Law Professor: Roberts Court Spent Most Time in Academia, Appellate Level

Monday, 05 Mar 2012 12:01 PM

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The current members of the Supreme Court have spent more time in academia and on appellate benches, and less time in the practice of law than any previous court. The court is also the first not to have a member who served in elective office, The Washington Post reported.

University of Tennessee law Professor Benjamin Barton has tracked the life experience of every member of the Supreme Court since its founding and concluded that the court headed by Chief Justice John Roberts is unusual.

“Roberts Court justices have spent more pre-appointment time in legal academia, appellate judging, and living in Washington, D.C. than any previous Supreme Court,” Barton wrote, according to the Post. “They also spent the most time in elite undergraduate and law school settings.”

He added they also spent less time in private practice, "in trial judging, and as elected politicians than any previous court.” Barton also found the members of the Roberts Court spent an average of just six years in private practice compared to a 17-year average for previous courts, while spending a collective 95 years in legal academia, more than any previous court, the Post reported.

“These cloistered and neutral experiences offer limited opportunities for the development of the most critical judicial virtue: practical wisdom," Barton told the Post.


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