The Responsible Judge: Readings in Judicial Ethics

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

L. Managing Public Institutions

Though educated at Brown University (B.A., 1953) and Cornell Law School (LL.B., 1956), Joseph L. Tauro has enduring ties with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. His father served as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Before his own appointment to the District Court in 1972, he was assistant United States attorney, chief legal counsel to the governor, and then United States attorney for Massachusetts. He joined Boston University Law School as an adjunct professor in 1977. The following piece, "Judge Tauro and Care of the Retarded in Massachusetts," by Esther Scott, was a 1987 case study.*

On October 9, 1986, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro signed an order disengaging the federal courts from supervision of five state schools for the retarded in Massachusetts. The court had been involved in the schools since 1972, when parents of residents at Belchertown State School brought a class action suit against the state, alleging violations of their children's constitutional right to treatment. In the aftermath of that and similar suits brought by parents at four other schools, the state had signed a series of consent decrees detailing physical, personnel, and programmatic improvements it would implement under the watchful eyes of a court monitor and Judge Tauro.

In the years the decrees had been in effect, wrote Tauro in his disengagement order, ". . . we have significantly improved the quality of life for the retarded." He continued:

The filth, squalor and unsafe conditions that once characterized these institutions no longer exist. Instead, major capital projects at each of them have been completed or are in progress. Staffing levels have been dramatically increased, thereby providing truly professional supervision, as well as habilitative opportunities. In addition, a responsive program of community placement has been undertaken.

____________________
*
This case was written by Esther Scott under the direction of Professor Marc J. Roberts for use at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Copyright © 1987 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

-208-

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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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