Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Thank goodness I finally was able to take some time out this afternoon for lunch and Howard Bashman's interview (on How Appealing; on 20 Questions) with Judge Stanley F. Birch of the Eleventh Circuit. This may be my all-time favorite of Howard's 20 Questions series to date. These would be fantastic in audio...
On Treating The Judicial Branch Like An Agency
When I began this job our twelve active judges faced case filings totaling about 4,475. Now, the same twelve active judges (and several fine senior judges) must resolve over 7,000 cases. We are all very tired. Many of us are also frustrated with the manner in which we are treated by Congress — both as to our cost-of-living increases (few) and the budget of the Third Branch of government. More than a few in Congress appear to view us as another administrative agency. Our entire budget is less than that of the Justice Department. But then, nobody promised us a rose garden.
Eerily familiar. Too often do I also hear this lament from members of the state judiciary. It's a dangerous trend. There are three branches of government for good reason.
In our society of free men (and women) and free markets, the necessity for informed citizens and consumers is essential. Uninhibited access to information and the ability to process it, critically, is central to our way of life — politically and economically. But therein lies the problem, the marketing monopoly that inheres in copyright represents a conflict between two fundamental tenets of American society: free speech (and the concomitant right to hear it) and free enterprise. With the advent of the transmission copyright and the technological age of communication and learning, we are called upon to reconcile, balance and harmonize these forces in a manner true to our history and enriching to our future.
With regard to Eldred v. Ashcroft, had I been on the Court, I would have been a respectful dissenter (if I could not have persuaded my colleagues to follow the correct path as Justice Breyer gallantly attempted to do).
Is a Constitution for all the people or only the privileged few?
Enough teasers, there is much, much more, get over there and read the whole thing.
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