Judge Posner Tells WSJ He Prefers Parody to Mock Trials
The WSJ reports today about Supreme Court justices’ hobby of conducting mock trials of historical and literary figures, but there’s a dissenter: Judge Richard Posner, of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
He says mock trials of fictitious characters don’t “contribute to anyone’s enlightenment.” For Judge Posner, the hobby symptomizes the broader ills of contemporary “celebrity culture.”
“That’s the problem with presidents and Supreme Court justices and billionaires. They think that because they are successful in one sphere they’re experts in everything,” Judge Posner says. Supreme Court justices should stop “preening” and return to “their dignified anonymity,” he says.
Advised of Judge Posner’s comments, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg laughed.
“He’s an odd person to say that, considering the range of his writings, including ‘Sex and Reason,’ ” said Justice Ginsburg, a regular mock trial participant.
Indeed, Judge Posner is among the best-known of the nation’s judges, having been profiled in magazines, contributed to the popular and academic press, and written dozens of books on law, literature, economics and other topics. He also remains a force on the University of Chicago’s law faculty.
While dismissing the idea of putting literary figures such as Hamlet on trial, Judge Posner also offered some views of the case.