Someone Who Should Never Judge

If her pitch was for the appointment of a judge based upon the experience of a 100 trials at an attorney, she would be the sort of candidate that most lawyers could strongly support. But that’s not the pitch, and the trial experience is deliberately rendered secondary to a pitch that reflects what should preclude a person from ever sitting in judgment of another person.

The pitch comes from Minnesota transgender lawyer Ellie Krug.

I recently presented to a group of judicial professionals in a Midwestern state on “Gray Area Thinking,”™ a toolset on how to successfully interact with humans who are “different” from “us.” The nearly 160 older, predominately white male, audience members constituted the front line criminal justice professionals for that state. Their lack of diversity underscores a frequent and fundamental question: how do we collectively get to a more diverse and inclusive judiciary?

As a generic concept, it’s hard to disagree with the bench should be more diverse and inclusive. But that’s where Krug goes down the rabbit hole.

For many, life circumstances and conditions—that is, how one makes their way up the success ladder—is dictated by a number of factors that older educated established white men (the benchmark for most courts) might have a hard time appreciating. For example, someone with a long history of family members with college and professional degrees might not even think to try to understand the hurdles that a first-in-the-family college and law school graduate had to navigate.

This is a trope that plays better to the ignorant than the thoughtful. Much like cops, the self-sad marginalized feel that no one can understand them except them. While there is merit to the idea that anyone in a position of authority over others should have the capacity to understand that there are worlds, motivations, challenges, with which they may be unfamiliar, but should be. There is nothing wrong with exposing the judiciary to views beyond their personal experiences, although most moderately intelligent people already realize this.*

The value of populating a state’s bench with diverse candidates is that it will produce much fairer and more realistic results based on each diverse judge’s experience and perspective. It’s that simple and complicated all at once.

This is absurdly misguided. Black judges sit on cases involving white defendants. Male judges sit on cases involving females. Gay judges sit on cases involving straight defendants. This is the sort moronic rationalization that feeds simplistic idiots obsessed with identitarian politics.

Krug has applied to be a judge many times, and has been rejected. She should be. She should never be a judge because she is exactly who should never sit in judgment of anyone. Not because Krug is transgender, but because Krug’s argument for becoming a judge is that she’s transgender. She believes that her being transgender is the pitch.

Had Krug’s pitch been her 100 trials, her experience, her intelligence, then she might well be a great judge. But to seek the bench because she’s transgender is exactly what cannot be accommodated, anymore than someone seeking a judgeship because they’re white, black, gay or straight.

The qualifications for judge should have nothing to do with irrelevant identitatian politics. That Krug doesn’t grasp this, coincidentally, suggests that she lacks the intelligence to be a judge as well. One’s race, sexual whatever, religion, should have no role in someone being excluded from the bench, but no role in their being appointed (or elected) as well.

So how do we fix this? How can we make the judicial selection process truly fair and oriented toward a greater willingness to actually nominate—and not simply consider—diverse candidates?

Judges should be the smart and fair, hard-working and dedicated, capable of doing their job. Judges should be the best person for the job, without regard to their color, race, or any other characteristic that doesn’t bear upon their ability to judge.

As Josh King responded to this insanely moronic plea for flagrant prejudice:

“The value of populating a state’s bench with diverse candidates is that it will produce much fairer and more realistic results based on each diverse judge’s experience and perspective.”

Bullshit. “Diverse” candidates aren’t immune from being stupid, closed-minded, lazy, or unfair.

And it’s patronizing (and wrong) to claim that only those with a particular “diverse” identity can understand other people who share that attribute. The goal of a judicial selection committee should be to pick the best judges. While that should include taking into account unique factors in a candidate’s background, the process should never devolve to identitarian nose-counting.

The fear, and reason why this post is worth writing, is that the Puddle is the sort of blog where the shallowest, the most simplistic, the stupidest of new lawyers go to get information that won’t require them to think so hard that it gives them a headache. Too many of its readers aren’t capable of overcoming such facial stupidity, and buy into identitarian ignorance. And these dumbass lawyers, the ones law schools use to fill the empty seats that smart kids no longer want, will be the future judges of America.

Who cares if Ellie Krug is transgender? It only matters that Krug is either too stupid to realize how wrong she is, or too deceitful and self-serving to care. That something this wrong gets face time at the Puddle, given the susceptibility of its readers to be swayed by such irrational crap, compels such a strong response.

Don’t make people stupider, especially those who are most easily manipulated because they start from a position of intellectual deficit. And Krug’s post is as stupid as it gets.

*That there are judges who fail to achieve moderate intelligence is a different issue.

10 thoughts on “Someone Who Should Never Judge

  1. norahc

    And here I thought judges were supposed to be a neutral judge of the case on the facts and the law, not their life experience perspective and prejudices. Learn something new every day.


  2. Marc Whipple

    “The value of populating a state’s bench with diverse candidates is that it will produce much fairer and more realistic results based on each diverse judge’s experience and perspective. ”

    Here’s the part of this sort of assertion I never understood:

    Maybe on a court where panels of judges sit, this might be a rational assertion. (Might.) But she wants to be a district court judge, if I read the article right. There is one district court judge per case. So even if diversity is somehow a benefit, that benefit by definition will be distributed unevenly. The road I see this going down is people eventually complaining about wanting a judge who matches their diversity parameters – which means that the courtroom will be less diverse, and the person who is least diverse will, if anything, suffer from the lack of diversity. Otherwise, it makes no difference that the judicial roster is diverse since you will still just get one judge whose experience and perspective will not be diverse at all.

    Other than the fact that appellate court judges often rise from the ranks of district court judges so if we want diverse appellate judges we need diverse district court judges, which isn’t an inherently awful argument but seems awfully tenuous, am I missing some point here?

    1. SHG Post author

      That’s my understanding as well. If we choose the most qualified judges, without regard to characteristics like race or gender, we’ll end up with the best possible trial judges and appellate judges, and we will have organic diversity, not because of identitarian nose-counting but because they are just the best judges.

      1. the other rob

        You’d think that would go without saying, but it doesn’t. Last time we elected a judge round here, it came down to a two way race between a practicing CDL and a woman who’s only qualification was that she had “always been interested in the law”.

        Guess who won?

        1. SHG Post author

          “Always” is a very long time. Plus, she’s a she, and, seriously, shouldn’t that count for something?

          1. the other rob

            Oddly enough, they were both shes. There was an ethnicity distinction, but that meant little when compared to my “vote for the one who’s passed some ethics classes and hope that some of it stuck” maxim.

    2. casey bell

      I agree completely with the idea that one’s race, gender, etc should not be a factor in determining one’s qualifications to serve as a judge. It’s too bad that our 45th president doesn’t share this perspective. He tried to get an American born judge disqualified from hearing a case based on the fact that the judge’s parents were born in Mexico. And this is the man who we’ve entrusted to uphold our constitution for the next 4 years. Sigh.

      1. SHG Post author

        Most of us tend to pay attention to the news, and so aren’t in need of someone like you to tell us what Trump said about Judge Curiel. But your purpose isn’t to recount just the obvious, but to vent about what a terrible person Trump is.

        Everyone is aware that there are people who have strong negative feelings about Trump. We’re not the absolute stupidest people on earth. If you can’t stay on topic because of an inability to control your impetuousness or feelz, then you would do better at reddit than here.

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