Wikipedia talk:WikiProject United States courts and judges

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When to move draft to mainspace edit

I'm curious about something. If all (or most) judicial nominee articles are going to be moved to and/or started in draft, when is nobility established for said nominee, once confirmed? In other words, when is it okay to move said article to mainspace? Once confirmed? Once commissioned? When they're sworn in? Do the same eventual criteria (if any is established) apply to Article I and/or Article IV judges as well? What about judges eventually confirmed to the D.C. Superior court and/or D.C. court of appeals? While I understand the need to start in draft (although I don't agree with it) something just tells me when it comes time to move some of these articles from draft it's going to be a very slippery slope (see: Tiffany M. Cartwright) Snickers2686 (talk) 20:10, 9 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would say, firstly, that a draft can always be moved to mainspace if it meets the WP:GNG, whether the subject is confirmed or not, so always be looking for that; and secondly, if it does not, then upon confirmation. It would be a very rare (and notable) circumstance for a confirmed federal judge not to take all of the rest of the steps towards assuming the office. BD2412 T 21:41, 9 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Even most non-controversial failed nominees receive enough coverage over the course of their careers to pass GNG, so implementing some sort of hurdle is unnecessary and counterproductive (leading to even more AfD arguments like "They're only a nominee!" when they pass GNG, like Cartwright, anyway). But yes, once confirmed, it's hard to imagine a scenario where an appointee doesn't pass GNG. The only way they don't take their commission is they die, receiving significant media coverage, or they refuse it due to scandal or personal reasons that receive plenty of media coverage. Star Garnet (talk) 23:57, 9 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Albert T. Frantz mystery edit

I have just mainspaced an article on Colorado Supreme Court justice Albert T. Frantz. The problem is, he is assuredly dead (or else he would be 120 years old), but I can't figure out when he died. Various websites report that he died in 1966, but that is impossible, since contemporaneous newspaper accounts describe him as being alive and active in the public sphere at least up to 1976. The last thing I can find is that he was counsel in a matter before the Colorado Court of Appeals in 1982. I find no references after that, but no obituary or other indicia of his death either. BD2412 T 22:43, 9 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tricky one. Both Ancestry's Social Security Death Index (which I'm having trouble linking but is available through WP:TWL) and Find a Grave give the death date as November 1986, which is probably correct, but I haven't been able to find anything that would qualify as an RS. The Ancestry one suggests that his last known residence was Aurora, CO, so someone with access to the Aurora Sentinel archives might be able to find an obituary, but there doesn't seem to be much of anything online. Will let you know if I think of anything else. Extraordinary Writ (talk) 23:40, 9 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If somebody has access to the July 1996 issue of The Colorado Lawyer (vol. 25, issue 7), there's a good chance his death is described there, in "Six of the Greatest: Albert T. Frantz" by John L. Livingston and William S. Fleming. Here's the ToC for the issue on HeinOnline, but the wiki library doesn't give access to bar journals (shakes fist). It may also be available through Westlaw Classic. Star Garnet (talk) 00:57, 10 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Per User:Extraordinary Writ, I'm going to call it November 1986 but mark it as citation needed. I'm also fine calling the SSDI a "source", since this is not a particularly contentious claim (and obviously not a BLP). BD2412 T 01:12, 10 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ooh, good find, Star Garnet. As it happens I do have access to HeinOnline's bar journals, and this one states (p. 18) "Al Frantz died in 1985 at the age of 81 and is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery." Happy to send a PDF if anyone's interested—just email me. Extraordinary Writ (talk) 03:11, 10 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Excellent work, all! BD2412 T 04:20, 10 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, that article had quite a few good nuggets. Star Garnet (talk) 05:06, 10 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal for policy change within WikiProject United States courts and judges edit

