The blogging judge and the Internet profanity
Judge Richard George Kopf of Nebraska has his own personal blog. However, after gaining notoriety, he's wondering whether this blogging thing should be for him.
Being a judge is a lot simpler than being a blogger.
A judge merely has to follow rules written by a few tipsy lawyers who were playing cards with representatives of corporations.
Being a blogger, on the other hand, entails choosing every word carefully, in order to stimulate your audience on a regular basis.
Judges will always have people filling their courtrooms. Bloggers can often inhabit a very empty space.
This is something that Judge Richard George Kopf of Nebraska is just beginning to grasp.
He's a regular little blogger, is the judge. There are things on his mind, you see, and he'd like them to be on yours.
He's already wondered whether female lawyers should dress more conservatively. He's told Congress to "go to Hell." Which I'm sure most members are very happy to do for the appropriate emolument.
He may, however, have taken his blogging to an edge beyond eternal damnation when he opined that the Supreme Court should "stfu."
As Think Progress noticed, Judge Kopf wasn't happy with the Supreme Court's decision on Hobby Lobby. This was the case in which the court ruled that closely held companies didn't have to provide contraceptive coverage for their workers.
On his blog, enticingly entitled "Hercules And The Umpire," Kopf offered: "Next term is the time for the Supreme Court to go quiescent -- this term and several past terms have proven that the Court is now causing more harm (division) to our democracy than good by deciding hot button cases that the Court has the power to avoid. As the kids say, it is time for the Court to stfu."
I feel sure you're familiar with this acronym. I feel sure you've used it to refer to your own bosses on several occasions. If you're not, think "shut up" and then mix in an F bomb.
Kopf, a George W. Bush appointee, received a reader's comment, a rather long one. The reader was a lawyer.
His impassioned missive said, in part: "I am unable to understand how judicial thinking out loud can ever be a net plus on the scales of public trust and confidence in judges and, by extension, the law."
This seems quite odd, as more than one member of the Supreme Court is prone -- though not through the medium of blogging -- to think out (very) loud.
Isn't there something frightfully modern about Kopf choosing a medium that is so de rigueur? After all, the Supreme Court itself doesn't do email, so isn't Kopf stating his credentials as a thoroughly modern judge?
Sadly, Kopf may not stick to his blogging guns.
In response to this anonymous lawyer's note, the judge has decided to give it "serious consideration."
I worry that Kopf is overreacting. There is something so very heartening about unharnessed honesty. It offers a little certainty in a world of subterfuge.
That Kopf reveals some humanity beneath his skirts surely represents a tinge of hope in a world and a system that has been consistently overrun by fervor of one seemingly venal sort or another.