The Judicial Ethics Forum (JEF)

An Academic Discussion of Judicial Ethics, Discipline & Disqualification

Power and Justice

Posted by monroefreedman on Wednesday, December, 29, 2010

I am reading with great pleasure Ludwig Lewisohn’s sequel to The Merchant of Venice, titled, The Last Days of Shylock. In it he describes the Doge and his Council, who had recently consigned the Jews to the Ghetto. The description fits too many judges (and, truth be told, some law professors): “those who deem that power confers wisdom and is one with justice.”

Coincidentally, I had recently read of the trial court judge who had held a prisoner in contempt (that is, as having obstructed justice) and whose ruling had been upheld on appeal. After the prisoner’s conviction and sentence had been entered, and the proceeding had concluded, the prisoner said, “F**k, Y’all.” Only those who deem that power confers wisdom and is one with justice — and with their own dignity — could render such judgments.

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