Ideology in the Language of Judges: How Judges Practice Law, Politics, and Courtroom Control

By Susan U. Philips | Go to book overview

5
Judges' Ideologies of
Courtroom Control

In chapter 4, I described how judges enact different ideological stances in the way they hear guilty pleas, realizing different interpretations of the written procedural law as they do so. Judges conceptualize their judicial behavior in hearing guilty pleas as their individual interpretations of the written law concerned with protecting defendants' due process rights. Thus, it is appropriate to characterize their conscious ideology as legal. However, although judges represent their thinking as consciously legal, their practices also realize political ideologies because different interpretations of the procedural law governing the procedure enact liberal and conservative positions regarding the role of the judge and therefore the state in relation to individual citizens. Judges in fact repudiate the enactment of political ideology in their courtroom behavior, expressing the belief and hope that it does not affect the way they hear guilty pleas. Their denial of the political disconnects it from the legal; thus, political and legal ideologies are not consciously or explicitly connected to one another in the judges' discourse with me and are in practice compartmentalized.

The fact that the same judicial behavior realizes or enacts more than one ideological framework means that social action in the courtroom is ideologically polysemic. It has more than one meaning and a choice between meanings is not guided or forced by the contexts in which the behavior in question occurs. This is contrary to the predominant form of functionalism espoused in linguistic anthropology in the second half of the 20th century ( Hymes 1967) in which a form is conceptualized as multifunctional but as having only one of its possible functions realized in an instance and determined by the context in which it occurs.

In this chapter, I argue that there is yet a third ideological orientation or framework within which judges vary that is also realized in the discourse practice of taking guilty pleas; the ideological framework of COURTROOM CONTROL. According to the

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Ideology in the Language of Judges: How Judges Practice Law, Politics, and Courtroom Control
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Ideology in Discourse 3
  • Conclusion 12
  • 2 - The Myth of the Trial Court Judge as Nonideological 14
  • Conclusion 25
  • 3 - Intertextual Relations Between Written and Spoken Genres of Law 27
  • Conclusion 46
  • 4 - Two Ideological Stances in Taking Guilty Pleas 48
  • 5 - Judges' Ideologies of Courtroom Control 87
  • 6 - Ideological Diversity in Legal Discourses 116
  • Appendixes 125
  • Notes 193
  • References 197
  • Index 203
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