Constraining Opinions and the Ethics of ‘I Believe’
This tenet doesn’t only exist in the world of Stephen Hawking or those of his ilk. In the law, too, the personal beliefs of a lawyer (whose role it is to advocate) have no place in the courtroom. This said, some weeks back, Judge Pierre Leval of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit guest lectured a class on “How Judges Decide,” which I co-teach at Fordham Law School. While discussing the role of the clerk in the judge/clerk relationship, he described the duties of the clerk, once the judge decides how he intends to rule in a written opinion.