Archive for March 23rd, 2016

Every Judge Should Read this Article by Judge Richard Posner

posted by Judge_Burke @ 18:13 PM
March 23, 2016

Judge Richard A. Posner has an article titled, “What Is Obviously Wrong With the Federal Judiciary, Yet Eminently Curable, Part I.   Here is an except:

Law is wedded to the past as no other profession is. You don’t hear doctors bragging about thirteenth-century medicine, but you hear lawyers bragging about the thirteenth-century Magna Carta (without even understanding it – they think it guaranteed the ancient liberties of the English, whereas in fact it guaranteed just the rights of barons, and in any event was soon annulled, later restored, and eventually demoted to the purely symbolic).

Another way to characterize the legal profession in all three of its major branches – the academy, the judiciary, and the bar – is that it is complacent, self-satisfied. Chief Justice Roberts in his annual reports likes to describe the American legal system as the envy of the world. Nonsense. The system has proved itself ineffectual in dealing with a host of problems, ranging from providing useful (as distinct from abstract theoretical) legal training at bearable cost to curbing crime and meting out rational punishment, providing representation for and protection of the vast number of Americans who are impecunious or commercially unsophisticated (so prey to sharpies), incorporating the insights of the social and natural sciences (with the notable exception of economics, however), curbing incompetent regulatory agencies such as the immigration and social security disability agencies, and limiting the role of partisan politics in the appointment of judges. The system is also immensely costly (more than $400 billion a year), with its million lawyers, many overpaid, many deficient in training and experience, some of questionable ethics.” While Judge Posner writes about the federal courts the provocative observations  he writes of should make all judges think about how we can improve our judicial systems. 

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