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Judging the Bench | Judicial Deliberations
Evidence Outside the Trial Record | Constitutional Theory | “Making” Law
Empirical Study of Judicial Deliberations

Judging the Bench: Empirical study of judicial deliberations

Judge Boyce Martin:  “I’ve been pushed from a moderate middle to far more what people today want to label as liberal, and what I hate the most is that they talk about  which president appointed me.”

Chief Justice Myron Steele:  “From the Delaware high court perspective, if you’re talking about whether it’s Democrat/left as a gross generalization or Republican/right as a gross generalization, we’re uniquely situated. I believe we have the only state constitution which mandates that each of our important courts has to be balanced by party. You can have no more than a majority of one from a political party so party politics is basically out of our system. It’s not an issue….

Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser
Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser

Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser: “I understand what they’re saying, but the question I would raise is does that mean that someone who’s not been a Republican or a Democrat publicly in their life and career before going on the bench doesn’t have a chance because they’re not tagged as a Republican or a Democrat….?

“Over the years the Virginia Supreme Court has never had the kind of voting bloc that you see in the United States Supreme Court. On any given day, those of us who might be viewed by the outside world as being conservative or liberal are agreeing on issues, and if you look at the history of our court, you’ll see that we do indeed have a lot of unanimous decisions. I’ve been there 16 years and I’d say at least three-fourths of the time or more we’ve had unanimous decisions….

“I think whether you’re a judge or something else, you are the accumulation of all the life experiences that you’ve had. We’re all very different people because of those life experiences. We have different viewpoints, but I think that the beauty of an appellate court is that you bring together in Virginia seven people who come from different backgrounds, who’ve had different experiences and different viewpoints. I think because of that we deliver better decisions in the cases that come before us….

“I sometimes wonder, do our legislative bodies sometimes punt on the really difficult social issues and necessarily force them into the courts? I sometimes wonder if that happens in the federal system especially.”