Hey, How About Some Respect?
I must thank David Giacalone for making me aware of this little outrage.
It appears that Frank H. Easterbrook, a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, doesn't like juries. Well, maybe he loves them. He just thinks they are stupid.
According to Giacalone, during some hearings of the Antitrust Modernization Commission, Judge Easterbrook during his testimony referred to juries as "twelve high school dropouts." Giacalone's article on the topic is here.
Ever since law school, I have complained that law schools fail to teach their students history and context. Instead, they churn out unenlightened technocrats by the bucketful. Can we consider Easterbrook's myopic statement evidence that my complaint is correct? This technocrat may know some law, but he apparently is completely unaware that juries are -- far from "twelve high school drop-outs," -- on the whole slightly better educated than average Americans, and are nobly taking time out of their lives and performing a public service for little more than parking money.
These people - from whose taxes Judge Easterbrook derives an exorbitant and (judging from this statement) unearned salary -- deserve respect for the integrity, intelligence and perspective they bring to their task. It is sad that Judge Easterbrook does not bring the same wisdom to his comments.
Justice Cardozo is quoted as saying "for the law to be respected, it first must be respectable." The same can be said of a judge. Many judges, unable to earn respect, are content with merely being feared. Easterbrook has apparently built up a reputation as a judicial bully.
Is it surprising that a judicial bully would think jurors (not being appellate court judges) must henceforth be village idiots? Hardly. The elitist judges who denounce jurors without even being aware of the research that shows that most jurors are intelligent and act with integrity continue to fester in our courts. But at least now, thanks to those like David Giacalone, there are some out there to call them on it.