CJR on Judge Richard Posner

posner1.jpgThis article in the Columbia Journalism Review discusses Judge Richard Posner, with a focus on some of his First Amendment cases. From the article:

Still, for every decision that hints at a rigidity in his thinking, I find an article or opinion that contradicts it. Posner confounds categorization. He’s not a water-carrier, he’s not a true ideologue, he’s not even a pure free-marketeer. He’s trying to convince us all — lawyers, students, his readers, and now journalists — that moral reasoning, idealism, and the entire messy spectrum of human feeling are all imperfect ways of ordering the law. He’s just looking for the mathematical formula to prove it.

Hat tip: Political Theory Daily Review

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Paul Gowder says:

    “You can’t really give evidence with the space they gave me,” Posner tells me. “They gave me a five-thousand-word limit.” Besides, he continues, “journalists don’t provide support for what they say, why should I?”

    When is the legal world going to recognize — as everyone else has — that Posner is terribly intellectually lazy and unprincipled? The fact that he had a hand in the invention of law and economics only goes so far. I’ve always disagreed with him, but, lately, every time I read anything by or about him, I move from simple disagreement to outright disrespect. His opinions more often than not simply disobey Supreme Court precedent with a two sentence “pragmatic” argument (Mike’s blog has a bunch of them). His publications are all too often facile or so far out of his field of knowledge that he gives dilettantism a bad name. His blog posts are more often than not simply idiotic, and now he disclaims the need to offer evidence in a 5000 word New York Times article. This man is maddening!!

  2. Mike says:

    Paul, I agree. Posner does whatever he wants: he’s the most wilfull judge on the appellate bench. But he has pizzazz, and thus people enjoy reading about him.

    Two pieces of Posner trivia (and noting them makes me wonder what happened to the guy). His imminently sensible view of affirmative duties would have caused him to decide DeShaney differently. (I have a cite for this, but can’t access my 1983 library.) Also, he was a critic of qualified immunity, noting that since QI developed at a time when officers lacked indemnification by municipalities, and since all officers are now indemnified, QI should not longer apply. In other words, when the reason for the rule is no more, we should reconsider the rule. Go firgure!

    Of course, I would faint if I ever read him making similar arguments today. I wonder if he got mugged or something, and thus became some huge fan of government.