"Enough with this 'Your Honor' stuff''
U.S. District judge in Kentucky rejects title of "nobility that English judges apparently borrowed from French hereditary aristocrats" Just call me "Judge," he says.
Security guards at the state courthouse were seizing food and drink (except water) found inside visitor purses and briefcases during entry security checks per order of the chief judge.
I lost a pricey snack bar to the garbage can.
Meanwhile, ordinary citizens waited patiently in the long security line while a procession of staffers breezed past with bagged and boxed lunches from nearby restaurants and coffee treats from Starbucks.
There was grumbling.
One imagines that U.S. District Judge Benjamin Beaton of Kentucky would get the irony.
In a speech was published this week in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Judge Beaton took umbrage with the honorific title of “Your Honor.”
“For goodness sakes, this country fought a war and wrote a Constitution to blot out titles of nobility… many of you would agree that a daily dose of honorifics can’t help but affect any judge, and not necessarily in a good way.”
He said the title of “judge” is more appropriate in America, tracing it back to the Old Testament, where the term described leaders who were not kings.
“[T]hat distinction - between a professional duty and a personal rank - is the one I’m trying to highlight. Judges aren’t the law, despite whatever Yale might be teaching these days. And what judges say and write doesn’t supplant the actual law as written down in the Constitution and code books.”
Beaton, who was appointed by former GOP President Donald Trump, suggests judges should focus on “a source of authority outside the judge, not the mere status of the judge, and whatever moral philosophy or utilitarian calculus she happens to have.”
Judge Beaton said the second part of the judicial task, after interpreting the law, is deciding individual cases. “Not positing broad rules like a legislator, or perhaps a French aristocrat. To me, this is where the oath I just took has its real teeth: "‘to administer justice with respect to persons.
Respect for persons.
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