Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Re: Kirsanow on Roberts


Matt, I wholeheartedly agree with your praise for Peter Kirsanow’s essays. Indeed, I was wondering just this morning which court he should grace.

Your perception that Judge Roberts embraces the old-fashioned belief that there are correct and incorrect answers to legal questions is also right on, as Roberts’s testimony from his 2003 confirmation hearing shows:

“I do think there is a right answer in a case, and I think if judges do the work and work hard at it, they’re likely to come up with the right answer. I think that’s why, for example, in the D.C. Circuit, 97 percent of the panel decisions are unanimous, because they are hard-working judges and they come up with the same answer in a vast majority of the cases.

“There are certainly going to be disagreements. That’s why we have Courts of Appeals, because we think district courts are not always going to get it right. But I do think that there is a right answer, and if the judge and lawyers would just work hard enough, they’d come up with it.”


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