Well, they did it. Judge Hubert Legal has been kicked off the Microsoft EU antitrust case. The Reuters report says it's because he angered his fellow judges by writing an article saying some clerks were trying to unduly influence the outcome of cases. A 13-man panel, headed by Bo Vesterdorf, will now hear the case:
But Judge Hubert Legal, who had been in charge of a panel of five judges handling the case, will no longer participate, the court official said. Sources have said Legal was removed, because he wrote a controversial article that angered fellow judges.
Vesterdorf had proposed a change in judges after Judge Legal created an uproar by writing a piece that used the words "ayatollahs of free enterprise" in connection with law clerks and suggested they might have undue influence on some judges.
The European Commission found in March 2004 that Microsoft competed unfairly against rivals, fined it 497 million euros ($605 million) and ordered it to change some of its business practices.
Now the 13-judge panel will decide whether to uphold the Commission's decision or reject all or part of it.
It seems any time there is a finding of Microsoft guilt in an antitrust matter, some way or other, a judge is sacrificed.
Vesterdorf heads the panel, or chamber, but Judge John Cook will handle the case now. If you wish to read a snip of the article that cost Judge Legal his oversight, I wrote about it here, and there is a bit of it translated for you, and there's a link if you wish to buy and read the whole thing (in French only). Background here in an earlier Reuters report. For the life of me, I read the article and I can't see what the fuss is about. It can't be just the article, unless there are some very thin-skinned prima donna judges in Europe.
Or whiny law clerks throwing their weight around and influencing judges. Oh, wait. . .