Monday, June 22, 2009

Sotomayor Too Thorough

Apparently that's literally the latest complaint about her: That her opinions are too methodical, address too many issues, and don't have enough quotable catch-phrases. Of course, everyone knows that thoroughly addressing each and every argument is a hallmark of judges who lack the intelligence to be on the bench. [/sarcasm]

As an aspiring attorney, it is certainly more pleasurable for me to read opinions that have a little snap to them. But a judge's first job isn't to be a stand-up comic, it is to, well, calmly and methodically dispose of the issues before them. And I will note that judges who wrote for the quote sometimes miss the important legal issues in the process. So once again, advantage Sotomayor.


PG said...

Ha, I foreshadowed this one last Friday. I went home for a family gathering, and one of my cousins asked me what I thought about Sotomayor's nomination. I said that she was competent and unexciting, and that only lawyers and law students cared about having judges who wrote interesting opinions, because we're stuck reading them, whereas normal people just care about whether the judge does a good job of deciding the case and explaining the facts and reasoning. The idea that a judge should be evaluated based on her judging, rather than on the number of references to Dante's Inferno that she can get into an opinion, met with general approval from my laymen relatives.

The Gaucho Politico said...

personally i dont care if the opinions are exciting as long as they lay out tons of reasoning. Of course snappy quotables are fun but it makes the memo writing easier when they simply spell the holding and reasoning out and place it in context with previous decisions.