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What makes a good judge?

What makes a good judge?

Is it being impartial, unprejudiced and analytical?
Is it being old and experienced?
Is it the ability to use the practical wisdom Barry Schwartz mentions?
Is it concentrating on justice rather than on conflicts of interests?

Is it a combination? What do you think?

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  • May 18 2013: First of all one must be learned in the law and have the temprament to apply it with fairness and equanimity. One must be able to recognize and overcome his own prejudices and views. One must also be willing to deal with the issues of the time within the context of a constitutional democracy. That means the judge should be able to still be able to distinguish between what he would like the outcome of a particular publice debate to be and what the constitution and laws require.
    Often the issues that reach the courts are not answered by our contitution. Some of the judges of our time are unwilling to recognize that fact. They act as if they have attained the bench to determine the rules of conduct of our society without regard to the role of the legislature or executive branches. If, for example the dispute before the court involves a request by 2 persons to permit them to marry even though they have been denied a license to marry because they are first cousins. If the statutes of their state do not permit them to marry, some judges may act as if they and they alone have a license to permit this couple to disregard the law as written. That is the kind of issue that is arising with increasing frquency now and the resolution is far from simple.
    However a judge decides such a case, he/she may be met with public outcry from members of the media and others that the case has been decided without any rational basis. It takes personal strength and fortitude to withstand such a barrage but that goes with the robes!

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