December 27, 2004

Brevity, Legality, Ethics

This blog—my blog—isn't a real blog. It's not a real blog because I lack all decency and can't just link to an article without comment, or with only a brief comment. A post doesn't feel like a post unless I've heaped on hundreds of additional words—and all because some misguided English teacher once told me that droning on was the soul of wit.

But as a New Year's Resolution (one of many), that's all going to change! I promise to embrace brevity, starting right here on the ol' blog. So here goes. *Ahem*.

"Do read Judge Alex Kozinski's article in Legal Affairs, touching on the varieties of impropriety in the world of judges. As he says, financial conflicts-of-interest tend to be the least interesting—and often the least important—ethical problems in the judiciary."

How's that?

UPDATE: Okay, fuck, I failed. Just wanted to add that one of the interesting things about analyzing the structure of legal/political institutions—it's called the "political economy", no?—is that you can't really do it with some outcome in mind. You can write a legal opinion, for instance, that aims to achieve some goal of human welfare. But we just don't know if we're increasing the general well-being of the world by writing up stricter ethical guidelines for courts—because we have no idea what kind of legal opinions a more "ethical" court will produce.

At any rate, I wish someone could explain to me—ie., a liberal motivated mostly by welfare principles—why I should even care about the ethical structure of the courts, especially if there's no way of knowing whether, say, forcing judges to write their own opinions would lead to an increase in public well-being. Ah, if only I knew one lick about philosophy, how clear it might all be...
-- Brad Plumer 4:13 AM || ||