Book Reviews

What does a judge do when he decides a case? It would be interesting to collect the answers ranging from those furnished by primitive systems of law in which the judge was supposed to consult the gods to the ultra-modern, rather profane system described to me recently by a retrospective judge: “I make up my mind which way the case ought to be decided, and then I see if I can’t get some legal ground to make it stick.” Perhaps the widespread impression is the curiously erroneous one lampooned by Gnaeus Flavius (Kantorowitz). The judge is supposed to sit at a green baize tablethe German equivalent in suggestion for our red tape-with nothing before him but a copy of the Biirgerliches Gesetzbucl. Personally, he has no equipment but a perfect thinking machine. The facts are presented to him and a mechanically perfect conclusion is automatically reached. Disregarding entirely the unattainability of this ideal degree of the elimination of the personal equation, one may well ask whether the ideal itself is worth striving to approximate.