"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Richard Posner Biography Takes on the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Federal Judiciary in the USA

Judge Richard Posner is the most cited jurist of our era, so that a now published Oxford University Press biography of Posner by William Domnarski is of course of great interest to the legal community -- especially as it concentrates quite a bit on the Federal judiciary of the United States, which in recent years, mostly because of the applied anti-judicial antics of political organs, has ceased to be the bright model for other nations that it used to be.

Debra Cassens Weiss at the ABA Journal whets our reading appetite through her headline that Posner says Supreme Court is 'awful,' top two justices are OK but not great".

Weiss writes that:

"Posner said “probably only a couple of the justices,” namely Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, “are qualified."

Heady stuff.

We ourselves are very critical of the judges in the Federal Judiciary, especially those who represent political, economic, social or technological "extremes" or "causes". Judges should not be extremists. Judges should be impartial.

Our major criticism is not that Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court lack "qualification". They are all certainly qualified to be judges per se.

Rather, we have difficulty accepting judges who represent fixed partisan, legal, economic or political MINDSETS -- which they exercise while judging.

We think that any judge who rises this high in the judiciary must don a cloak of impartiality and also constantly wear a cap of demonstrable decision-making wisdom (made visible to all, if possible, by the results of the decisions made), thus leaving behind the petty banalities of political partisanship and one-sided dogmatic belief in theoretical dogmas such as originalism or similar.

The job of judges in the country as a whole is to decide cases -- according to the law, not according to the law of yesterday, not according to the law that may come in the future, not according to the lowly political demands of ephemeral demagogues in Congress, but according to present law in force.

Judges can not be "figureheads" for legal dogmas or causes. A judge abandons his robe as an "advocate" when he takes a seat on the bench of a federal court. Rightly seen, he or she no longer represents any particular view or any particular cause or vested interest.

Politics, personal -- almost always -- biased preferences, theoretical legal inclinations, and similar "weaknesses" should not be part of the desired or applauded qualification spectrum. What is needed is a U.S. Constitution with a human face. Judges are the "embodiment" of the codes of law on the books.

The best judges always have a deep UNDERSTANDING of law and society, as well as a sincere appreciation of and inner consent to the essential and important role of serious jurisprudence within the body politic of the nation.

Sometimes the judges on the present U.S. Supreme Court demonstrate a lack of that comprehensive understanding, but on the whole, we think they are sincere in their work. If only they could get rid of their biased mindsets....

More often than is done, each judge should ask: WHAT IS MY JOB?
and on the U.S. Supreme Court that should extend to asking:

We think in any case that the present U.S. Supreme Court is most certainly better qualified man-to-man and lady-to-lady than the present membership of a divisive, seemingly do-nothing Congress that is not doing its job properly.

In the last analysis, however, it is the JOB of the VOTING CITIZENS to cast off their selfish voting practices, to stop voting for political candidates who only tell them what they want to hear, and to throw out of office the legislative pretenders who currently are blocking normal processes that have worked for the nation for centuries. Such people are doing far more harm to the country and its citizens than any purported evils that such Congresspersons are trying to battle or any purported good that they are allegedly trying to achieve.

People who are destroying the basic workings of the system... are destroying the system, are harming the nation in the eyes of the world, and are weakening the strength of democracy. Their perhaps supportable motivations are ... irrelevant. The ends do not justify the means. Wise men do not destroy the processes of an established judicial system for ephemeral and what often prove to be short-term political reasons.

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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