Judge Posner’s new, self-published book raises eyebrows

Just days after retiring from his seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Richard Posner released his latest book, the awkwardly titled Reforming the Federal Judiciary: My Former Court Needs to Overhaul Its Staff Attorney Program and Begin Televising Its Oral Arguments.  The book is self-published, and apparently contains a significant number of internal memos from within the court.

The reviews are not good:

From the CA3 blog: “Posner has made a terrible mistake in publishing this book.”

And from Amazon: “Reading this book is similar to being stuck on a transcontinental flight sitting next to someone who wants you to know all the details about how unfairly he was treated at the job from which he just retired. After reading this book, you will think twice before embarrassing yourself by posting on Facebook that rant to get even with someone you feel has wronged you. That is the valuable lesson to be learned from the very inexpensive Kindle edition of this book. If you buy the print edition (much more expensive), look at yourself in a mirror and say “sucker”. You have gotten an extra lesson from spending $12.”

The book may also raise significant ethics issues, beyond the normal breach of workplace decorum.

Judge Posner surely does not care about any of this, especially if the notoriety gets people talking about the issues surrounding pro se litigation and courtroom cameras. But even those supportive of Posner’s positions on these issues (among whom I include myself) have to wonder if this was the most constructive way to address them.

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