Friday, December 01, 2006

Virtual Judge Posner lectures on Second Life

This is damn cool: 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner will be giving an interview on the popular Second Life game, discussed here and here recently on Corrections Sentencing. I frequently disagree with Judge Posner and I think he overplays his fetish for law and economics. But his writing is prolific, always fun to read, he's a learned man, and as a long-time blogger he obviously participates in the cutting edge communciations revolution more aggressively than a lot of folks half his age.

I think we need more judicial bloggers, and have been trying to coax Judge Susan Criss for some time to take up the mantle. IMO retired state district Judge Ron Chapman would also make a good blogger, to judge by his prolific emails. And Judge Larry Gist, head of the state Judicial Advisory Council, always has useful contributions every time I hear him open his mouth in public - I'd love to see him launch a blog giving us his regular impressions about what's working and what's not.

Texas Northern District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer has humor blog, but that's a different beast, though fun. By contrast, though, Posner takes on substantive legal and public policy matters in his writings. I don't see many judges doing that, much less federal appellate judges, though you'd think they'd feel free since they're all appointed for life.

Where are the judicial bloggers, especially in Texas? We've got PDs and defense lawyers, even cops and prison guards, but to my knowledge DAs and judges so far remain underrepresented in in the Texas blogosphere. Your guess is as good as mine as to why?

9 comments:

TexPD4Parity said...

I think it would be interesting to have some other perspectives on issues pertaining to Texas. Just because I'm a defense lawyer doesn't mean I couldn't learn something from someone on the other side or from someone on the bench.

Shannon Edmonds said...

"We've got PDs and defense lawyers, even cops and prison guards, but to my knowledge DAs and judges so far remain underrepresented in in the Texas blogosphere. Your guess is as good as mine as to why?"

It's not a mystery to me. It's the same reason for the dearth of blogs among legislators, mayors, governors, and others who get their job from the ballot box -- by and large, elected officials aren't keen on giving potential political opponents material for future campaign flyers, nor do they want their hired hands doing the same.

Last time I checked, PDs, defense lawyers, cops, and prison guards don't have to run for re-election and don't work for people who do, either.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading the blogs and, occasionally, as now, posting a comment. But for a judge, elected or serving as a visiting judge, who's still actively hearing cases and presiding over trials, there's always the chance that an opinion expressed, encouragement given, or criticism made can be used by one side or the other of a future case as material for recusal. That, together with our omnipresent Canons of Judicial Responsibility, is why you don't see more Texas judges as bloggers... But I sure enjoy the job Scott does on here. Thanks for hearing my two cents worth.

Judge Ron Chapman

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Shannon, I'd suggest that's a temporary fear they'll have to overcome. Politicians blogging is the future, for sure, as voters look for a way to distinguish stuffed shirt candidates and the netroots grows in poltiical importance. And it can be done carefully (though it shouldn't, IMO, be done by surrogates). Look at Rep. Peña - I don't think he puts himself at risk with what he does.

Prosecutors could also blog anonymously - even, perhaps especially, ADAs, etc. I'd just like to see a different perspective.

Besides, I've done oppo research on dozens of campaigns, and folks hardly need a blog to find problems with candidates. Honestly, a blog gives candidates an informal place to follow up a gaffe in the same news cylce and say, "What I really meant to say was."

Finally, I noticed that some CA prosecutors apparently have blogs, and they have to get re-elected. Here's an alternative hypothesis: Maybe our Texas crowd of DAs is just afraid to subject their ideas to public scrutiny? Some of them are pretty far out there.

I do understand Judge Chapman's worries that opinions would be used against you in a recusal hearing, but then I see Judge Posner blogging away on everything under the sun. I wonder, are appellate judges in a different circumstance (they're still elected in Texas, but I mean on the fear of recusal, etc.)? Best,

AlanBean said...

Posner's blog rarely touches on the mechanics and fairness of the criminal justice system. It is a blog for economics majors. An essentially libertarian perspective wedded to an elitist embrace of meritocracy. To the extent the issue is even broached, it is assumed that the underclass is overrepresented in the criminal justice system due to factors such as low IQ. In other words, reform is hopeless because these people are genetically inferior; they will do what they do no matter what we do to stop them. The implication seems to be that we live in the best of all possible worlds. Nothing much there to upset the average voter. Posner's blog strikes me as a highly erudite reflection of the zeitgeist with surpisingly little discussion of legal issues.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Of course, Posner thinks economics majors should decide the law, which is what makes his jurisprudence so unique, important and also quirky and sometimes as flawed as it is brilliant. He's an interesting character.

TexPD4Parity said...

Are you aware of any other Texas legislators in addition Rep. Peña who have blogs?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Several legislators have started them and let them discontinue, but he's the only one I know of who's really kept it up regularly in Texas.

TexPD4Parity said...

Thanks for the info.