The Judiciary: How Does Arrogance Come To The Bench.

in the case of the judges on the seventh
circuit court of appeals which is our federal appellate court in the midwest uh… i can speak a little more
knowledgeably although i think it’s true of of others around the country uh… we have two judges who uh… were professors at the university
of chicago actually still teach there judge richard posner and judge frank easterbrook who are brilliant men there’s no question they’re brilliant they’re
regarded as two of the best federal judges uh… but they both uh… have suffered
from this problem of arrogance uh the problem mistreating these
are appellate judges so their clients are not in front of them but the lawyers
i’ve been there uh… and uh… they particularly judge easterbrook has a reputation
for being very demeaning towards uh… uh… the lawyers who are who are practicing
uh… in that court i think one of the main reasons is and
it’s something that i look at when i’m considering who I want to support on the bench is that
these are people who never really practiced law they’ve spent their entire lives in
academia or maybe in the solicitor general’s office in washington and I know everybody here has practiced law
and represented clients and until you have had the real life experience of a
human being walking into your office with a problem with not very much money to
solve the problem and you try to say what can the legal
system do for you that you can afford to get from here to there to either
be compensated for an injury or to deal with a custody battle or to sue the
guy who left a hole in your roof or whatever until you’ve been through that uh… many times for many years i don’t
think you have a good sense of perspective on what the judicial system’s
supposed to be about and so what i find with the
academics not all of course there have been some brilliant academics that went on the bench justice frankfurter i
suppose we all think and so forth but uh… many of them uh… uh… you know
it reminds me of one of my favorite lines about a comment on the political
system that i remember reading in david halberstam’s book the best and the
brightest uh… and he retells a story allegedly that
when the kennedy administration was first sworn in to office and lyndon johnson the new vice
president was down meeting with his old mentor sam rayburn and he was telling him about the
brilliant people that kennedy was putting in the cabinet mcnamara and people of this nature and rayburn
reportedly turned around and said well i would be more impressed if one of them had once run for sheriff
and that is you know you need some real world growing up
I think to have some uh… and something else about the former professors on the bench and we
have a couple of those in massachusetts both on the district court and and on in appellate capacities i think they have spent uh… number of years teaching and being encouraged to
develop a scholarly point of view a point of view that purposely is not bogged down by such things as real facts and so they think theoretically they teach
theoretically they write theoretically and they’ve been promoted academically for doing that now being appointed to the bench here is the chance to impose upon the great
unwashed these lofty uh principles that you know they’ve been teaching at
at at harvard for all these years and sometimes we can suffer from uh… you know i i’ve had the experience of
reading decisions of a judge uh… going off on principles that were never
advanced theories that were never advanced by
any party to the case because he thought you know those should apply this excerpt is brought to you by
the massachusetts school of law

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