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A new form of judicial activism?

In what may bring a whole new meaning to the phrase "judicial activism," some have detected an increasing willingness by judges to get off the bench and join the ranks of litigants themselves. For example, the Legal Times reports that in 2005, judges brought 25 libel suits, one-tenth of the number nationwide. (It appears the story is talking only about lawsuits against the media: there surely were far more than 250 lawsuits involving libel claims in 2005). One hesitates to discuss any specifics of the cases brought by the judges -- for fear of getting sued for libel -- but the case of Robert Thomas, chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, is notable in that it has inspired some media pushback and claims that the defendant newspaper can't get a fair hearing in Illinois courts. Anthony Sebok thinks the recent $54 million judicial pants suit against a Washington, D.C. dry cleaner and Robert Bork's personal injury suit against the Yale Club are part of trend of judges behaving badly. And then, of course, there was the case of Marion Opala, an associate justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, who sued his fellow justices for age discrimination. Via TortsProf Blog and Robert Ambrogi.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.