Possibly as an aftereffect of his symbiosis with the Beard of Reason, federal district court judge Jed Rakoff has blocked a settlement between the SEC and Citibank on the grounds that he has no way of determining whether the agreement was “fair, reasonable, adequate and in the public interest.” The answers to his questions are define “fair,” not really and nope. At issue in the case is whether the banking giant committed fraud when it assembled a $1 billion mortgage fund from high-risk loans that it then sold to clients, even as it shorted* the fund in its own investments. The SEC alleges that Citibank failed to inform investors that the mortgages in the fund had been deliberately selected to fail. As it often does, the federal enforcement agency agreed to let Citibank settle the case without admitting or denying any fault. Judge Rakoff, however, does not play that.
“I’m calling you to update you on what we did,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson told the chair of the Lower Manhattan Community Board. “We came in the middle of the night.” Thus ended the occupation of Wall Street, after police executed Mayor Bloomberg’s order to clear Zuccotti Park of tents and protestors around 1am Tuesday morning. After a series of temporary injunctions and contradictory judicial rulings, protestors are no longer camping at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration. They trickled back into the park during the day, but no one is allowed to lie down. As winter sets in, more than one person is probably relieved not to have to do the sleeping on the cold ground part of civil disobedience. Yet the clearing of the park feels undeniably like the end of something, and it raises plenty of questions. “Is it over?” is not the only one.
Perhaps you’ve heard, but yesterday a district court judge issued an injunction that stops the enforcement of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, thus A) ending decades of homophobic discrimination in the US military and B) reminding everyone that Congress isn’t the only damn branch of government. Tony Perkins is pissed. The Family Research Council President and lifelong crusader against gay rights, who is definitely not a homosexual, said in a public statement that “once again, an activist federal judge is using the military to advance a liberal social agenda.” First of all, I hope this doesn’t interfere with Mr. Perkins’s research. Second—”once again,” Tony? Let’s look at previous instances of judges using the military to advance a social agenda.