Students in this course will journey through a search for careful and well founded contemporary answers to the age old questions: What does it mean to be a good judge? How does the answer vary depending on where the judging is done? What is an "activist" judge? What is a judge's proper and specific role in achieving "justice" in a particular case? What is meant by the requisite "judicial temperament"? Where and how does or should politics and the will of the people in our democracy come into play in the judicial process? Where is there to be found the best thinking and writing about these questions?
After 1 or 2 general introductory sessions, the semester will then continue on 2 parallel tracks. Against a backdrop of assigned student readings and research, including students' own one-on-one interviews/oral histories with selected members of the judiciary, we will invite for our weekly seminar meetings judges from a variety of political/philosophical backgrounds working at every level of the court system, and scholars who have endeavored to study the issues we are exploring.