I am today pulling the plug on Hercules and the umpire. Let me explain.
First, I want to stress that I have not been asked to stop blogging by anyone including my Chief Judge, the Chief Judge of the Eighth Circuit, or anyone else up to and including big wigs in Washington. If anything, I have continually received encouragement to keep blogging, especially from my Chief Judge, Laurie Smith Camp.
Second, I want to stress that so far as I know I am not the subject of any disciplinary complaint. Even if I was, such a complaint would not discourage me from blogging.
Third, I am not pulling the plug because of any mental or emotional struggles or treatment. And, by the way, both my Chief Judge and the Clerk of our Court have long had full and complete access to all my medical and mental health records. With my cancer in remission and my renal problems solved, I am perfectly healthy. As far as cognition is concerned, I am no more goofy now than I was when I was appointed.
Fourth, I am not pulling the plug because of my post about Senator Cruz or because of any other blog posts that have been the subject of intense criticism. In that regard, no one in authority has suggested that I stop blogging because of errors or omissions I have made in previous blog posts.
Fifth, I am pulling the plug because I learned a couple of hours ago about a discussion held at a retreat for our employees. The retreat had to do with honesty in the workplace, especially when dealing with uncomfortable subjects. Chief Judge Smith Camp attended the meeting and was asked a question.
The question was this: Did the Chief Judge feel that Hercules and the umpire had become an embarrassment to our Court. She responded that she thought 95 percent of the posts were insightful, entertaining, well-written, and enlightening. Then she asked for a show of hands, inquiring how many of the employees felt the blog had become an embarrassment to our Court. The great majority raised their hands. The Chief then told them that she appreciated their candor, and that she would share with me their sentiments.
Chief Judge Smith Camp was as a good as her word. She shared the sentiments expressed at the retreat with me. She did this both by e-mail and by telephone. She did not ask me to stop blogging. On the contrary, she praised my efforts. I was the one who expressed the need to call an end to the blog. There is nothing more important to me than the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. If I have lost the confidence of our employees through publishing the blog, then I have harmed the Court. I cannot tolerate that thought, and I have therefore decided to pull the plug. My decision is irrevocable.
Sixth, I have received a lot of help and support from people that I would not have met had it not been for the blog. Many have become my friends, although we have not had the opportunity to meet face to face. I want to thank all of these fine people, and will not attempt to list them all for fear I will forget someone. That said, the brilliant Scott Greenfield, author of Simple Justice, has been a true yet honest friend and a giver of great advice. While I have not consulted him about this decision, I must expressly thank him for his many past kindnesses and his especially wicked sense of humor.
Seventh, the blog will be archived and comments will close
seven days from today. at around 12:30 AM on July 15, 2015. [See update.] I will continue to pay the fees necessary to keep the blog on the net during the remainder of my life.
Some things are more important than others. To me, Hercules and the umpire was one of those important things.
In the future, I hope another federal trial judge will use this powerful medium to address judicial transparency and the role of the federal trial judge. Most particularly, I hope that the brave judge who accepts this difficult challenge will learn from my mistakes.
Update: Some of the comments have been very cruel and nasty. It is OK to attack me. I am old and tough to chew. It is not OK to attack Judge Smith Camp or the staff. As for the rest of the folks who commented, I am touched beyond description by your kindness. Thank you.
As soon as I sign off from this update, the comment period will end. All the best.