Judges are guardians of the rule of law. They are a bulwark against tyranny and injustice, and consequently, against social collapse.
Judges are granted the honorific, “The Honorable Judge.” Being appointed to a judgeship is a sacred honor.
When a judge dishonors his position of honor, it is an egregious betrayal of trust.
Judge Ross Buchanan betrayed his position. He betrayed me and CollegeAmerica. And he betrayed Libby DeBlasio Webster, the Assistant AG who brought the political case against us.
Ms. Webster brought a case against CollegeAmerica in Colorado based on a statist, anti-capitalist, anti-free market worldview. In this worldview, the private sector of education is “predatory” because the colleges charge for their services rather than give them away for free, and because many are for-profit, which the left regards as evil—especially in the field of education. In this anti-capitalist worldview, all colleges should be “free” and run by the government, like community colleges.
Ms. Webster had already assaulted Westwood Colleges and put them out of business. Then she assaulted Argosy University before setting her sights on CollegeAmerica.
Her first foray against CollegeAmerica did not go well for her. She demanded and reviewed hundreds of thousands of documents, looking for dirt; interviewed CollegeAmerica’s students and employees, looking for dirt; called hundreds of graduates, soliciting complaints; mounted a sting operation; deposed more than a dozen of the college’s executives; demanded twenty-one injunctions against the college; and spent millions of taxpayer dollars in the process. After she presented her case for a week before the Honorable Judge Michael Mullins, he rejected her case, denying all twenty-one injunctions and writing that “the State has not met its burden.” Judge Mullins also stated openly in court that Webster has a “tainted” view and is “biased” against CollegeAmerica.
What did Webster do then? She redoubled her efforts, spent more taxpayer money, shuffled the data she had already presented, and went back to the court. This time she somehow had a judge who was much friendlier to her, Judge Ross Buchanan. Judge Buchanan granted her a motion stipulating that she did not actually have to prove her case or show that students were harmed. A bedrock principle of the legal system is that you have to prove your case and show damages. But Judge Buchanan said that requirement was out in this case.
This might seem to be a betrayal of the law and of CollegeAmerica and of me and of the college’s staff and students and of Americans in general—but, at the same time, somehow favorable to Libby Webster. But she, too, was betrayed by Judge Buchanan.
After Judge Buchanan ruled in her favor, the Colorado Court of Appeals overruled his opinion, noting, among other revealing facts, that “Much of the Court’s order was copied verbatim from the Attorney General’s proposed order, and one of the reasons we know this is because the same typographical errors that appear in the trial court’s order are also found in the Attorney General’s proposed order.” In regard to Judge Buchanan’s egregious delay in issuing his dishonorable opinion—a delay of nearly three years post trial—the Appeals Court added that this was “inexcusable” and “detrimental to the interest of the litigants” and that this “extreme circumstance requires a new judge to take over the case on remand to ‘preserve the appearance of justice.’” The Appeals Court further noted that Judge Buchanan’s behavior “cast disrepute upon the entire judicial system.” That is a remarkable rebuke.
So Ms. Webster lost the appeal, and she lost her friendly judge. She also recently lost her request for a rehearing from the Appeals Court. Her attempt to achieve and maintain a dishonorable ruling failed.
We wanted the Appeals Court to do essentially three things: kick out Judge Buchanan’s clearly unjust ruling, order a new trial, and remove Judge Buchanan from the case. We won all three.
Unfortunately, we, too, have suffered a massive loss. Our entire company (CEHE), comprising Independence University, Stevens Henager College, and CollegeAmerica has been destroyed in this process.
Michael McComis, Executive Director of our accrediting agency, withdrew our accreditation, in part based on Judge Buchanan’s opinion. The Department of Education and other federal departments collaborated and piled on to put down our so-called “predatory” colleges. And together, they succeeded in this regard: They destroyed a company that was dedicated to helping students earn a degree, graduate, and launch or advance their careers as soon as possible. They destroyed a company that achieved this mission by providing a laser-focused, career-based curriculum and personalized student services tailored to each student’s specific needs. That is what our colleges did. They did it superlatively well. But they can do it no more.
I wish I could end this post on a happier note, but the facts are grim. Perhaps this story will come to the attention of those who are in the business of overseeing lawless and tyrannical actions by government agencies. Perhaps they will take action to right such wrongs. And perhaps the destruction of the good for being good will come to an end in America. That is my hope.