Monday, February 14, 2011

Huge loss for the justice system

I've known Nancy Gertner since well before she was appointed as a local judge in Massachusetts. She was a brilliant defense lawyer and I rejoiced when she was raised to the federal bench. Now I'm sad to see Judge Gertner is retiring.
This is not a small deal. Actually, it’s a profoundly big one. Gertner is many things to many people. She is an unapologetic liberal. She is an unrepentant advocate. She is a civil libertarian of the highest order.

But she’s also something else, something greater than the sum of these various parts. She is a voraciously fair judge who uses her love of the law and the benefit of her sizable intellect to give refuge and recourse to those who need it. An entire region will miss that.
Despite her liberal leanings she's a fair and impartial jurist.
“The job of a judge is to individualize — to apply formal, cold law to individual human beings,’’ Gertner said as she rocked in her quiet chambers. “That’s not pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant.’’ [...]

That philosophy involves a cordial courtroom, decisions rendered in plain English rather than legalese, and criminal sentences accompanied by elaborate written explanations that are widely hailed by other judges.
I'd always hoped that someday she would make it to SCOTUS. We couldn't have hoped for a better final arbiter of the law of the land.

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