In 1905 — his "miracle year" — physicist Albert Einstein wrote four path-breaking papers. One of them revealed his special theory of relativity. In it, he disclosed that electromagnetic waves, including light, always travel at a constant speed — about 186,000 miles per hour — but that our observation of them depends on our movement relative to their source.
Blawgletter confesses a sensation of doubt. Big time.
But we feel more confident that our current subject — the efficiency vel non of federal courts — depends ever so much on the judiciary’s perception of case velocity relative to some reference point. Huh?
Consider that federal judges hold Vast Power. They display a great deal of Independence. And, with few exceptions, they enjoy Near Invisibility outside the courtroom.
All of which leaves Their Honors with tremendous discretionary influence over their dockets. They can move the cases or not move them, push them fast or slow them down, work them hard or hardly at all.
We hypothesize that how quickly judges choose to dispatch their dockets depends on whether they look at cases as moving towards trial too fast, too slow, or at just the right speed.
Next time, we’ll attempt an approximation of which view predominates in 2008 — and, more important perhaps, why.