Our View: You've fooled us too many times, Judge Barbier

The SE Texas Record Sep. 30, 2014, 9:39am

We don't want to think badly of people, but we don't want to be played for fools either, and when we see the same person engaging in the same suspicious behavior over and over again, we get – suspicious.

As that bighearted, sitcom leatherneck Gomer Pyle used to say, “Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me!” 

After years of following the consistently questionable antics of U.S. Fifth District Judge Carl Barbier in the multidistrict litigation against BP, we're beginning to want to say, “Shame on us!”

Barbier is the judge responsible for appointing the clown prince of courtroom drama, Brent Coon, to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee four years ago.

Barbier is the judge who, for the benefit of Coon and other PSC attorneys, tried to impose a 6-percent levy on the $14 billion in future settlements to be paid out by BP’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility – an extrajudicial forum that the PSC has no role in.

Barbier is the judge whose interpretation of the BP settlement was rejected by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ordered him to draft a “narrowly-tailored injunction that allows the time necessary for deliberate reconsideration of these significant issues.”

Barbier is the judge who ignored that higher court's order and reaffirmed his original misinterpretation, thereby obliging BP to petition the appeals court once again for corrective action.

Barbier is the judge who stayed BP's civil litigation against attorney of the dead, undead, and never-existent Mikal Watts, ostensibly so as not to impede a Secret Service probe.

Barbier is the judge who persists in defending claims administrator Patrick Juneau, despite charges of conflict of interest, misconduct and corruption.

Barbier is also the judge who now expresses skepticism about a fraud conspiracy against BP even though the investigator, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, recommended pursuing criminal charges against some of the accused lawyers.

We say, “Shame on you, Judge Barbier!” and we would say “Shame on us,” for electing you but we can’t because we didn’t.

You got a lifetime federal judicial appointment that only could end if the U.S. Congress were to impeach you, a very unlikely process. What a shame.


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