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Measuring Judicial Success: Interpersonal Intelligence and Commitment to Enduring Values

William J. Rich

Washburn University - School of Law

Washburn Law Journal, Vol. 47, No. 1, 2007

In the 2007 Foulston Siefkin lecture at Washburn University School of Law, Professor Jeffery Rosen from George Washington University raised questions about how we should assess United State Supreme Court Justices. Does temperament matter? Is it more important for successful judges to defer to the legislature rather than to promote fundamental values? Underlying these questions, how should we measure judicial success?

This response is not necessarily a disagreement with Professor Rosen's assessments. Instead, comments focus on alternative means of viewing some of the issues raised by Rosen. First, the author questions whether references to "temperament" adequately capture the characteristic that distinguishes the Justices described by Professor Rosen, preferring "interpersonal intelligence" to assessments of temper or conviviality. Second, he questions the interplay between democratic deference and fundamental values, asserting that fidelity to fundamental democratic values requires performing a counter-majoritarian role in response to localized or temporary popular impulses. Finally, the author addresses problems of measuring judicial success. If Professor Rosen believes that we should have equally high regard for Supreme Court Justices, whether they use their power to protect the indigent or unpopular, or use the same power to reinforce established power elites, then the author and Rosen likely part company.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 11

Keywords: evaluating judges, interpersonal intelligence, fundamental values, counter-majoritarian, judicial temperament, judicial deference, judicial success

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Date posted: April 16, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Rich, William J., Measuring Judicial Success: Interpersonal Intelligence and Commitment to Enduring Values. Washburn Law Journal, Vol. 47, No. 1, 2007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1090376

Contact Information

William J. Rich (Contact Author)
Washburn University - School of Law ( email )
1700 College Avenue
Topeka, KS 66621
United States
(785) 231-1010 (Phone)
(785) 232-8087 (Fax)
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