Our rocket hero, Judge Reggie Walton

prfesser

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For those who may not know, Judge Walton was the guy who finally decided that BATFE didn't know squat about ammonium perchlorate propellant. At one point BATFE had submitted affidavits and miscellaneous nonsense totaling over a thousand pages, in support of their claims. Our side submitted a few pages listing hundreds of peer-reviewed references on burn rates of APCP as well as affidavits from manufacturers.

In March of 2009 Judge Walton apparently decided that the rocket community knew more about the subject than the government agency that's actually supposed to be expert, and ruled that APCP was not an explosive. I recall that it was a Friday when he said he would rule. We were absolutely flabbergasted on Monday, when the ruling actually came out (It's government, it ain't supposed to move that fast!) Those of you who have been in the hobby for only a few years may not realize that before his ruling, high-power motors required a Low Exp*****e User's Permit, a storage magazine built to specs with locks of a certain size, inspections by inconsistent BATFE representatives, etc., etc. He's the reason we no longer need any of that nonsense that accompanies regulation.

I mention this because he's in the news, having called for an ethics code for Supreme Court justices.

Thank you, Reggie Walton. The rocketry community will always be grateful for your common sense and reliance on science instead of legal bluster.

Best -- Terry
 

Scott_650

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Judge Walton looks to be a definite breath of fresh air in the realm of the federal judiciary! An ethics code could be a step in the right direction towards better accountability of federal judges. However I see some issues - if there is a code adopted what happens when a judge breaks the rules? Who administers the consequences of breaking that code? And any time you establish hard rules governing behavior you can get the unexpected results of folks living down to those rules and the rules being “weaponized” by the administrative body enforcing them.

We already have accountability built-in to the Constitution to deal with bad federal judges - impeachment, which is the necessary political/legislative check-and-balance that should be used to protect good judges and dispense with bad ones. Unfortunately that’s yet another enumerated duty of Congress that has been totally abdicated by the legislature.
 

cwbullet

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No matter how good our laws, we still need good people, who selflessly follow their duty. If we don't hold bad actors responsible for their crimes, it just adds fuel to the fire, and encourages the next bad actor.
Great point
 
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