Letter from the Editors

By Wasby, Stephen L.; Bierman, Luke | Justice System Journal, May 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Letter from the Editors


Wasby, Stephen L., Bierman, Luke, Justice System Journal


This issue of Justice System Journal is somewhat more varied than the previous one, which had a focus on problem-solving courts. The variation here is along two planes. One is the types of presentations. There are standard research articles; an account based on personal involvement in activities (in our "From the Benches and Trenches" section); a minisymposium of a set of short articles on particular programs; book reviews and summaries of articles published elsewhere ("Of Note"); and Legal Notes. The other is the subjects examined. Attention ranges from diversity in the federal judiciary to judicial treatment of tax cases to court administration education to the effect of the White ruling, and the books reviewed cover juries, oral argument, and court management in a federal district. Likewise, the range of Legal Notes is considerable-court rulings not made available, court budgets, use of multiple juries in a single case, judge-clerk friction, and judges' recusal-and breadth also characterizes the "Of Note" items.

More should be said about the individual contributions. The issue begins with two research articles. One is an exploration of the role of diversity in federal judicial selection starting with President Carter, by political scientists Rorie Spill Solberg and Kathleen Bratton; their attention to selection of women and members of racial and ethnic minorities extends previous research through examination of a variety of factors affecting the selection process. Political scientist and lawyer Robert Howard then adds to our knowledge of specialized courts as he examines how they and general jurisdiction courts handle cases deriving from the same policy domain. He uses U.S. Tax Court and U.S. District Court treatment of tax cases as the basis of his study. (He also contributes a Legal Note on the recent Ballard case on tax court special judges' rulings that had not been made available to the parties.)

The Supreme Court plays a role-although perhaps one less prominent than might have been expected-in one of our "From the Benches and Trenches" selections. Having been involved in a judicial campaign in Florida, Rebecca Salokar looks at the extent to which the ruling in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, on what candidates for elective judicial office can say, affected the local race in which she participated and others she observed. The other "From the Benches and Trenches" contributions form a mini-symposium on the key subject of education in court administration, for which a longer introduction is provided immediately before the symposium itself. Those articles are written by those involved in presenting programs and courses in that domain, which they describe and discuss, and a couple of the contributors provide context and perspective.

In the Legal Notes section, in addition to Robert Howard's discussion of a Supreme Court ruling on internal tax court procedure, other Legal Notes, by Todd Lochner, deal with two cases testing whether personal information about litigants may be withheld from the public; judges' handling of a challenge to the partial shutdown of the courts in a budget crisis; the use of multiple juries in civil suits; and whether territorial judges may sit on a U. …

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