Photo Credit: ziazia by permission.
As I said in an earlier post, the trial courtroom is not mystical. It is a real place where, all too frequently, the judge hears horrid accounts of awful things.
As I write about the role of federal trial judges, I cannot stress too much the importance of confronting and embracing this realism. Understanding theory and doctrine are critical to the trial judge’s work, but seeing things for what they truly are and saying so is equally important.
The aging, crack-addicted black prostitute–convicted of being a minor player in a drug ring who hung herself in the cell adjacent to my courtroom shortly after I sentenced her–provides an example. We federal trial judges must be concerned with the disparate impact that the crack laws have on young black men. However, the deadly carnage that those young black men inflict upon the least among us is not ethereal. It is a reality that cries out for expression in the starkest of terms.
To borrow a phrase from the elites (that I otherwise abhor), we should not fear to judge. This idea–nothing more sophisticated than telling the uncomfortable truth–will be a recurrent theme in posts to come.