Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Strawberry Judges

Thanks to Marie and her fellow Red Lion Reporters for having me. I'm so very excited to be joining the Penn State community.

Have you been following the brouhaha about the taboo files on Judge Kozinski's website? (See here) The story has caused quite a stir in the blogosphere--for instance, Professor Lawrence Lessig defends the judge here, while Professor Ann Bartow criticizes the judge here.

I want to propose a hypothesis to try to explain why people are so fascinated by the Kozinski mess (as Professor Lessig calls it). My idea is that the case is captivating not because of the content on Judge Kozinski's website, but because it challenges the idea that judges are not supposed to be sexual beings. His real mistake, according to my hypothesis, was exposing the fact that he's not asexual.

Judges tend toward the vanilla. In his book Sex and Reason, Judge Richard Posner explains that this is because people with "irregular sex lives" are screened out of the judiciary. But why should we expect judges to be asexual? In his wonderful film Love and Death, Woody Allen said: "Some men are heterosexual and some men are bisexual, and some men don't think about sex at all...they become lawyers."

As much as it pains me to say it, Woody Allen is wrong. Lawyers and judges are people, and people are sexual. As lawyers, we should think about sex, if for the sole reason that sex plays such an important role in our lives. And judges are frequently asked to resolve cases involving sexual issues of all kinds and flavors. So maybe the silver lining of the Kozinski mess is that exposes the fact that some judges are not vanilla but strawberry. (Strawberry is the opposite of vanilla, right?)

1 comment:

Alison M. Kilmartin said...

By the looks of this YouTube clip, which is quite amusing, Judge Kozinski's strawberry days have been with him for quite some time! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdjCdbGucCU

Good to have you aboard, Professor Kramer, welcome to Red Lion Reports.