Thursday, June 21, 2007

Judge Walton's Footnote

Granting permission for a group of professors to file an amicus brief in the Scooter Libby case, Judge Reggie Walton dropped a footnote:

It is an impressive show of public service when twelve prominent and distinguished current and former law professors of well-respected schools are able to amass their collective wisdom in the course of only several days to provide their legal expertise to the Court on behalf of a criminal defendant. The Court trusts that this is a reflection of these eminent academics' willingness in the future to step to the plate and provide like assistance in cases involving any of the numerous litigants, both in the Court and throughout the courts of our nation, who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions even in instances where failure to do so could result in monetary penalties, incarceration, or worse. The Court will certainly not hesitate to call for such assistance from these luminaries, as necessary in the interests of justice and equity, whenever similar questions arise in the cases that come before it.
Judge Walton's Footnote, The Volokh Conspiracy, June 10, 2007.

The author of the blog post thinks the "snark" isn't justified, and many commenters weighed in, expressing a range of opinion.

I include the footnote here because, well, it amused me, and I at first didn't even think about judicial decorum, fairness to the professors, and so on. At the least, the footnote is a salutary reminder that many people lack the counsel they need.

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