Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

A Tale of Two Judges

The importance of "judicial independence" depends on the context

Judges usually manage to stay out of the news, but two of them in California have been getting lots of national attention lately: U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego, and Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky.  Both judges have been criticized recently for making bad rulings–Curiel in the Trump University case and Persky in the Stanford rape case–but the reaction to this criticism  has been quite different.  In the case of Curiel, the commentariat frantically circled the wagons in defense of the judge; in the case of Persky, a veritable lynch mob has formed as critics jockey for position to see who can condemn the judge the loudest.  Is a double standard at work?

I explore that topic in a post today on The American Spectator, concluding that ”It’s OK to criticize judges, as long as the judge is arguably guilty of slighting a ’sacred cow’ in the estimation of the leftists who dominate the press and legal establishment.”

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