The bitter truth is better than the sweetest lie.
It was recently reported that a California judge has been censured after commenting on “smoking hot” women, proclaiming that he had the “biggest balls in the courthouse” and making other inappropriate remarks.
So why should you care?
Well, look, I don’t like vulgarity either, but I’d rather a man or woman deal with me as he/she is than play acting at being something he/she ain’t, especially if he/she were my judge holding my fate in his/her hands. We should all aspire to clean language, but more importantly, I want to know who I am really dealing with. I expect it of others, they expect it of me, especially in the legal profession. You don’t have to like the way I (or anyone else) express(es) speech, opinions, or values, but you should appreciate the fact that I (and anyone else) expresses myself/himself/herself honestly and sincerely.
What good is a First Amendment if it doesn’t apply—and liberally apply—to judges too?
And does anyone think that language this judge uses is all that unusual (yes, even for judges)? It’s not. Not even close. I’ve heard some (some, not all) of Utah’s own judges at every level use this same kind of language. It’s not refined, and yes, it can be perceived (rightly or wrongly) as crude, but it’s certainly not something that disqualifies a judge from being a judge!
Judges are regular people (even though some of them may wish to have us believe otherwise). Let judges be who they are! Who they really are. Who they honestly are. I’d much rather a judge show his/her true colors both on and off the bench than adopt one standard in private life and a double standard in public.
Elihu Root was no lout, and even he said (back in in 1912), “About half of the practice of a decent lawyer is telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.” And Seneca said, “The bitter truth is better than the sweetest lie.”
Saying “ass” and “balls” and even “smoking hot” certainly isn’t the most tasteful way to behave, but the last thing we go to court seeking is taste; we go to courts seeking truth and justice and equity. A judge who, in private (hell (see what I did there?), even on the bench) says “ass” or “balls” or “don’t act like a scared little girl” doesn’t magically render one unable to render reasoned and just rulings–let’s concern ourselves with that, damn it.
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