Wisconsin legislators who ignored their sworn duty and fled the state rather than cast losing votes against Gov. Scott Walker's plan to moderate the power of public employee unions nevertheless managed to survive recent recall elections.

Despite its failure, the recall effort stands as a warning to public officials who neglect their responsibilities or abuse their powers. Citizens are sick and tired of being treated with contempt by people hired to serve them.

If the attitudes and practices of some public servants do not change markedly and soon, there will be more recall elections and more successful ones.

This is something U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp should bear in mind.

In the long-running dispute between Pittsburgh asbestos attorney Robert Peirce and CSX Transportation, Judge Stamp seems intent on trying the patience not only of litigants, but of appellate court justices and the public as well.

The public are the ones who must pay for long, drawn-out trials presided over by slow-judging judges.

In 2009, ostensibly on the basis of a statute of limitations, Judge Stamp dismissed a CSX suit against Peirce's firm that alleged a conspiracy to fabricate asbestos claims.

A year later, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond overruled Stamp and reinstated the case.

Stamp subsequently stipulated that CSX's new complaint "would offer a concise summary of the remaining claims, but would not add new claims." He ordered CSX to provide a copy to defendants.

"If the parties agree to the changes made in the third amended complaint, they shall submit it to the court by stipulation or an agreed order," he instructed.

Not surprisingly, Peirce, et al. would not agree. So, on July 14th, CSX went ahead and posted their amended complaint. Peirce's attorneys posted answers and a counterclaim two weeks later.

Both sides asked Judge Stamp for leave to file the documents. As of Aug. 4th, he had not responded.

Judge Stamp, where are you? Have you fled the state?

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