Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

A Justice Should Just Be a Judge


In response to a question from Senator Klobuchar about nominee John Roberts’s famous umpire analogy, Kagan says that of course the job of a judge is not robotic, particularly at the Supreme Court level.  Now, it’s true that a robot can’t be a judge, but the job of a justice would actually be more easily done by a robot than the job of a trial judge.  Asserting otherwise — and, in particular, asserting that, because justices handle more important and difficult cases than lower courts, they have to exercise more “judgment,” which is what Kagan was saying — suggests that she indeed sees a policymaking  role for justices.


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