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Copyright (c) 2000 South Texas Law Review, Inc.
South Texas Law Review

ARTICLE: Stupid Judge Tricks

Fall, 2000

South Texas Law Review

41 S. Tex. L. Rev. 1301


Steven Lubet*


I. What Are Stupid Judge Tricks?
There is a folder next to my desk labeled "Stupid Judge Tricks." I throw case reports and newspaper stories into it as I come across them, and eventually use them to update various sections of Judicial Conduct and Ethics. 1 I empty the file every summer, having incorporated the important cases and grown tired of the rest. I do not keep the clippings from year to year simply because the process of treatise revision - replete with cutting, pasting, underlining, note-taking, marginal scribbling, and exasperated paper crumpling - pretty much destroys the source material as I work.

But now I wish I had saved all of those files. It's not because the cases are timeless - believe me, they aren't. And it's not because the information has been completely lost - the significant cases can be found through the topic headings in the index to the treatise. And it's not because the file contains a coherent body of organized case law - it is never more than a jumble of cases and reports that defy categorization and need to be distributed from chapter to chapter in order to be of any use.

No, I wish I had saved them because I am starting to think that a survey of "stupid judge tricks" might be helpful to our understanding of a little-discussed subject that could be called "judicial hubris." Fortunately, this thought came to me shortly before I was ...
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