Looks like an increasing number of our nominee articles are getting AfD'ed, and subsequently draftified. The proposal thus is "Should we create all new nominee articles in draft space and move them to article space only upon the nominee receiving the advice and consent of the Senate?" I would be willing to do this and end the pissing contests that have been going on recently over nominee articles. And I suspect that more and more articles will be AfD'ed/draftified in the near future. Right now, just laying this out as an informal proposal for discussion. If there is sufficient interest, may do a formal proposal process. Safiel (talk) 18:58, 26 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I would add that WP:GNG likely favors draft space development. While Article III Judges have the presumption of notability, nominees likely do not. Safiel (talk) 18:58, 26 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I would agree with a project-space instruction to this effect, provided that a nominee who demonstrably otherwise meets the WP:GNG could be initiated in mainspace. BD2412 T 19:28, 26 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm just not sure how necessary this is. I'd put the mark somewhere north of 80% of nominees pass GNG, combining coverage of their nomination with their activities as lawyers/judges/academics. Star Garnet (talk) 21:12, 26 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Correcting the titles of U.S. district judges edit

There's a common error on several U.S. district judge pages -- using the infobox title "Judge of the United States District Court for the (X) District of (State)".

The proper title format for a district judge, according to the White House style guide, the congressional style guide, the GPO style guide, and the judicial style guide is "United States District Judge for the (X) District of (State)". And, to the extent the AP stylebook matters, it also agrees that when referring to a district judge, "U.S. District judge" should be used rather than simply "judge".

Aside from the universal consensus of the federal government style guides, the other problem with "Judge of the United States District Court..", of course, is that there are multiple different types of "judge" who operate within the district court system. A "U.S. district judge" is a specific class of judge describing a specific role in the judicial process. Saying "Judge of the U.S. District Court" is akin to saying "Member of the Virginia Legislature" without clarifying Senator or Delegate. The infobox title should obviously be precise and follow established style rules.

Furthermore, the correct style just looks much better (the way it's intended to look in the address block of official correspondence). For example:

United States District Judge
for the Southern District of New York

Rather than:

