The Article III Judge
The contemporary debate over the proper role of a federal judge under the Constitution turns, in large measure, on what it is we think an Article III judge is doing when she is called upon to resolve a "case or controversy." Is she looking for the fair result? If so, by whose lights? Is she a political actor, or is she instead looking for a rule of decision that has been previously established by law (a "mere translator" of the law, in Justice Frankfurter's words). If so, by natural law or positive law? These are some of the questions we will consider in discussing what role a federal judge plays when she exercises "the judicial Power of the United States" conferred by Article III of the Constitution. Readings will include books and articles by some of the leading legal thinkers in the nation's history. Special Instructions: This class will meet the first three weeks of the quarter only. Elements used in grading: Class attendance and participation, reading the assigned material, and a 10-15 page paper that uses the readings to analyze a significant judicial opinion.