Following up on the saga that was Rhodes v. MacDonald — Judge Clay Land, who earlier denied as frivolous a request for a temporary restraining order sought by Army Captain Connie Rhodes to prevent her then-pending overseas deployment, has issued a order sanctioning Rhodes’ former counsel, Orly Taitz.

Ms. Taitz, who challenged CPT Rhodes’ deployment orders by asserting that the President is ineligible to hold his office, is to pay $20,000 “as a sanction for her misconduct” in connection with the case.  The judge’s order, which can be found here, lays out in painstaking detail the history of the Rhodes case (including the original request for a TRO, filed — and denied — in the federal district court in Texas), as well as Ms. Taitz’ antics in prior matters before the district courts in Georgia and elsewhere.  All in all, an entertaining read.

The court also directed the AUSA responsible for the case to provide a brief on whether the sanction can be directed to Ft. Benning’s National Infantry Foundation.

22 Responses to “Court sanctions attorney in Rhodes v. MacDonald”

  1. Paul says:

    Was $20K fine enough? Maybe when Taitz becomes a real lawyer she will appreciate what just happened. I wonder if she is a mail order bride, just like her law degree?

  2. haha says:


  3. Comrade Cossio says:

    I found the “Stock Ownership” to be a very interesting read, I work for one of those two companies :)

    The judge has a good sense of humor, you can tell he was trying his hardest to control what he really wanted to say about this nut-job.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Pretty sad law school when your honor roll of alum are those folks who actually passed the bar exam!

  5. Madison says:

    how did this person gain admision to California BAR? what are teaching these folks at Taft?

  6. Christopher Mathews says:

    When asked about the fine during a televised interview, Ms. Taitz called Judge Land “corrupt.” So there doesn’t appear to be a lot of contrition there.

    She also described him as “delusional,” which immediately brings to mind any number of snarky comments which I will make the supreme sacrifice of not actually making.

    But you all know how much I wanted to.

  7. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    What most appalls me is that Ms. Taitz found not just one, but two different commissioned officers in the United States Armed Forces to use as nominal plaintiffs.

    A gentle reminder for my fellow officers (especially you reservists) . . . the military is not an organization you join for a steady paycheck and a good pension. Neither the paycheck nor the pension are your right. They are compensation for service, service which may come at no small amount of personal sacrifice.

    You, as an officer, always hold the trump card when it comes to avoiding what you consider to be distasteful or unpleasant service. You resign your commission. It’s easy to do; people do it every day. If you don’t want crappy duty, you don’t like who happens to be President, you think your CO is an idiot, you don’t want to go overseas, you’re against the war, whatever your whine, gripe, or annoyance, the solution is simple–resign your commission. You embarrass yourself and mock the sacrifices your of fellow officers when you run to court to challenge your orders. Shame on you.


  8. Bill C says:

    Having practiced before Judge Land, I am actually surprised how reserved he was in his criticism. I hope and exect her to be disbarred.

  9. Phil Cave says:

    “In an interview with Talking Points Memo, Taitz said she had no intention of paying the fine. “Are you kidding? Of course not,” she said. “This is a form of intimidation.”

  10. Phil Cave says:

    She may actually not be a very good lawyer either.

  11. Nancy Truax says:

    I wonder how long before this issue starts popping up under Grostefon in UA and missing movement cases.

  12. Christopher Mathews says:

    Nancy: I once prosecuted a case in which a defense sentencing witness, to defend the character of the newly-convicted offender, began babbling about how “Well, when you see how far the United States has fallen, that they would elect men like Bill Clinton and Al Gore –” The defense counsel blanched and tried to cut him off, but he was determined to make his speech.

    I think he would have a lot to discuss with Ms. Taitz. I also think you’ll see the “birther” defense raised at trial even before it starts showing up at the CCAs.

  13. Bridget says:

    Groan, Nancy, I would not have considered that. Makes reviewing those unsworn statements with the client even more important.

  14. soonergrunt says:

    I can understand not holding a defendant responsible for the behavior of their counsel, but should a servicemember say something like what Nancy or Christopher describes while on the witness stand, could that servicemember be held liable for a violation of Art. 88?
    I’m just a dumb grunt–national guard at that, so I ask you all.

