Balanced Judicial Realism in the Service of Justice: Judge Richard D. Cudahy

31 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2018

See all articles by Elizabeth Mertz

Elizabeth Mertz

University of Wisconsin - Madison; American Bar Foundation

Cynthia Grant Bowman

Cornell University - Law School

Date Written: June 8, 2018


There is a quiet irony to be found in scholarly writings about the judiciary, which often center around high-profile jurists selected as the “great” judges. But there are great judges who do not receive or even want such widespread recognition, and who do not discuss their philosophy of judging—they simply focus on the job in front of them. Judges who operate with humility can often be very quiet about their legacies—brushing the issue off, as if uncomfortable with the attention. Anyone who knew Judge Richard D. Cudahy of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit will recognize this description. In some ways, that kind of reticence makes writing about his jurisprudence more than a little challenging. But in other ways, it invites us to examine what this “judges’ judge” exemplified as he worked at his craft. In reflecting on this, perhaps we can understand that craft more deeply.

Keywords: Judicial Realism, Richard Cudahy, Judicial Legacy, Judicial History, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Suggested Citation

Mertz, Elizabeth Ellen and Bowman, Cynthia Grant, Balanced Judicial Realism in the Service of Justice: Judge Richard D. Cudahy (June 8, 2018). 67 Depaul Law Review 655 (2018), Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1445, Available at SSRN:

Elizabeth Ellen Mertz (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Cynthia Grant Bowman

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

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