The Responsible Judge: Readings in Judicial Ethics

By John T. Noonan Jr.; Kenneth I. Winston | Go to book overview

C. Monsters

1. The Confession of Chancellor Francis Bacon ( 1620)

Now a look at a few ugly realities, again from John T. Noonan Jr. Bribes ( 1984):

Haile, happie Genius of this antient pile! How comes it all things so about thee smile? The fire, the wine, the men! and in the midst, Thou stand'st as if some Mysterie thou didst! . . . Fame, and foundation of the English Weale . . . Englands high Chancellor: the destin'd heire In his soft Cradle to his fathers Chaire, Whose even Thred the Fates spinne round, and full, Out of their Choysest, and their whitest wooll.

So Ben Jonson celebrated Francis Bacon's sixtieth birthday in January 1621. In the same month James I invested him as a viscount, and as Lord St. Albans he wrote the king: "So this is the eighth rise or reach, a diapason in music, even a good number and accord for a close. . . . Then I must say, quid retribuam? I have nothing of mine own." He had only an undivided heart to give, "hoping that your Majesty will do, as your superior doth; that is, that finding my heart upright, you will bear with my other imperfections."

Very few imperfections, however, seemed to exist to be borne, except that James I would sometimes be heard to mutter, reading St. Albans's latest book, the Novum Organum, "It is like the peace of God--it passeth all understanding." Against his legal work for the Crown, the king had no complaints. The king's solicitor-general from 1607 to 1613, attorney general from 1613 to 1617, lord keeper in 1617, and lord chancellor since 1618, Bacon had served the king longer than any other man in high legal office, and none had been more approved by

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The Responsible Judge: Readings in Judicial Ethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Part I The Ideal Judge and the Partial Judge 1
  • A. The Impartiality of God 3
  • B. The Mask of Impartiality 22
  • C. Monsters 35
  • D. Political Judges 50
  • Part II Judging 97
  • A. Waiting for the Litigants 105
  • B. Deciding on the Record 113
  • C. Adjudicating the Case at Hand 115
  • D. Creating a Precedent 121
  • E. Following the Rules Laid Down 129
  • F. Exercising Judgment 138
  • G. Preserving Proportion 142
  • H. Displaying Compassion 148
  • I. Deliberating with Colleagues 156
  • J. Writing and Dissenting 171
  • K. Judging in a Different Voice 188
  • L. Managing Public Institutions 208
  • M. Settling a Case 223
  • N. Blowing the Whistle? 243
  • O. Retaining One's Humanity 257
  • Part III Independent and Accountable 265
  • A. Proclaiming Independence 267
  • B. The Duty of Recusal 278
  • C. Forms of Accountability 309
  • Selected Bibliography 387
  • Index 391
  • About the Editors *
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