Clerks in the Maze

It must be very difficult to be a judge – particularly an appellate judge. Not only must appellate judges reconcile often incommensurable visions of what law is, what it commands, or what it strives to achieve, but judges must do this largely alone. What little help they have in terms of actual human contact, apart from their clerks, typically takes the form of two or more advocates whose entire raison d’être is to persuade, coax, and manipulate the judge into reaching a predetermined outcome – one which often instantiates or exemplifies only the most tenuous positive connection to the rhetoric of social purpose, legal doctrine, and moral value deployed by the advocates.