Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner is one of America’s most lauded judges and legal thinkers. An economics degree from Yale, president of the Harvard Law Review, and clerk to Justice William Brennan, Posner has the brains and the pedigree to move American jurisprudence. And move it he has. A conservative in reaction to his experience on the Supreme Court he’s drawn the ire of this blog for insensitvity to Constitutional rights of citizens. In addition, he’s one of the main proponents of the “law and economics” movement which advocates the analysis of law using economic principles. As you guessed, he’s no enemy of big corporations and business in general.
You’d think a practitioner of the “dismal science” would be pretty dry in his legal opinions. Not so. Judge Posner has drawn fire for his use of web-snatched images amid the text of his legal analysis. In one instance depicted above, he used an image of an ostrich doing what ostriches are famous for to chastise a plaintiff’s lawyer who ignored a precedential case in his brief. In another, he incorporated an image of dreadlocked reggae singer, Bob Marley, to graphically illustrate his opinion in a dispute involving religious expression by means of hair style for a federal prisoner.
The practice has drawn judicial complaints from the plaintiff’s lawyer chastised as an ostrich and charges of copyright violation, all to no avail. Posner remains nonplussed as a dedicated “cut and paster.” Posner said it was the first negative feedback he’d received for an image. “I’m sorry he [the plaintiff’s lawyer] was upset by it,” he said. Posner also defended his use of artistic license, saying photos embedded in his opinions “couldn’t conceivably be hurting the copyright holder.”
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger