Judges on Judging: Views from the Bench

By David M. O'Brien | Go to book overview

27
The Role of the Courts in Contemporary Society

RUGGERO J. ALDISERT Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

To describe the role of the courts in contemporary American society is a Janus-faced assignment. It can be a description of what we are or an expression of what we should be. To propose what we should be requires that we know what we are; to know what we are, we must first know what we were; and to appreciate what we were requires an overview of two centuries of American judicial experience.

To be sure, our judicial systems were English in origin and in practice. Colonial courts had functioned from the beginning as integral parts of the British judicial system. When the colonies changed to statehood and separate courts were established within the state and federal sovereignties, an English model was adopted in each of the several jurisdictions. Aside from cutting the umbilical cord from the Privy Council, substantive laws and procedural rules of the original states did not undergo major revolutionary changes. By nationality we were Americans; by legal tradition we were still English. American judges in the early nineteenth century took a traditional view of their function. The English common law judge sat as a settler of disputes between private parties, deciding questions of "lawyer's law" and pronouncing what Roscoe Pound would later call "rules in the narrower sense," precepts attaching a definite legal consequence to a definite, detailed state of the facts. 1 But the American environment was different from the English, and soon began to make special demands on the courts. In America, unlike Great Britain, 2 a system of dual sovereignties existed. And, in America, a written constitution had been adopted--a primal document tracing its origins in part to the Magna Carta and the Petition of Right, and in part to the peculiar exigencies of the new "united states" where sovereign power was to be divided between the state governments and the national government.

Within 14 years of the Constitution's adoption, however, a new dimen

-280-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Judges on Judging: Views from the Bench
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 364

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.