Norm Pattis hasn’t been paying attention. For some reason he’s wondering why no Plaintiff’s lawyers or criminal defense lawyers are ever nominated to the federal bench.
It’s because, by definition, such lawyers have not been co-opted to power, and indeed by their very background have demonstrated that they are unwilling to be co-opted. They represent individuals against institutions: in the case of criminal defense lawyers, the institution is the government; in the case of Plaintiff’s lawyers, the institution is the insurance company that represents the party being sued (And there is effectively always an insurance company on the other side of an individual Plaintiff’s case, otherwise the suit would never be brought.)
By contrast, those representing the government as prosecutors or those representing insurance companies have signaled, by that very fact, that they are amenable to being the instruments by which large institutions exercise power over individuals. Accordingly, those with power – and relatedly, the power to choose judges – are only comfortable with those lawyers, and are never comfortable with criminal defense lawyers or Plaintiff’s lawyers and will never support them to become judges. Their names are never in the hopper. They don’t get out of the starting block.
Pattis complains about Obama’s appointments. But Obama has never even seen the name of a CDL or Plaintiff’s lawyer brought to him. No such lawyer would get through the gauntlet of powerful objectors before the US Senator signed off, to say nothing of the president.
The main requirement for becoming a judge is that you demonstrate from your record that you bow to power. If you do that, you can assume office, don the robe, and do your master’s bidding.
I know of no group of people whose character is so uniformly low as judges. I never address them as “your honor” without cringing on the inside at how Orwellian that is.