Richard Posner

Earlier this week, we selected as a Quote of the Day a controversial quip from a post by Judge Richard Posner on The Becker-Posner Blog. The quote read:

The problem of priests’ sexually molesting boys would be solved if priests were allowed to marry and if women could be priests, because then the priesthood would attract fewer homosexuals.

It was, like pretty much every Quote of the Day, removed from its context. To see that context, read Judge Posner’s complete post, entitled “Contraception and Catholicism.”

Judge Posner’s comment wasn’t well-received by some in the LGBT community, who viewed it as implying that homosexuals might be more prone to molest children than heterosexuals. Yesterday, University of Chicago OutLaw, an LGBT affinity group at Judge Posner’s longtime academic home, posted an open letter to Judge Posner on its website.

The letter criticized Judge Posner’s post for “suggesting a causal link between male homosexuality and sexual abuse of minors (or even conflating the two)” and for “promulgat[ing] inaccurate and harmful stereotypes regarding gay and lesbian individuals.” OutLaw asked Judge Posner to consider retracting his statement.

I reached out to Judge Posner to see if he had any response to Outlaw’s open letter. Indeed he did. What did he have to say?

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The problem of priests’ sexually molesting boys would be solved if priests were allowed to marry and if women could be priests, because then the priesthood would attract fewer homosexuals.

– Judge Richard Posner, in a recent post on The Becker-Posner Blog.

I didn’t read one word. I have a life to live.

– Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, explaining that he didn’t read the 100 pages of RESPA disclosure documents when he recently purchased a house.

(Gavel bang: Josh Blackman, who notes that Judge Easterbrook’s colleague, Judge Richard Posner, previously said essentially the same thing.)


[S]ome of the conclusions of which our leading economic experts have been confident have turned out to be incorrect. For example, Alan Greenspan, appointed and then reappointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve for five terms by four different Presidents, recently admitted to a significant flaw in the ideology that caused him to support and implement policies of financial deregulation…

And Judge Richard Posner, a highly respected jurist and a leading economics expert, has recently expressed his admiration for Keynesian economics, reversing a lifetime of reliance on the Chicago School’s approach.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, writing for the Ninth Circuit in State of California v. Safeway, Inc.

I have to, it’s my job. I mean what would I do? I don’t know what I would do.

– Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner, when asked at trial how he could carry on after feeling threatened by radio host Hal Turner’s comment that Judge Posner and two of his colleagues “deserve to be killed.”

I don’t believe you when you say just about anything anymore because I know that you will lie to a court any time it helps you. I know that. I saw you do it. I know you will do that. You have proven that to me beyond a reasonable doubt.

– Chief Judge James Holderman (N.D. Ill.) of Chicago, berating government lawyers — before a unanimous panel of the Seventh Circuit removed him from the case, in the middle of trial. Judge Richard Posner’s opinion cited Judge Holderman’s abuse of discretion and “unreasonable fury toward the prosecutors.”

Judge Richard Posner made one remark that stole the show at a panel about regulation at the recent American Constitution Society conference. We summarized his quip on Twitter:

Judge Posner at ACS panel: For my home equity loan, I got 100s of pages of documentation; I didn’t read, I just signed. #ACS10 #Posner #LOL

This generated laughter from the crowd, due to Judge Posner’s status as one of the greatest legal minds of his (or any other) generation. It was amusing to imagine the brilliant Posner flipping page after page of paperwork and mechanically scribbling next to every “Sign Here” flag, without even bothering to read what he was signing. It’s the kind of behavior one would expect from a person earning $35,000 and a buying a $600,000 home two hours outside of Phoenix, circa 2006 — but not from one of America’s leading jurists.

As it turns out, Judge Posner isn’t the only boldface name of the legal profession who skips over the fine print in form contracts….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Do Lawyers Actually Read Boilerplate Contracts?
Richard Posner and Evan Chesler don’t; do you?

Last week, inspired by the pending Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, we embarked upon a fun little imaginative exercise:

What if Supreme Court nominees didn’t have to defend themselves to the American public? What if the U.S. Senate’s constitutional privilege of “advice and consent” was revoked? What would the Court look like if the nominees didn’t have to even pretend to be moderate?

It’s a thought experiment that we’re sure has been done countless times before. But we’ve never done it, so we’ll plunge ahead.

Here are the rules: (1) The nominee should be unconfirmable. (2) The nominees on the right should make Elie angry; the nominees on the left should make Lat uncomfortable. (3) Mealy-mouthed moderates need not apply.

President Elie Mystal kicked things off by nominating his four liberal justices. And they did make me uncomfortable — half of them failed the bar exam.

I was in charge of picking the five conservative justices. So, who are my nominees?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Unconfirmable Supreme Court (Part 2): The Conservatives”

The bottom line here is that Judge Posner is one of the few appellate judges that writes his own opinions. Otherwise it would be like getting quotations from law clerks.

Robert Blomquist, editor of the new book The Quotable Judge Posner.

If you’re tired of reading about the Harvard Law School email controversy — judging from our traffic and comment levels, most of you aren’t, but maybe some of you are — we have some good news. Our coverage is winding down. (We do have a few loose ends to tie up, though, which may take us into the weekend or early next week.)

Before we conclude, we’d like to hear from you, our readers. We’ve heard from the commenters, of course — but many readers never comment, so the commenters aren’t representative of everyone.

Reader polls, which draw much larger participation than the comments, offer a better gauge of audience sentiment. We’d like to poll you on two questions:

(1) Was Crimson DNA’s email racist?

(2) Was Crimson DNA’s email offensive?

Please vote in our two reader polls, after the jump.

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Take Our Reader Polls”

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