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May 15, 2013

Judge Kopf weighs in on Rep. Sensenbrenner (and on comments to his comment)

I am pleased to see that Senior United States District Judge Richard Kopf has now discussed, through two recent posts on his blog "Hercules and The Umpire", some of the recent discussion generated by my post concerning Representative James Sensenbrenner's statement about "judge-shopping" and the need for mandatory minimum sentencing laws.  Here are the titles of the two posts by Judge Kopf, along with the heart of Judge Kopf's additional commentary in these posts:

Memo to Doug Berman: The answer is “yes.” (This is a direct answer to this post's title query: "Isn't it stunningly idiotic for GOP Rep. Sensenbrenner to defend mandatory minimums because of "judge-shopping'?"):

I once had an audience with then Chairman Sensenbrenner in his Washington office. It was disconcerting for a variety of reasons.  Prime among the reasons for my disquiet was the fact that the Congressman sat very near to a portrait of himself that was so large and so lifelike that I could not figure out whether I was speaking to the portrait or the real guy. As it turned out, nothing I said to the portrait or the man made any difference.

More on Sensenbrenner:

Everyone who knows anything about the federal district courts understand that it is virtually impossible to judge-shop in the manner suggested by the Bucky Badger doppelgänger.  Everyone who knows anything about federal sentencing policy -- from the Sentencing Commission on down -- also knows that almost all mandatory minimum sentences radically distort and frustrate reasoned sentencing practices.  The current effort to address statutory minimums in Congress is really important and Doug’s effort to stimulate serious discussion on the subject was cheapened by the responses he received.

Good and smart people ought to act good and smart.  We have the Sensenbrenners of the world to provide us with the nasty and dumb.

May 15, 2013 at 06:39 PM | Permalink


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Way to keep it classy, Judge Kopf. Prof. Berman, you may want to consider whether you demean your own blog by repeating the kind of puerile name-calling that Judge Kopf spews forth on his own.

Posted by: Anon | May 16, 2013 1:31:11 PM

Anon pretty much nails it. Ridiculing someone's looks by calling him the "Bucky Badger doppelgänger" would be poor behavior for someone in seventh grade, not to mention on the federal bench.

From what I know of Kopf, he's a pretty good judge, but that crack was out of order. It certainly puts him in a less than an ideal position to say, exactly two sentences later, that the discussion was "cheapened" by the comments. Does he think his own juvenile comment improved things?

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 17, 2013 9:08:38 AM

Kudos to Doug and Judge Kopf for restraint. They could have called Sensenbrenner what he clearly appears to be -- a mouth-breathing, right-wing moron.

Referring to Sensenbrenner as a bucky Badger doppelganger strikes me as kind and gentle.

Posted by: JohnK | May 22, 2013 5:35:15 PM

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