Posted by: clholoman | June 26, 2012

I mean it!! Hear ye!

Although he perhaps lived up to his reputation as a bit of a diva by making a late appearance, Judge Posner comes strong in his first entry. It is hard to resist quoting the whole thing, but I know you’ll read it–it’s not long.  Here’s a taste:

 Is the United States a maturing society? Surely not in the realm of criminal law, a real disaster area—we imprison a higher fraction of our population than any civilized nation (and than most of the uncivilized ones), many for trivial crimes involving mind-altering drugs less dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes; life sentences are imposed with abandon; prosecutorial discretion is very broad and often exercised irresponsibly; and judges’ sentencing discretion, also broad, is exercised much of the time in an intellectual vacuum.

 

I don’t object to a loose construction of the Constitution; there isn’t any sensible alternative, given how old and out of touch the document is, how unrecoverable the actual thinking of its authors and ratifiers, and how vaguely worded so much of it is. But it would be nice if interpretation could be based on something more than gut. 

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