Monday, May 4, 2009

Justice Souter will be in a better place, and so will we
Tom Smith

I would like to like Justice Souter.  Here is a guy who says at the relatively young age of 69, this town sucks, it's full of phonies, the work is boring, and it's impossible to find a good place to hike.  I am so outta here.  And then off he goes back the mountains of New Hampshire and his mountains, forests and books.  I admire that.  He is his own man.  So he's a confirmed bachelor, a loner, and so on.  That's fine. I don't know if he has a dog, but he probably should.  Or at least a cat.  He may be more of a cat person.  I do not pass judgment.  As some of you may know, two of the most brilliant jurists alive today are cat people.  I take it that by saying he wants a Justice with empathy, our young President is saying he would prefer a dog person.

But what I cannot, not forgive, for it is not mine to judge, but let's say, miss, are the opinions that will no longer be written upon the departure of Justice Souter from our loftiest court.  I offer Exhibit 1, the majority opinion in Virginia Bankshares.  It holds that, well, never mind.  I am so over trying to explain what it holds. It is a long, tortured expedition to a deeply baffling place.  It is the jurisprudential equivalent of a short story by Robert Aickman, except that Souter opinions are much longer.  No, not like an Aickman short story; like being a character in an Aickman short story.  I read in the New York Times that Souter likes to go on long walks in the forest at night with his flashlight. Law imitates life, I guess.

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Tom Smith


Wait, who are the imminent, cat-loving jurists of our day? I find this disconcerting.

Posted by: E | May 4, 2009 3:11:00 PM

1) Richard Posner (7th Cir.)
2) Michael Boudin (1st Cir.)

there may be others.

Posted by: Tom Smith | May 4, 2009 3:19:34 PM

There was a Fed Circuit judge, now retired, who took his cat with him to his chambers every day. When he retired he had his cat painted with him. I found it pretty charming. The portrait said something like, "Judge X (I forget his name) and [cat's name], a distinguished cat". Very nice, I thought.

Posted by: Matt | May 4, 2009 5:47:05 PM


Posted by: Gail | May 4, 2009 8:03:29 PM

cat person and dog person, well how can one identify the difference between this two? LOL!!!! Justice Souter, I think he is one of the great jurists well that's my opinion everyone has different opinion and points of view

Posted by: European Justice | Aug 2, 2009 6:34:12 PM