Because they are constrained by the rule of law, conservative judges are invariably going to be better than Leftist social justice activists on the bench.
The ostensible starting point for this rumination is a post I read at Power Line about Administrative Law Judges, which I’ll get to in a little while. For me, the real starting point was a few cases on which I worked in the early 1990s, which exposed me to the worst that Leftist judges in San Francisco had to offer and that, although I didn’t realize it then, started me on the road to being a conservative.
I’ve changed all of the names, or excluded names altogether, but these retellings are as accurate as I can make them. I’ll start with the biggest case on which I worked, for it was the case that had the most profound impact on my thinking.
Once upon a time, there was a little old lady named Mrs. Murphy. When this story starts, her husband and son had both died, although she continued living in the family home. She had never wanted to be alone, so even before she became frail, Mrs. Murphy hired a live-in housekeeper named Ilene Corbeil.
Mrs. Murphy kept in touch with her husband’s niece, Laura O’Toole, although it was not a close relationship. It was Ilene who facilitated every aspect of Mrs. Murphy’s life by cooking and cleaning for her, driving her everywhere, helping her with her personal grooming, etc.
The house in which Mrs. Murphy and Ilene lived was not a fancy house, but it was a San Francisco house. That means that, while it might have sold for around $150,000 were it in a similarly situated working- to middle-class neighborhood in Wichita, in San Francisco, the house was worth about $800,000 or $900,000 dollars.
Laura, looking at that house, and looking at the close relationship that had developed between Mrs. Murphy and Ilene during their 16 years living together, decided that she needed to take action to protect what she assumed would be her inheritance. After her delicate hints that Mrs. Murphy would do better in an old age home failed, Laura escalated things: she approached a city agency tasked with looking after old people, and told the agency that she was worried that Ilene was taking advantage of Mrs. Murphy.
The agency immediately sent a couple of people over to Mrs. Murphy’s house to check things out. After their inspection, they were satisfied that Mrs. Murphy was mentally competent, that Ilene was taking good care of her, and that Mrs. Murphy was not being abused or unduly influenced in any way.
Mrs. Murphy, although grateful that her comfortable lifestyle in her long-time home would not be interrupted, was livid. She also felt weak and unable to stand up to Laura on her own. It did not occur to her to turn to Ilene for help. Mrs. Murphy came from a class and generation that said you needed a man for these things. [Read more…]