Justice Souter Describes Judges' Impact on History as 'Slight'Breaking News
“For most of us, the very best work that we do sinks into the stream pretty quickly," Souter told more than 300 judges at the annual Third Circuit Judicial Conference in Philadelphia....
Quoting a legal scholar who once questioned his place in history, Souter’s answer was that judges must look at the big picture when considering their impact.
“Our value does not come from the moment we all aspire to have---the moment of the error-free trial, of the perfect decision and opinion…(we) thought should get into the case books by next year,” Souter said, noting that there are only a handful of famous decisions remembered beyond 20 years like Marbury v. Madison (1803).
“If we are a lucky we all have a few of those (decisions) in our careers. But if we are honest we have to realize our significance, even if we are lucky, is very slight,” he said.
comments powered by Disqus
Stephen J Cipolla - 5/8/2009
It is to the public's ultimate benefit that the Court's significance is historically slight. Most of its "significant" cases have been horrendous affirmances of miscarriages of justice, like every single case involving slavery.Like Plessy's affirmance of the whole system of Jim Crow. Like the Korematsu, McKlesky v. Kemp, and its refusal to recognize the continuing erosion of individual rights at the expense of the agenda of the imperial anti-terror state. For every over-rated decision like Brown v. Board, there are a half dozen that are dangerous rubber stamps of executive power grabs, abstention from addressing foreign policy disasters, refusal to extend constutional protections to "new" minorities. The Supreme Court reflects history, it never has been a vanguard for progress or human rights, and those who think one President's ability to change the institutionally reactionary nature of the Court with new appointments, just haven't read the history of the Court and the political history of the country in an integrated way. Souter is correct, maybe more so than he intended. He won't missed.
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Newly released interactive map shows images of destroyed monuments of Mosul
- How the Rise of the Post Office Explains American Innovation
- These Americans are reliving history and don’t mind repeating it
- Britain largest home is saved for the nation
- Shelter and the slums: capturing bleak Britain 50 years ago
- WSJ features an article by a conservative calling for the abolition of Black History Month
- Mary Beard, herself a bestselling author, wonders why more women historians aren't
- Princeton U. historian Imani Perry claims mistreatment in parking ticket arrest
- Retired historian George Dennison remains on the payroll at the U. of Montana while faculty are cut
- The Atlantic profiles exciting ways to teach history