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March 23, 2004

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UCL

I should make one disclaimer: some judges are so casual and informal about running their courtroom that they will insist on some of these "rules" NOT being followed. Obviously these are just "default" rules that can and should be flexibly applied to the preferences of each individual judge. The most common example of this is standing up: there are many judges who will tell me, the very first time I stand up to address them, "Have a seat counsel, no need to stand up."

As for "judge" versus "your Honor": I don't think it's actually rude or disrespectful in any way to refer to a judge as "Judge." Some judges may even prefer it. But, I know for a fact that *some* judges believe "Judge" is a bit too informal and folksy for their personal taste. One such judge was the federal district judge I once clerked for.

Evan

UCL: To that last comment regarding the distasteful "folksiness" of a calling a judge "judge," there's only one response: "Oh, God."

Such a response, however, may make it appear as though I'm equating a federal judge with . . . oh, never mind. I seem to be getting my blawgs mixed up.

UCL

Your point is well-taken, and there are certainly many judges who have what my former boss used to call the affliction known as Robitis.

But that's not always the case with all judges who insist on high standards of courtroom decorum and dignity. I do believe it is a commendable and desireable goal to maintain an image of the judiciary that commands respect. After all, no branch of our federal or state governments are as pragmatically powerless and dependent upon the others as the judicial branch. When it comes right down to it, the only thing that keeps the judiciary intact at all is sheer respect. So, if you allow that respect to be eroded, what you're really eroding is the power of the judiciary. And that, for any admirer of Marbury v. Madison, is un-American.

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