Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Witt's Hands Lecture: "Adjudication in the Age of Disagreement"

The published version of John Fabian Witt's Hands Lecture, delivered for the special session of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in celebration of the 125th Anniversary, is now available online. It is titled "Adjudication in the Age of Disagreement." Here's a taste:
What explains all the praise for this court? What makes a tribunal strong? What role do judges play in our system of governance such that the Second Circuit’s particular virtues hold such a distinctive place in the tradition of adjudication? In the time I have here with you today I would like to offer the beginnings of an answer. It does not lie in the distance between the court’s traditions and [Judge Martin] Manton’s conduct. [Manton was convicted of bribery in 1939.] That would be too easy. At base, I think the answer lies in something far more subtle and interesting: the relationship between a central tradition of the Second Circuit and one of the great questions we face as a society today. That question is how to deal with disagreement.