Touching the soul

Much of what I have written in this blog has dealt with legal realism in the federal trial courts. In that regard, some have wondered whether my skepticism gets the better of me and I have responded that this concern worries the hell out of me. Decades of hearing horror stories can steal one’s soul. In that vein, and while I am no high-brow, last night I heard Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings performed by the wonderfully talented Hutchins Consort. What a perfect piece for the federal trial judge.


2 responses

  1. Judge, after 16 years as a state trial judge I have used the term that the criminal cases have “damaged my soul”: I often use this quote from Friedrich Nietzsche:

    He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
    Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146 (1886).

    Thank You for this blog and for your service.

    Joseph S. Johnston
    Circuit Judge, 13th Circuit
    State of Alabama

  2. Dear Judge,

    Thank you for your very kind and thoughtful comments.

    Long ago, I studied Nietzsche, so your reference to him put a warm smile on my face. For judges, I always thought the following was worth remembering: “It is nobler to declare oneself wrong than to prove oneself right, especially when one is right. Only, one must be rich enough to do so.” Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathushtra, Part 19, The Bite of the Adder (1883-1885).

    All the best.


%d bloggers like this: