Judge Files Lawsuit Claiming Disability Act Is Unconstitutional
U.S. District Judge John Adams of Akron, Ohio, has filed a lawsuit claiming an order requiring him to get a mental health evaluation and the act behind it has violated his due process rights. Adams sued after a Judicial Conference committee upheld a reprimand of the judge for refusing to submit to an order for a mental health exam. The lawsuit is against the Judicial Council for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati and the U.S. Judicial Conference’s committee on judicial conduct and disability, based in Washington, D.C.
Adams said the order goes against his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and Fifth Amendment right to due process. He manages a full docket of cases and there’s nothing wrong with his mental stability, according to Adams. Nonetheless, the judge said he objected but “tried to accommodate the Special Committee” by getting an evaluation by psychiatrists he chose. All said he does not suffer from any impairment.
The Committee did not take into consideration the opinions of the doctors chosen by Adams, instead relying on the opinion of a psychiatrist it chose, who only examined records the committee gave him and said they “suggest significant personality traits…may have contributed to the current concerns’ about Judge Adams,” according to the lawsuit.
The Committee then held a hearing in April 2015. “It was adversarial, if not accusatorial and antagonistic towards Judge Adams,” the paperwork continues. “It also was unfair.”
Adam’s lawsuit states that the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 is unconstitutionally worded such that it does not permit for adequate notice of what type of mental disability would prove a judge is unfit to take the bench. Further, he says the order qualifies as an attempt to remove him from his duties without impeachment.
The Judicial Council of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals originally ordered the exam when it found that Adams committed misconduct in 2013 after he treated a magistrate judge who missed a deadline poorly. Adams had required the magistrate judge to explain why he should not be put in contempt of court, then Adams accepted the judge’s explanation. The Committee claimed Adam has a reputation for being unpleasant, in general, when he presides over cases.
The Committee stated the order “was the culmination of an increasingly strained relationship between Judge Adams and his colleagues” that first started when the court did not select his preferred candidate for a magistrate judge position. He has “repeatedly expressed hostility and contempt” toward magistrate judges, and has withdrawn from relations with his colleagues.
Adams said he decided against participating in administrative matters because he felt the court was wastefully spending. Adams “also firmly believes that, like all employees of the federal government, judges should be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. He spoke out numerous times about the District Court’s wasteful and inefficient use of resources,” the lawsuit states.
Adams is asking that a judge declare the act unconstitutional, to dismiss the order for him to undergo a psychiatric examination and to end the investigation altogether.