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954. Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment. (Belief & Judgment) Lucius Annaeus Seneca
5,977. A judge who believed he had been chosen by God. (Evolution & Judge & Trial) The Monkey Trial, PBS
95,095. I expect a judgment. Shortly. Charles Dickens, Bleak House
10,471. ‘It’s only when your judgment damns the work you have done that it's likely to be any good. It would be a poor disciple that didn't try to out-do his master.’ (Art & Judgment & Master) Inside the Mind of Leonardo starring Peter Capaldi, Sky Arts 2013
23,362. There are times sitting up there in that judgment seat I had wished, I had prayed, that there were someone standing between me and God almighty, someone with the power to say you’re wrong. (Western & Judge) Hang Em High 1968 starring Clint Eastwood & Inger Stevens & Ed Begley & Pat Hingle & Ben Johnson & Charles McGraw & Ruth White & Bruce Dern & Alan Hale & James Westerfield & Denis Hopper et al, director Ted Post, Judge to Jed
24,324. The judgment stands. You will be condemned. (Star Trek & Judgment) Star Trek: The Next Generation: Sins of the Father s3e17, Judge
43,343. I could have been a Judge, but I never had the Latin for the judgin’. I never had it, so I'd had it, as far as being a judge was concerned ... I would much prefer to be a judge than a coal miner because of the absence of falling coal. (Comedy & Coal & Judge) Peter Cook, Beyond the Fringe, ‘Sitting on the Bench’ 1961
77,926. Yes, I would have liked to have been a judge. But I never had the Latin. I never had sufficient Latin to get through the Judge’s exams. Peter Cook, Pleasure at Her Majesty’s 1976
58,877. The greatest moral failing is to condemn something as a moral failing: no vice is worse than being judgmental. (Vice & Morality & Judgment & Condemn) Julian Baggini
77,926. Judges must follow their oaths and do their duty, heedless of editorials, letters, telegrams, threats, petitions, pannelists and talk shows. In this country, we do not administer justice by plebiscite. A judge ... is a public servant who must follow his conscience, whether or not he counters the manifest wishes of those he serves; whether or not his decision seems a surrender to prevalent demands. Hiller B Zobel, reducing conviction of Louise Woodward to manslaughter 10 November 1997
77,927. Who am I to judge another man? Because I have to judge myself. Nigel Benn, The Fight of Their Lives, ITV 2011
77,928. Here come de judge. Dewey Pigmeat Markham & Dick Allen & Bob Astor & Sarah Harvey, Here Come the Judge (song title)
77,929. Nothing like a little judicious levity. Robert Louis Stevenson, The Wrong Box
77,930. To defend a bad policy as an ‘error of judgement’ does not excuse it – the right functioning of a man’s judgement is his most fundamental responsibility. Lord Salisbury
77,931. What judgement I had increases rather than diminishes; and thoughts, such as they are, come crowding in so fast upon me, that my only difficulty is to choose or reject; to run them into verse or to give them the other harmony of prose. John Dryden, Fables Ancient and Modern 1700
77,932. To make judgements about great and lofty things, a soul of the same stature is needed; otherwise we ascribe to them that vice which is not our own. Montaigne aka Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Essais 1580
77,933. You have to go back to Cromwell to find a precedent for last month’s astonishing House of Commons motion calling for the sacking of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lane. The motion, which was signed by several Tories, and former leaders of the Liberal and Labour Parties, caused a predictable uproar, but even the most ardent defenders of Lord Lane were a trifle embarrassed.
They pretended that the judges throughout the Birmingham Six case had been impartial. A glance at Mr Justice Bridge’s summing up in the first trial of the six quickly disposed of that argument. He openly bragged about his bias against the defence, and his onslaught on the unfortunate forensic expert who dared to point out that the Greiss test for explosives was riddled with doubt has become legendary.
Another glance at the summing up of the six’s appeal in January 1988 shows Lane and his two colleagues judging the case by the simple device of believing prosecution witnesses and disbelieving witnesses for the defence. The crude and offensive way in which this was done led to the ferocious counter-attack on the judges by liberal journalists like Robert Kee and Ludovic Kennedy.
The defenders of the judges were therefore driven back to their last redoubt: the ‘independence of the judiciary’. ‘Upon this rock,’ said the Lord Chancellor, ‘rests the entire rule of law.’ This is so often accepted without argument that it is worth asking: exactly what are the judges independent from? The answer comes back that they are independent from the government.
The most formidable barriers are erected round the judges to protect them not just from the government but from society as a whole. They are paid enormous salaries, spiced with every kind of perk, from free transport to free lodgings when they are ‘out of town’. They work a 25-hour week (at most). They don’t have to retire until 75 and even then they can come out of retirement to judge important cases in their dotage.
They are recruited exclusively from the Bar. When the Lord Chancellor recently suggested that this monopoly might be broken, he was greeted with a storm of abuse and even a judges’ strike. Lord Lane told the House of Lords that proposals to end the monopoly were the worst threat to British freedom since Hitler.
The world in which the judges live and converse is more exclusive than the most ridiculous gentleman’s club or the most secretive Masonic Lodge.
Their ‘independence’ from society and parliament thus assured, the judges remain deeply dependent and loyal to their class – those that aren’t are swiftly trained to behave as if they are. They are almost all deeply reactionary people for whom the slightest whisper of challenge or dissent – or even of an investigative solicitor – calls up phantoms of Wat Tyler.
The judges’ deep sense of class makes them quite absurdly loyal to the hierarchical system which operates under them – and particularly to the police force. It is not simply that the word of a police officer is always in their eyes preferable to the word of a citizen. It is that, in the interests of the judges’ justice, where the police go wrong it is far better to uphold the behaviour of the police than it is to expose the fact that they have gone wrong.
Lord Lane and senior judges have warned the Tory government that if they give an inch to the protesters after Birmingham and Guildford, they will be ushering in the revolution. The judges will fight to the death to preserve every inch of their ‘independence’ (irresponsibility). But wiser class warriors are urging caution. It is not a good thing for ruling class stability if everyone to the left of Bernard Levin (about 80 percent of the population) think the judges are incompetent and that police evidence is likely to be fabricated.
Nor is it healthy for their class that so many judges were involved in the long string of recent celebrated injustices. The crusted Tory Donaldson (Master of the Rolls) was deeply implicated in the Guildford Four scandal. Lane, O’Connor, Stephen Brown – the three judges who just three years ago said the Birmingham Six were obviously guilty – are all senior men.