Hercules and the Umpire

Readers may have already come across it, but I hadn’t until a few days ago, and in case others haven’t yet, I wanted to recommend a wonderful blog by Richard Kopf, an American federal district court judge, called Hercules and the Umpire. As judge Kopf explains,

I hope the title evokes an image of two poles.  On the north, we have the late great Ronald Dworkin’s all knowing judge, Hercules.  On the south, we have Chief Justice Roberts’ formulation of the judge as umpire.

I am interested in knowing (1) which pole is the better and (2) whether there is a longitude and latitude between those poles that locates the proper role of a federal trial judge.

As this passage suggests, Judge Kopf is a very intellectually curious person. He is also intelligent, humble, and forthright. In a word, he is wise. He also has a much better blogging work-ethic than I do.

If you are interested in judges ― or in the (American) legal system generally ― take the time to read him. It’s well worth your while.

Author: Leonid Sirota

Law nerd. I teach constitutional law at the Auckland University of Technology Law School, in New Zealand. I studied law at McGill, clerked at the Federal Court of Canada, and then did graduate work at the NYU School of Law.

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