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"The Roads Not Taken"

Entertaining review of Richard Posner's recent book, Divergent Paths: The Academy and the Judiciary, by Paul Howitz (Gordon Rosen Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law).

The individual criticisms of the article may be sound, but his conclusion—that the author “misperceives what judges need in the way of academic analysis,” which turns out to be more articles telling judges to be like Posner, to delete their ibids and unleash their ids—is ridiculous. . . .

I agree with most of Posner’s diagnoses and many of his prescriptions; I admire his work as a judge and a scholar; I wish more judges, lawyers, and law professors were like Posner. But all of them? By the end of the book, one can’t help recall a scene in the movie Being John Malkovich, depicting a world with nothing but Malkoviches. Even a world filled with first-rate Posners would be an unsteady place; one filled with inevitably less capable people, taught nothing but how to emulate him, would be calamitous. Whatever legal academics’ job is, it can’t be that.