Did the agents who were conducting my interview already know all about my daughter, the surveillance and the warning? While I suspect they did, to this day, I am not certain. Was I really obligated to “rat her out” to prove my bona fides? I have no idea, but I sure felt sh**ty for having done so.
– Judge Richard G. Kopf, writing on his delightful blog about the deeply intrusive process for vetting federal judicial nominees — which required him to reveal to the FBI his daughter’s brush with allegedly unsavory characters.
(See also Richard Posner — citing Above the Law and Elie Mystal, by the way — after the jump.)
Maybe you don’t want to listen to Judge Kopf because district court judges are, as Judge Kopf puts it, “the TTT of the federal judiciary.” But people higher up the judicial totem pole agree with him. Here’s an excerpt from Judge Richard Posner’s new book, Reflections on Judging (affiliate link):
Candidates for a federal judgeship receive much closer scrutiny nowadays. The process is protracted and highly invasive of privacy, and controversial candidates have little chance of being nominated or if nominated confirmed. As a result there has been a reduction in the variance of court of appeals judges (also of federal district judges and Supreme Court Justices); there are fewer duds, but also fewer stars.
 Grotesquely so in the case of Supreme Court candidates. See Elie Mystal, “So You Want To Be A Supreme Court Justice? Don’t Sniff Glue,” in Above the Law, July 23, 2012, http://abovethelaw.com/2012/07/so-you-want-to-be-a-supreme-court-justice-dont-sniff-glue/ (visited Jan. 5, 2013).
For more about Judge Posner’s book, check out Professor Kenji Yoshino’s review of it in the New York Times. Here is Professor Yoshino’s last line: “In Richard A. Posner, our generation has its Learned Hand, its Henry Friendly. In complex times, we can take comfort in the simple fact of his existence.” Slap that on the back cover of the paperback edition!
The question [Hercules and the Umpire]
Reflections on Judging [Amazon (affiliate link)]
Holding Court: Richard A. Posner’s ‘Reflections on Judging’ [New York Times]