Posner

Frank Cross crossf at mail.utexas.edu
Sat Dec 24 11:15:18 PST 2005


I'm a radical realist on this one.  Judges are not philosopher-kings, they 
are agents of public governance.  I think they should give press 
conferences like a President would.  And I think it is not only appropriate 
but necessary to ask candidates for appointment careful questions about 
their legal beliefs.  While there are obvious due process, pre-judging 
considerations here, I think that concern is vastly overblown.  Fair 
judging involves applying the law to facts based on the evidence of a case 
but should not preclude judges from opining on their legal assessments in 
the abstract.

No one seems to object about judges opining on their "judicial 
philosophy."  Yet a commitment to a particular philosophy (e.g., 
textualism) may be as outcome determinative in a given case as an opinion 
on the meaning of the Constitution or a statute.  The latter should be as 
acceptable as the former.



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