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September 22, 2012

One district judge's take on the spat between Justice Scalia and Judge Posner

I have commented on the recent (and still-on-going) public spitting match between Justice Scalia and Judge Posner in part because I suspect the spat's duration is itself a result of these two jurists loving all the attention they have been able to generate.  In any event, I was pleased this morning to receive from one of my favorite district judges this commentary for posting concerning this jurisprudential tet-a-tet:

Regarding the Socialization of Posner and Scalia

I have been thinking about the nastiness that has developed between Judge Posner and Justice Scalia and their various minions and proxies over the proper method of judging. See, for example, Scalia v. Posner: Round 4 (September 21, 2012).

Years ago, I knew two kids.  One was a tall and wispy twerp whose arrogance exceeded his stratospheric brilliance.  The other was a squat punk whose beautiful mind spewed quips like switchblades.   By three orders of magnitude, these two were far smarter than the rest of us.

It was on the playground where they struggled.  The twerp found that being haughty prompted a vigorous ass kicking.  The punk learned that being mouthy got you pantsed in front of the girls.  But, over time, the playground changed them.  Each kid started to act normally.  With that, the rest of us came to respect and even appreciate them.  More importantly, their socialization prompted us to consider what they had to say.

Maybe I’m wrong, but perhaps Posner and Scalia (and their snarly stand-ins) should visit a playground.

Richard G. Kopf

Senior United States District Judge

September 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM | Permalink


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Sorry to say, it seems that that kind of socialization (i.e., respect for opposing views; transcending the smartest-guy-in-the-room syndrome) is a lost cause for Nino.

Posted by: Prof. Stan Adelman | Sep 22, 2012 2:11:32 PM

Judge Kopf, obviously, is not in the Seventh Circuit.

Regardless, I happen to 100% agree with his entertaining analysis.

Posted by: anon | Sep 22, 2012 6:34:56 PM

Unfortunately, the lessons of the playground are often forgotten after donning a black robe that imbues great power and little accountability.

Posted by: C.E. | Sep 23, 2012 1:00:55 AM

This is the same Judge Kopf who wrote one of the most haughty opinions in recent memory, Carhart v. Ashcroft.

Posted by: Kim | Sep 23, 2012 1:19:32 PM

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