July 14, 2007

"This is not a case that should occupy the mind of a person who has anything consequential to do."

Writes Dennis Jacobs, the Chief Judge of the 2d Circuit Court of Appeals. (Via Eugene Volokh.)
I concede that this short opinion of mine does not consider or take into account the majority opinion. So I should disclose at the outset that I have not read it. I suppose this is unusual, so I explain why.
Well, at least he feels a need to explain. I'm waiting for a federal judge to do the full Bartleby the Scrivener routine and say "I would prefer not to."

8 comments:

blake said...

I can't imagine not having the urge to do that twice a day were I judge.

Hard to imagine actually doing it, though. I should try that at work: "The spec was not worth reading...."

John Foster said...

Dennis Jacobs, actually.

Ann Althouse said...

John: Thanks. I was thinking of an old game show host! Remember PDQ?

Victor said...

Wow, that makes the dissent so much more powerful!

Simon said...

I basically agree with Beldar's take.

Adam said...

Considering that it is his job to read the majority opinion (how else can he know whether or not he wants to dissent fully or in part?), I really don't find this public employee's laziness that funny.

joe said...

Jacobs is a superb judge. Wish there were more like him on the bench.

Simon said...

Adam - his job is to decide the cases before the court. If his view is that the case before the court is so lacking in merit that it should not even have an opinion, that it should simply be an order, then one can see why any opinion would be superfluous in his view.

There's a story that this reminds me of in The Brethren about Justice Douglas, and it's kind of long so you'll have to read it for yourself, but the upshot is that Justice Douglas announced to the conference in a desegregation case that he was tired of the games southerners were playing, and that the case before the court should be disposed with by an order - no argument, no additional briefing, no opinion, just a clear, unambiguous order. "If anyone writes," Douglas threatened the court, "I dissent." In those circumstances, Douglas didn't need to read what came out of the other chambers to write his dissent - because the problem wasn't what the opinion would have said, it was the existence of an opinion. I see this as being similar.