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'Proper Role as a Judge'

August 13, 1985

Moore's neatly packaged argument that Chief Justice Bird should go is based on the simple (minded?) syllogism: (a) people who don't judge cases well should not be judges; (b) Bird does not judge capital cases well; (c) Bird shouldn't be a judge.

Moore fails to tell us which cases Bird judged wrong. Was it only the ones where she was supported by less than half of her fellow justices? In any case the syllogism is wrong because all cases are not capital cases. Capital cases make up less than 1% of those that filter through the justice system.

Moore indicates that even he would prefer the total pattern of Bird's decisions to that of any successor likely to be appointed by the governor. So would almost all well-informed members of the legal community. Important discussion should be aimed toward how the Supreme Court performs in 99% of the cases it handles. It would be a shame for Moore, an admittedly bright man, to lose his job because he wrote only one bad article out of a hundred or gave a similarly low number of bad lectures.

PETER M. WILLIAMS

Pomona

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