Judging as Judgment

Oct 4, 2018
Jenner & Block, 45th Floor
353 N Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654
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Joseph William SingerHarvard Law School

  • Joseph Singer - Judging as Judgment

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Free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Cosponsored by the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago, the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, the Christian Legal Society, the Jewish Judges Association, and Jenner & Block LLP.

When a case is easy, judges can act like umpires. But when a case is hard, judges cannot simply apply the rules - they have to exercise judgment. We pretend that judges don’t make law in order to ensure that they are sufficiently responsive to social and political norms and to elected representatives. But contrary to popular belief, the rule of law does not require judges to refrain from judgment. What the rule of law requires is that judges give impartial reasons for their decisions. And judges can only do that if they attend carefully to the normative arguments on both sides of hard cases and give reasons that could or should be accepted by the losing side.


5:00pm   Registration & Refreshments
5:30pm   Welcome & Introduction
5:35pm   "Judging as Judgment"
6:20pm   Audience Q&A 
6:30pm   Reception
7:30pm   End


Joseph William Singer is the Bussey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He holds a BA from Williams College, an AM in political science from Harvard, and a JD from Harvard Law School. He teaches and writes about property law, conflict of laws, and federal Indian law. He also writes about legal theory with an emphasis on moral and political philosophy. Singer has published more than 60 law review articles, and is one of the executive editors of the 2012 edition of Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law. Additionally he has written a casebook and a treatise on property law, as well as two theoretical books on property called Entitlement: The Paradoxes of Property andThe Edges of the Field: Lessons on the Obligations of Ownership.