I Hate This Fiction That Judges Don’t Have Legal Opinions

I can understand why a judge would not want to comment on the merits of a particular case, but could we dispense with the fiction that judges don’t have, or aren’t allow to express opinions on the law?

I’d feel a lot better if he actually answered Feinstein’s questions. She wants to know, and I want to know too.

13 thoughts on “I Hate This Fiction That Judges Don’t Have Legal Opinions”

  1. Gorsuch left a FANTASTIC impression on me regarding that hearing. Quite frankly, the way he answered Feinstein was for the purpose of baiting her into exposing herself to everyone that she wants the Heller decision overturned, and, wants to institute Leftwing, Judicial Activism to erase the 2nd Amendment from the Bill of Rights, as that is what all of the Democrats want. Feinstein basically showed how the Democrats are still infuriated that Hillary Clinton isn’t packing the Courts with outright Communists. Clinton’s #1 objective regarding the Courts was to pack them in order to erase the 2nd Amendment, followed by the 1st Amendment with the Judicial Fiat based institution of “Hate Speech” statutes.

  2. You don’t want to know, actually. If he gives an answer, it will either not go far enough, or it will go to far for your taste. An honest answer in the current partisan environment where Republicans and Dems are engaging in civil war, means he will not get confirmed.

    Sometimes it’s better to leave things to the imagination.

  3. I watched a lot of the hearing yesterday, and wound up put off by Gorsuch precisely because I found myself liking him so much. I later quipped “I’d buy a used Studebaker from that guy!”

    Glib, charming, an excellent sense of humor. . .look out!

    Has he ever yet said what he thinks about firearms? I read a couple weasel-worded articles that canonized him for quoting what Scalia said, but his own sentiments appear yet to be ascertained. (Correct me if I’ve missed something.)

    One very good reason for his evasions may be, that organizations that are backing his nomination now, may be left with a huge amount of egg on their faces if he stabs them in the back somewhere down the road. For himself he’ll be able to say, “I never promised you. . .”

    I should add that I don’t believe Trumpakov nominated him for what he’d do for gun rights.

    (Sorry; I haven’t believed in Santa Claus since I was seven.)

  4. Don’t blame the judge, blame those who politicize anything a judge says as a means of demonizing him.

    1. Call me naive’, but if I was a judge I think I’d say, I’ll say what I believe, and let them demonize that to their hearts’ content.

      So from that viewpoint, yes, I’ll always blame the judge. He wants to bullshit somebody, and there’s no way for me to know it’s not me.

      Remember that Robert Bork admitted that he didn’t believe the Second Amendment defined an individual right; and so the NRA would not support him. Then it was the NRA that was demonized, for not being a “team player” with the “conservative movement.”

  5. I saw that and it sounds to me like he’s apologizing to Wilkinson in the 4th Circuit, because he’s going to overturn Kolbe. I’m OK with that.

    Keep in mind that Kolbe is seeking cert. If Gorsuch were to comment on the case in a political context (Congress) there would be strong pressure for him to recuse himself from the case if it is actually heard.

    We probably don’t want that.

    1. Aye, there’s the rub: we want justices that will respect our rights, but if we get a justice who explicitly says that he’ll protect our rights in front of Congress, there will be demands to recuse himself from cases that involve the protection of our rights.

      A catch-22.

      I do take comfort in the fact that Gorsuch is an Originalist, and that the words of the 2nd Amendment are pretty clear from an Originalist standpoint….

  6. If you are interested in their legal opinion then read their legal opinions. Personal opinions are immaterial to a judges verdict Recall that quaint notion this is a nation of laws and not men?

    1. “Personal opinions are immaterial to a judges verdict”

      FWIW, an attorney friend of mine has told me several times of having a course in law school called something like “reality law.” It taught at ideas like “Personal opinions are immaterial to a judges verdict” are a bunch of bullshit, and that usually a judge has made his/her decision before ever entering the courtroom; then they will listen for the arguments that best support their preconceived opinion.

      “A nation of laws.” Heh. May I presume you’ve never worn handcuffs, involuntarily, anyway?

  7. I would have been disappointed had he began discussing his personal feelings on cases. It’s not that he doesn’t have a personal opinion (we are all human), it’s that it’s a judges duty to rule based on law – a point he drove home repeatedly.

    If you want to know where his feelings are read the opinions he has authored. I read the details from a handful of the cases he listed… Remember a key point to many posts here is people on the other side being uninformed.

    1. Law is some certain thing then? Not open to interpretation at all, ever? I get why he’s being dodgy with answers. It’s the culture now. We maintain the fiction that judges are impartial. They can’t speak their legal opinions lest there be demands they recuse themselves.

      I get that idea when it comes to commenting on an actual case, but Heller is indeed the law of the land. A judge ought to be able to speak freely about his legal opinions on established law without appearing prejudicial.

  8. Gorsuch: “It is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, senator, respectfully, it’s a matter of it being the law and my job is to apply and enforce the law.”

    Judges are not there to help the little guy, corporations or the government. They are supposed to interpret the law and uphold or invalidate it in respect of the Constitution. It is easy enough to get a sense of him through his body of work. His personal opinions are of little value and can only cause litigants to blame him for being unfair.

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