Too much deference by federal courts

Published: Sunday, Jun. 29, 2014 - 10:06 am

Re "A case of gubernatorial child neglect in California" (Forum, June 22): As an attorney currently working on a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States, I empathize with Professor Robert Fellmeth's frustration with federal court deference to the state judiciary.

I brought a civil rights case in federal court trying to defend the proposition that even small claims court plaintiffs have a right to minimal standards of due process. This was necessary since the state judiciary incorrectly eliminated any available remedy in the state court system.

The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of the case under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine which is supposed to prevent people from abusing the availability of the federal courts. It was never intended to nullify the plain language of the Civil Rights Act.

The federal courts serve an important function in holding state government accountable, and that includes the state courts.

-- Donald D. deRosier, Carmichael

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