Saturday, October 8, 2011

Good Old Days Scorecard (Fall 2011): SCOTUS 1, Court of Appeals 1

"[F]ederal judges ain't what they used to be. When I got out of law school, there were 67 court of appeals judges . . . . It was a big deal to be a federal court of appeals judge." The current federal bench is too numerous and "not as elite." Justice Antonin Scalia, U.S. Supreme Court, Oct. 5, 2011 (testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee; video linked here, discussion at 1:22:57-1:23:35; 1:26:05-1:26:31).

"The Supreme Court today is composed of competent lawyers, and one should probably leave it at that. I don’t think the Court at present has incandescent intellects of the caliber of Holmes, Louis Brandeis, Jackson, and Frankfurter." Judge Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Sept. 29, 2011 (New York Review of Books interview by Eric Segall, at 47, 48).

Speaking for dimmer bulbs everywhere, I still see the justices as "incandescent intellects" and the court of appeals judges as a "big deal." I also note that passing 70 has its benefits; you can say what you really think.