My inner Philosopher-King got slightly annoyed by this WP opinion piece by sitting 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, in which he both denies that the 4th Circuit is ideologically very conservative, yet pleads that the status quo on that bench stay the same forever:
Ideological fervor is law's great antithesis. This is especially true on the courts of appeal, which, unlike the Supreme Court, do not have self-selected dockets and whose cases are often more technically challenging than ideologically flavored. Congress put federal circuit judges on panels of three for a reason -- namely, so that we could listen as well as talk, give as well as take and make the accommodations (more narrow rulings, less strident opinions) without which appellate courts cannot function. The 4th Circuit has never prided itself on ideology but on the collegiality that takes minds out of concrete and prevents personal animosities from clouding and distorting the essential act of judgment.I don't take issue with any of that, though I wonder if Brown v. Board of Education could have occurred in the absence of a small amount of "ideological fervor." Also, the judge ignores that the appellate courts are frequently the incubators of change, leading to divergent approaches among the Circuits that are ultimately reconciled by the Supremes or by legislative action.
Those of us trained in the "legal realism" taught at the University of Miami also would question the judge's apparent view that the "law" can be plucked from the clouds free of human influence if we simply look hard enough. The judge pleads for appointments to the 4th that will not create a "polarized" court, yet many think that Circuit is polarized already and out of step with the rest of the country (and even this current Supreme Court) on most legal issues. Query whether any of this needs to be on the opinion page of the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, Stu Grossman gasps in suspended disbelief:
Anyone know the background here?
Michael McNerney and Anthony Livoti Jr. are well-respected advocates and have been fixtures in the legal community for decades.
McNerney served as chairman of the University of Florida Law Center Board of Trustees and the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce's downtown council, among many trusted positions.
Livoti was a well-known litigator in Broward County courtrooms who earned the respect of a number of judges. He served on boards of directors of such causes as the Art for AIDS Auction and was a nominee for a Florida Bar pro bono award.
"I am in suspended disbelief over the allegations," said attorney Stuart Grossman of Miami's Grossman Roth, who worked with McNerney when both were Florida Bar officers. "When a lawyer is charged, the whole legal community gasps, and when it's a lawyer of Mike McNerney's stature, I think they gasp, and they have a feeling of utter disbelief."
Finally, apologies to Randy Newman, but this is so Miami:
Oh well, sorry about that -- we'll get it right next time!
Confusion about the route altered the race for the two front-runners.
Basweti, 22, was in the lead Sunday at about Mile 20, saw a video truck turn unexpectedly and got distracted. He followed the truck, which, according to race organizers, had been incorrectly ordered off the course by a police officer.
Benazzouz Slimani of Morocco, the eventual winner in 2 hours, 16 minutes, 49 seconds, said he also got confused and followed Basweti. But by the time the Kenyan realized his Moroccan competitor had turned around and gotten back on track, Basweti trailed the lead pack. He finally caught up but said the mishap caused him to expend so much energy -- emotional and otherwise -- he didn't have the final oomph to win the race he led with a fellow Kenyan for the first 10 miles.