Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Softball Question

A recent judicial ethics opinion from Massachusetts holds that it is not improper for a judge to umpire217510_softball softball games for a fee during off-hours or vacation time. The opinion states that such activity does not detract from the dignity that is required of judicial officers in outside activities. (Mike Frisch)

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It rather makes a natural fit for judges to be umpires for, as Gerald F. Gaus reminds us, 'The social contract theories of Hobbes, Locke, and Kant are, first and foremost, justifications of an "arbitrator," "umpire," or "judge" whose task is to provide public, definitive resolutions of conflicting judments. The "judge," as Hobbes said, provides "public reason" to which private reason "must submit." Gaus goes on to elaborate the importance of 'The Umpire Model of Authority' for Liberalism, and in particular, the notion of 'Judges as Umpires' in his Justificatory Liberalism: An Essay on Epistemology and Political Theory (1996).

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Apr 7, 2007 2:40:41 PM

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