined average of 18.9 million barrels a day of crude and condensate in April, tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show. That was 2 million barrels a day more than revised March levels.Brazil’s state-owned producer Petrobras also exported oil at a record pace in April despite plunging global demand, thanks to sales in China and interest elsewhere in its low-sulfur crude to make marine fuel.Topics : Oil was headed for the longest run of daily gains in more than nine months on signs the worst of the supply glut may be over as production cuts start to take effect.Futures in New York climbed for a fifth day toward US$22 a barrel after Genscape reported a 1.8 million-barrel build in inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate crude. That would be the smallest weekly increase since mid-March if confirmed by official data due Wednesday. Meanwhile, the discount on oil for June delivery relative to July narrowed to the least in a month, indicating concerns about over-supply may be easing.The American oil benchmark has doubled from an intra-day low of around $10 a barrel last week as the OPEC+ deal to pump less crude came into effect May 1. In the US, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips plan to curb as much as 660,000 barrels a day of combined output by the end of June even as an effort to mandate Texan production cuts was pronounced dead on arrival.