Ten, 20, or even 100 judges who look at the same evidence will all reach the same conclusion about the True Facts of a case, right?


Why not?

The reasons may include, per Linda Greenhouse's latest column, that Their Honors actually "don't know" all the info they need in order to reach the right outcome.

Ms. Greenhouse cites recent Supreme Court rulings in which the majority seems to have made a faulty assumption that may have prompted an incorrect result. But Blawgletter thinks she has a More Telling point, as her choice of an ending quotation — of Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner — suggests:

By self-awareness and discipline, a judge can learn not to allow his sympathies or antipathies to influence his judicial votes — unduly. But the qualification in "unduly" needs to be emphasized. Many judges would say that nothing "outside the law," in the narrow sense that confines the word to the texts of formal legal documents, influences their judicial votes at all. Some of them are speaking for public consumption, and know better. Those who are speaking sincerely are fooling themselves.

We suspect that the phenomenon of which Judge Posner speaks plays its Widest Role where judges attempt to explain what the evidence before them proves. As the Court urged not long ago, judging "what [the evidence] prove[s] is no more a question of fact than what our opinions hold." Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426, 1434 n.5 (2013).


What do you think?