Harvard Law School professor Martha Minow teaches in a variety of fields, including family law and civil procedure. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan ( 1975), a master's degree in education from Harvard ( 1976), and a law degree from Yale ( 1979). After clerking with D.C. Circuit Judge David L. Bazelon and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, she joined the Harvard faculty in 1981. Her most recent book is Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law ( 1990).
Elizabeth V. Spelman has taught in the Department of Philosophy at Smith College since 1981. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College ( 1966) and her doctorate from Johns Hopkins University ( 1974). Before joining Smith, she taught at New York University and Amherst College. The following excerpts are from "Passion for Justice," by Minow and Spelman, which was published in 1988 ( 10 Cardozo Law Review 37).
It is common to see the skills and abilities of good judging listed, but seldom do such lists detail what actually would be entailed by good judging. We can see from Justice Brennan's lecture why such an endeavor is perilous.1 It is difficult to appeal to "passion," to a person's "sense of humanity," "courage," or "fidelity to the Constitution," without sounding vapid or hopelessly vague. More dangerous still, a judge can show undeniable "courage" and "humanity" according to the criteria of her own time and place even while, by the lights of another and presumably wiser time, her decision may be "racist to the core." Moreover, it is hard to imagine that anyone would challenge the idea that judges ought to be thoughtful, humane, and loyal to the highest aims of the profession. But people surely will disagree about what behavior and activity in fact exhibit such fine traits in particular instances. We hope that by trying to spell out what our criteria call for, and then by seeing how well they are satisfied in a particular