The House of the Law
48 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2009 Last revised: 5 Jul 2009
Date Written: 1986
The time is ripe to take a critical look at what federal courts are doing to our house of the law. My view will be that of an insider; it will be through a jaundiced eye. It will be the focus of one who is in his twenty-fifth year as a judge on both the state and federal benches. It is through the eyes of a student of the judicial process, of one who concentrates not so much on the nuances of substantive or procedural law, but on the tools of decision-making. What these eyes see, in short, is this: a system in which there is too much pettifogging about gingerbread and encrustation in the trimmings of our hosue. What Henry Maine once said of the infiltration of Roman law into Western thought also may describe our house: "nearly buried in a parasitical overgrowth of modern speculative doctrine." It is a house in no danger of collapse, yet one to which the lawyers and the judges must turn a hand to make it more attractive, if not more secure. In the final analysis, the housekeeping and the appearance of our house are in our hands, not those of Congress.
Keywords: courts, federal courts, jurisprudence, judges, judging, judiciary, judicial process
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