From the Lawsters Discussion Group:
1) Joseph Zernik wrote
Date: Thu, 09 Dec 2010 03:39:42
From: joseph zernik
Subject: Re: Any Significance to the Gold Fringed Flag? Jon
I find it fascinating how you guys look for high-brow rationales...
A century ago, the US Congress simply described the US Courts as "a farce and a burlesque"...  The same is true today...
What you do is an attempt at literary criticism of a stand-up comedy show...
 02-00-00 Messinger, I S: Order in The Court - History of Clerks of United States Courts, Federal Judicial Center (2002)
2) At 03:26 AM 12/9/2010, Jon wrote:
True, but not all such duties define whether the decisions of the court are lawful. That is, whether we have a duty to obey them. Symbolism that induces doubt concerning the integrity of the court can bias people against complying with it, and judges that do not attend to appearances should not be surprised if they draw a lot of suspicion that can impair the stature of judges and courts in society.
I have actually discussed this issue with real judges. I got a kind of arrogant defiance: "I'm not going to yield to such ignorant rabble and their wacky ideas!", when it was that very arrogance that incites people. (After a while, I got one judge to order the fringe be removed, and a secretary did it on her lunch hour, which did not please her at all.)
So what the fringe symbolizes is not so much partiality to the government (although that is a real problem), as arrogant disregard for the people who they are supposed to humbly serve. It is that arrogance that is the source of much of what is wrong with the courts. It is also why we have trial by jury, but need it for more kinds of cases.
However, it is an arrogance that extends to the entire legal profession: "We lawyers own the courts and we make the rules." That is what prompted the comment from Shakespeare's character: "First, we kill all the lawyers." Perhaps every couple of generations we need to kill all the lawyers and start with a fresh batch.
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3) On 12/08/2010 06:51 PM, John Wolfgram wrote:
judges not only must be impartial, but they must appear to be impartial