A must read about Judge Posner

With a tip of the hat to the incredible resource that is Howard Bashman and How Appealing, you must read: “The Maverick — A Biographical Sketch of Judge Richard Posner: Part I.” authored by Ronald K.L. Collins at “Concurring Opinions.” It is a wonderfully written and insightful piece that contributes greatly to our understanding of Judge Posner.

The failure to put Posner on the Court is a modern-day tragedy of immense proportions. It is infuriating that no President–Republican or Democrat–had the guts to nominate Posner because they feared that he was just too damn smart and too damn candid and too damn unpredictable and too damn intellectually honest.


Congratulations Shon!

jepeg_hopwood (1)

Now, read Tony Mauro’s beautifully written article that appears today, entitled From Felony Conviction to Bar Exam. After that, read Shon’s personal reflections entitled Graduation: From Federal Prison to Juris Doctorate.

Shon and his pretty family upon graduation from the University of Washington School of Law, where he was a Gates public service law scholar.

Shon and his pretty family upon graduation from the University of Washington School of Law, where he was a Gates public service law scholar.

Tony Mauro and Howard Bashman have my personal thanks for following Shon’s journey and keeping his struggles and aspirations in our consciousness. They have done an important public service by reminding we cynical types that redemption is possible in the real world just as it is in story books–and that’s even true for a bank robber turned would-be lawyer like the truly remarkable Shon Hopwood.*


*For my previous posts on Shon see here and here.

Bad news for the Justices (and the rest of us)

As I have written before, I don’t like the idea of “term limiting” the Justices. I have even provided a “top ten” list of the ways to address the polarization problem without term limits. Now, with a tip of the hat to Howard Bashman, I see that Norm Ornstein, writing in the Atlantic, has concluded that: “The best solution to the increasingly politicized and unseasoned Court is to limit justices to 18-year terms.” Mr. Ornstein’s opinions matter in Washington.

While it is cheeky almost beyond imagining, I remind the Chief Justice that he once told Jeffrey Rosen, writing in the Atlantic, about the importance of the Court speaking with one voice. Rosen provided this cutline in January of 2007: “In an exclusive interview, Chief Justice John Roberts says that if the Supreme Court is to maintain legitimacy, its justices must start acting more like colleagues and less like prima donnas.

He added that:

In Roberts’s view, the most successful chief justices help their colleagues speak with one voice. Unanimous, or nearly unanimous, decisions are hard to overturn and contribute to the stability of the law and the continuity of the Court; by contrast, closely divided, 5–4 decisions make it harder for the public to respect the Court as an impartial institution that transcends partisan politics.

Roberts suggested that the temperament of a chief justice can be as important as judicial philosophy in determining his success or failure.  . . . .

I will be dead and buried before term limits, once imposed upon the Justices, “trickle down” to lowly Article III district judges, but it becomes inevitable once imposed at the top. Kopf’s cry to the Gods (and the Chief): Don’t make me roll over in my grave.


Justice Kagan’s must read blog

Justice Kagan recently described How Appealing as a “must read blog.”  Howard Bashman, at How Appealing, reported Justice Kagan’s general comments about her favorite blogs but did not mention that his blog was one of those that the Justice characterized as a “must read.” (How Appealing, Saturday, June 29, 2012 posted at 10:03 PM by Howard Bashman.)  Mr. Bashman is too humble.

I share Justice Kagan’s view, not that my opinion means that much.  I could not get along without How Appealing.  It is a truly remarkable resource that is provided to the bench and bar for free.  It is a hell of a deal.


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