Posner on “Screening out” the “unqualified” and “most qualified” judges

October 7th, 2013

In an interview on NPR about his 40th (!) book, Judge Posner had these remarks about how judicial candidates are weeded away–both by being lackluster, and having too long of a paper trail:

SIMON: Well, this raises a question which, I think, at some level runs not just through your book, but your career. Do we miss out on judges who could be thoughtful and creative because the process now sort of rules out people who have expressed themselves?

POSNER: Yeah, I think what’s happened over the years, I think the variance in the quality of judicial appointees has diminished. I mean, there were some pretty wild judges in the old days, but there’s more careful screening, so I think really unqualified people get screened out, but in some ways the most qualified, or at least most interesting people, get screened out also because they’re controversial. And, you know, the President, people advise the President, they don’t want to have a big fight.

I’ve blogged about nominees trimming their sails before.