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October 5, 2011

Justice Scalia complains to Senate about too many federal drug prosecutions

Though I am embellishing a bit with the title I picked for this post, this AP story about Justice Scalia's testimony to Congress today reveals that I am not the only Blakely fan who thinks the federal war on drugs has negative collateral consequences.  The Ap story is headlined "Scalia: Judges 'ain't what they used to be'," and it begins this way:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the quality of federal judges has suffered because there are too many of them. Testifying before a Senate committee Wednesday, Scalia blamed Congress for making federal crimes out of too many routine drug cases.  In turn, that created a need for more judges.

"Federal judges ain't what they used to be," he said during a rare appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The federal judiciary should be an elite group, said Scalia, who has served on the high court for 25 years. "It's not as elite as it used to be," he said.

He was responding to a question about what he sees as the greatest threat to the independence of judges.

October 5, 2011 at 10:29 PM | Permalink


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Judge Scalia's elite know nothing about nothing, not even anything about judging. Naturally, they will fill that vacuum of knowledge with well documented bias favoring the legal profession. (Lawyer-Judge Bias, by Benjamin Barton)

It is most important that all American lawyers read the Amanda Knox story. They will learn that Italian judges are trained as judges, and promoted based on merit and performance. They are joined on the bench by lay individuals who keep them honest. They are inquisitors. That is a good thing because they may have the most experience of anyone in that court.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 6, 2011 2:07:57 AM

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Posted by: John | Oct 6, 2011 2:53:40 AM

And by "elite," Scalia means (because he's said it before) that they graduate from one of five law schools, all save one of which are private and in the northeast.

Because, you know, graduates from places like Wisconsin-Madison, Ohio State, Michigan, and Texas could not possibly be great lawyers or judges.

I do like and respect the man quite a bit, even though I'm on the other end of the political spectrum. But like fish in a round fishbowl, he is completely oblivious to the outside world.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Oct 6, 2011 9:59:41 AM

LOL hell res Ipsa you just described 80% of MOST politicians in washington!

Posted by: rodsmith | Oct 6, 2011 12:44:22 PM

The odd thing about this claim is that the more old opinions (and not even all that old at that, before the mid 1970s or so) I read the less impressed I become with the judges of eras past. Even when I disagree with them modern judges seem to be turning out better product. The role judges see for themselves seems to have changed from one of working on first principals almost all the time to working within the existing constitutional, statutory and precedential systems, and that I consider a very good thing. On that score, from what I've read, Scalia has had enormous impact.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Oct 6, 2011 1:42:29 PM

Don't quite see the connection. Back in the day, federal judges (including Supreme Court justices) were involved in rather mundane cases. How about before the Supreme Court has as much control of its docket or when justices "rode circuit" hearing run of the mill cases? Were they not elite?

The excess drug cases do have bad results but that isn't a great way to phrase it.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 6, 2011 6:32:14 PM

I disagree with them modern judges seem to be turning out better product.

Posted by: John | Oct 11, 2011 3:39:28 AM

I wonder the true reason why?

Posted by: helperslegal 7 | Oct 31, 2011 11:03:48 AM

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