popehat discusses how power corrupts judges

In reference to the recent story where a judge kidnapped children for refusing to have a meaningful relationship with their father:

Judge Lisa Gorcyca has power because she’s a judge. She’s infuriated that her power is, for the moment, insufficient to make children do what she wants. She’s not angry in the abstract because kids ought to have good relationships with their dads. She’s apoplectic that children are disrespecting her power by not bending to her will. She’s been elevated beyond her ability and character: given power, and lacking the maturity or intellect to wield it justly, reduced to snarling at nine-year-olds in excruciating family circumstances when (depending on whom you believe) they don’t either suck up to an abuser or successfully resist an abuser’s overwhelming influence.

On rants by judges:

This is obscure and mysterious to people who aren’t litigators, and obvious and familiar to people who are. Many — perhaps even most — judges are decorous and professional, at least on their good days, and don’t indulge themselves in rants. But there are plenty of judges (including good judges having bad days) who use the bench as a bully pulpit. They are Ayn Rand, and the attorneys and parties are the readers subjected to 50-page monologues. They are the hideous bore at the cocktail party, only with the power to jail you for contempt if you try to find a polite excuse to escape to the kitchen or the bathroom. They have the power to indulge themselves, and so they do. They mistake power — symbolized by their robes and gavel and high seat — for being right, for being apt, for having actual insight.

On a judge attempting to jail people for private conversations about him:

Judge Grendell is engaged in a grotesque abuse of his judicial power — the very worst sort of black robe fever — to vent his childish pique. This sort of thing happens more often than you might think. It’s not unique to judges. It’s the way too many humans act when given power. Judges are only unique in the extent of their privileges and their tendency to evade consequences for bad behavior.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
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