  15. Paul says:

    Poor little Birthers, no court cases won, no one with a brain and common sense take you seriously, except maybe “Fake News”, where unfounded rumors and innuendo reign supreme, unlike a our US courts of law, where you need to present facts, not half baked lies. Poor Birthers they hate and can’t debate.

  16. MJW1 says:

    The alien footnote is priceless.

  17. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    CC–I specifically limited my comments to situations involving commissioned officers because only those holding a commission can offer to resign it. Many junior officers are essentially under contract due to training commitments and initial obligations, but the officers in question here were reservists long past that point.

    Your question wasn’t limited to commissioned officers, and enlisted have no commission to resign–they’re under contract. Taking the long view, people can just refuse to re-enlist, or not enlist in the first place. Beyond that, there are a variety of administrative remedies people can pursue to challenge orders.

    You are quite correct that a servicemember has a right to challenge what he believes are unlawful orders, but the exercise of that right may come with consequences. “Reflecting the authority of this principle, an order is presumed to be lawful, and a subordinate disobeys an order at his own peril. However, a servicemember may challenge the lawfulness of an order at the time it is given or in later disciplinary proceedings.” US v. Kisala, 64 MJ 50, 52 (CAAF 2006). If you challenge an order and are wrong, be prepared to accept the consequences. The anthrax and UN badge cases involve what are clearly legal orders under the three-part test for lawfulness–(1) issuance by competent authority — a person authorized by applicable law to give such an order; (2) communication of words that express a specific mandate to do or not do a specific act; and (3) relationship of the mandate to a military duty.

    I personally know officers in the reserves who have either resigned their commission or transferred to the IRR to avoid or reduce the chances of being activated, in each case for economic reasons–getting recalled for a year would do more harm to their civilian career than it was worth.

    Many reserve and air guard officers also resigned their commissions over the anthrax issue, particularly pilots who did not want to jeopardize their civilian flying jobs (google “pilots resign anthrax” for sources). I personally believe that the fear of the anthrax vaccine was due to hysteria rather than reason, but they did the proper thing when faced with the prospect of an order they could not obey.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Watada could not just “resign.” He still owed time on his MSO. And for those in the Army, the Army took the position that because an “officer serves at the pleasure of the President,” that even if your MSO was completed, they could refuse to accept your resignation. Then there’s the “stop-loss” issue.

    After a number of successful federal habeas cases involving officers who were past their MSO dates, and NOT part of stop-loss, only that the Army was either refusing to process their resignations or denied them under the “pleasure of the President” rubric, the Army finally saw the light.

    And for the Admiral, there came a point in 2006, that if you were in the Army IRR and had not reached your MSO date, you had a statistically higher chance of getting mobilized than just the “regular” Reserve or National Guard.

    That was limited to the Army who were doing that to “fill” understaffed units.

  19. Southern Defense Counsel says:

    If an officer believes an order to be unlawful, then that officer has a duty to disobey the order. However, they must be willing to pay the price for disobeying, and not get on a soap box. That’s where Watada went wrong. As for Captain Rhodes, if she really believed that her deployment orders were wrong, she had a duty to disobey them.

    It’s not acting on your conscience if you are unwilling to accept responsibility for your actions. Civil disobedience often involves jail time (or worse) for acting on your convictions. Look at Ghandi, MLK, etc. IMO, put up or shut up, regardless of your political beliefs. And if the Courts say you were wrong, accept the consequences and trust that the democratic process will ultimately vindicate you.

    The problem with each of these officers has been that they wanted vindication without the “pain.”

  20. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    Well said, SDC.

  21. Paul says:

    Comrade Cossio:

    You make me laugh, thanks.

    Here is the point, your side has not won a case, I know, I know, you have real facts but when shown to a real judge he throws you out.

    Now I get it your proof is on the internet (Make Believe) so when you get to a USA Court of Law (Real World) you lose.

    Win a case and then many of us will start to believe, till then, you guys are seen as Jokesters, Crazies or just plain Racists.

    Please find your tin hats and stop listening to the voices in your head.

    Frankly, Either put up or shutup!

    Deal with that. But really thanks for the laughs.