Judge of the United States District Court
for the Southern District of New York

I'd like to set guidance (or at least get some concurrence here) that we can point to when correcting the titles so that we avoid the endless headache of good faith reversions by people who just don't know what the title should be. I don't want to make work for anyone else -- I've grinded my way through 60-some articles of historical Wisconsin legislatures, I can certainly grind through the entire federal district court judiciary if there are any concerns about uniformity. There's obviously going to be a lot of attention on the federal judiciary the next year or two, every time I look at one of these infobox titles I cringe. -- Asdasdasdff (talk) 05:31, 4 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are there any established infobox norms you can point to for judges that don't use the format "[title] of the [court name]"? (Chief Justice of the United States being a special case.) "Judge of the U.S./United States district court for the" seems to have overtaken "U.S./United States district judge for the" as the more common terminology; the latter was predominant through the 1960s, then they were even for three decades, and the former has taken over this century. Not by an overwhelming margin, but roughly 3:2. It's also disingenuous to equate this with 'member of [bilateral legislature]' as the only rank that really matters for distinguishing (magistrate judge) is always labeled as such. Chief judges are almost always distinguished as well, and as to senior vs. district judges, the courts themselves often don't bother with the distinction. District judge is simply the default definition of 'judge' when referring to district courts. I wouldn't majorly object to a change, but I do think it's unnecessary and not necessarily beneficial. Star Garnet (talk) 07:41, 4 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I appreciate someone engaging with this. Normally when I bring it up on an article talk page it's just dead silence, but I probably came to the right place this time. In my last career (within the last 20 years), I dealt with a lot of official government correspondence with a lot of judicial namelines and titles. Personally, I don't think I've never seen the construction "Judge of the United States District Court" outside of Wikipedia or the middle of a sentence.
Recent examples:
[1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]
I just don't know of another situation where Wikipedia just chooses to not use the proper official title for an officeholder. Like we wouldn't accept "U.S. President" in a President's infobox rather than "President of the United States" -- Asdasdasdff (talk) 08:38, 4 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Frankly, I think the situation is fine as is. Wherever someone is a magistrate judge or a bankruptcy judge, we refer to them as such. I think our readers are smart enough to grasp that the ones we refer to as just "judge" are the District Court judges. BD2412 T 15:31, 4 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, but the confusion of judge type is really a secondary concern to the fact that the title is wrong. If you saw it in an official document from the White House or Congress, it would be considered an error. -- Asdasdasdff (talk) 16:08, 4 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I sympathize with the sentiment, as with WP's capitalization guidelines and naming guidelines (e.g. Ivory Coast), WP doesn't care about particularly organizations' official stylization. And it's not as if the current usage is unheard of in court publications: [7] [8], and for some reason it's apparently the standard for dealing with impeachment: [9] [10] [11]. Star Garnet (talk) 16:47, 4 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, its not unusual in the middle of a sentence, when describing a person rather than giving their official title. Again, it's akin to calling someone a "U.S. congressman" rather than "Member of the U.S. House of Representatives" or "Defense Secretary" rather than "Secretary of Defense". It's about proper vs colloquial. I can't really think of another example where we take a colloquialism and use it as an official title. Again, thanks for engaging in discussion on this--It's bothered me for years and I'm hoping to finally start getting to work on fixing these. Ah, also I like the comparison with the Ivory Coast article, because the title of the article isn't really my concern -- those often use colloquialisms, as appropriate. But the infobox contains the full official name of the country--as is also appropriate. -- Asdasdasdff (talk) 17:19, 4 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would oppose changing the status quo without a consensus to do so. BD2412 T 18:23, 4 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's why I'm here! And like I said, I'm happy to handle the updates myself. I can probably get through the entire current federal district court system within a week. -- Asdasdasdff (talk) 18:56, 4 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So, in the hope that there will be more engagement on this topic, I'm just going to address the counter-argument. The main rationale I've heard for why we would keep using the existing incorrect titles is that "Judge of the District Court" is a similar title format to other judicial titles, but that rationale has been overruled in other important analogues when uniformity was in conflict with proper official style.
Let's compare to the Wikipedia titles used in the U.S. federal legislative branch.
The situation with these levels of the federal judiciary (Supreme, Appeals, District) are quite analogous to the question of titles for the types of federal legislators (Senate, House).
  • The accepted Wikipedia title format for a U.S. Senator is "United States Senator from (State)" (This is actually very similar in style to the proper format for a U.S. district judge that we should be using!)
  • Yet the accepted Wikipedia title format for a U.S. House member is "Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the (State)'s (Xth) district"
Why is it not "United States Representative from the (State)'s (Xth) district" (in order to match Senate style)? Answer: Because that's not the proper official title format for a U.S. House member. Both titles are describing legislators in the same federal legislative branch, but use different title formats -- because Wikipedians chose to use the proper title for each office rather than trying to make the two different federal offices match each other in style.
Let's further look at a comparison of U.S. senators to state senators, also somewhat analogous to our current judiciary question. All state senators' titles use the format "Member of the (State) Senate from the (X) district" -- which is the proper style, and it's also pretty similar to U.S. House style!
So really U.S. senator is the wild outlier from both U.S. House and State Senate style. Why should it be unique? Why not make U.S. senators use the title format "Member of the U.S. Senate from (State)" in order to get it into uniformity with all the other federal and state legislator titles? Answer: Because that's not the proper official style for a U.S. senator.
And if you look back a decade or more, you'll see there were times when some of these incorrect alternate title formats could be found in some articles on Wikipedia. But at some point Wikipedians decided to get serious about the the proper title format. As we can today!
The legislator titles are correct (federal and state). The non-district judge judicial titles are also correct (Supreme and Appeals), even the chief judge and senior judge district court titles are correct. Let's correct these district judge titles! -- Asdasdasdff (talk) 17:01, 6 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't see anything that is wrong or needs fixing with either of the current setups. Again, I oppose the proposed changes as unnecessary. BD2412 T 17:21, 6 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Credibility bot edit

As this is a highly active WikiProject, I would like to introduce you to Credibility bot. This is a bot that makes it easier to track source usage across articles through automated reports and alerts. We piloted this approach at Wikipedia:Vaccine safety and we want to offer it to any subject area or domain. We need your support to demonstrate demand for this toolkit. If you have a desire for this functionality, or would like to leave other feedback, please endorse the tool or comment at WP:CREDBOT. Thanks! Harej (talk) 17:40, 5 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Of interest to this project, I have proposed to move Rebecca Bradley (justice) to Rebecca Bradley (judge). If the request is successful, I believe that it would establish a general practice of using "judge" as a disambiguator for all levels of judges, including justices, unless there was a need to use "justice" specifically. An example of the latter case would be James A. Baker (justice), which distinguishes the subject from other judges named "James A. Baker". BD2412 T 03:26, 15 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]