“Posner not only describes pitfalls in the decision process for appeals, but also explains some of what he does (and thinks other judges should do) to avoid or minimize them. One theme running through these counsels is the importance of candor. Within his office (no archaically termed ‘chambers’ for him), Posner insists that clerks call him by first name because he wants them to be entirely candid and direct, ‘brutally so if they want.’ Appellate judges should write their own opinions, Posner contends, as clerk-drafted products tend toward obfuscatory formalism. And these opinions should identify and discuss all the considerations (not just the formal legal considerations) that the judge is conscious of influencing the judge’s decision.” Richmond School of Law Associate Professor Kevin Walsh, reviewing Reflections on Judging, the most recent book published by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner.

Jotwell: Courts Law, December 10, 2013.