Issues and Opinions · Actions and Reactions

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
Henry L. Mencken

Statistics means never having to say you're certain.

Learn from the mistakes of others - you can't live long enough to make them all yourself.
Martin Vanbee

Unswervingly Decisive

When driving down a highway at high speed and a concrete wall looms in the distance, some might interpret turning or slowing down as a sign of weakness and excuse the resulting carnage as "decisive" or "devotion to ideals". Others might call it something else, and cleaning up the resulting mess takes time and resources away from other things.

Activist Judges

Judges are sometimes accused of "legislating from the bench", or "social engineering", but courts usually make such decisions in the absence of clear, relevant laws. Courts don't solicit cases - they judge cases brought before them, and these cases are often brought when applicable laws are vague or nonexistent. Legislators and voters can ignore or put off difficult decisions. Courts don't always have that option. If a judge interprets a vague law in a way that doesn't allow a particular situation, and there isn't an applicable legislated remedy, the judge must either let the situation stand despite being illegal, or create a remedy.

Auditioning Judges

Politicians sometimes ask nominees to a court how they would vote on a particular issue. Anyone providing a specific answer, either supporting or opposing the politicians preconceived opinion could suggest they're not impartial and don't care about the specific facts of the case. This isn't what judges are supposed to do. It might be appropriate to know which laws and previous case decisions a nominee might possibly apply, or dismiss as irrelevant, with a closer look at the judges past decisions as supporting evidence.

Judges have the option of recusing themselves if they're potentially biased in specific cases. Questions about when and why they might choose that option, or why they did or didn't recuse themselves in past similar cases could also be relevant.