Posner on Immigration Courts and Judges

Deven Desai

Deven Desai is an associate professor of law and ethics at the Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology. He was also the first, and to date, only Academic Research Counsel at Google, Inc., and a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and the Yale Law School. Professor Desai’s scholarship examines how business interests, new technology, and economic theories shape privacy and intellectual property law and where those arguments explain productivity or where they fail to capture society’s interest in the free flow of information and development. His work has appeared in leading law reviews and journals including the Georgetown Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, and U.C. Davis Law Review.

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3 Responses

  1. Matt Lister says:

    The problems Posner notes are all real and important but at least some of them should be cast as problems with the immigration court system rather than with immigration judges. (He does do that to some degree but should probably do it more than he does.) There are real and serious problems with many immigration judges (as with all judges!) but immigration judges are also in especially difficult situations compared to most judges (especially court of appeals judges) in that they have very, very limited resources- almost no clerk support, very limited research materials, primitive materials for recording, very little administrative support, and so on. On top of a huge case-load it’s difficult to see how anyone could do a fully adequate job. The first and most important thing to do in improving the system, then, should be to provide many more resources.

  2. Deven says:

    Hmm, I think he is saying that judges need more in general from resources to training to a more coherent system in general. In other words the idea that the system is inadequate is the thrust of the idea. I did, however, go into judges and judging in general so perhaps this came across as a criticism of immigration judges. That was not the goal. Rather as you note, these judges face particular problems that require particular solutions. Nonetheless, insofar as one finds a judge acts on impulse, instinct, or intuition, it may be that occurence is not unique.

    Thanks for the thoughts



  3. Matt Lister says:

    Thanks Deven- that’s helpful. I worried that my remarks were only partly relevant to your point, which is a good one. My criticism of Posner (which is perhaps more based on some of the earlier things he’s said on this issue) is just that I don’t think he gives enough weight to the problems faced by immigration judges as opposed to scolding them for being bad judges. Some of them are and some for the reasons you mention. I simply worry that people will tend to put too much weight on that side of the issue.