Monday, July 9, 2007
Guerra-Pujol on The Problem of Judicial Decrepitude: An Empirical View
Posted by Mary L. Dudziak
For your Monday morning: F.E. Guerra-Pujol, Catholic University of Puerto Rico, has posted a new paper, The Problem of Judicial Decrepitude: An Empirical View. The essay quarrels with David Garrow's article: Mental Decrepitude on the U.S. Supreme Court: The Historical Case for a 28th Amendment, 67 University of Chicago Law Review 995 (2000). The definition of "decrepitude," relied on for the sake of argument by Guerra-Pujol, seems problematic, even if the question of judicial competence is a valid one. And a better title might be "The Problem of Judicial Decrepitude: A Critique," since there is no new empirical data here. The author instead assumes the accuracy of Garrow's data, but offers a critique of the way he evaluated it. Here's the abstract: Building on the work of historian David Garrow, this paper attempts to measure the true extent of the problem of judicial decrepitude among the members of the U.S. Supreme Court since the high court's inception in 1789. After presenting the relevant data, the author concludes (contra Garrow and others) that the incidence of judicial decrepitude is relatively infrequent and rare.