When the world around you suddenly (but foreseeably) shifts to the left, do you have a duty to resist going Galt?
Orin Kerr says:
The stunning news is here. Judge McConnell is one of my favorite judges; that’s a really big loss.
I’ve noted before that there have been an unusual number of early retirements from the judiciary among the most academically accomplished of judges, including the likes of our own Paul Cassell (left to join the Utah faculty) and David Levi (left to become Dean of Duke). Now McConnell can be added to the list. All of the six individuals on the list are GOP nominees, as it turns out.
And ATL suggests:
Unsaid is that a Stanford salary trumps that from the 10th Circuit. And that McConnell’s SCOTUS dreams died along with Obama’s winning the election.
I get all of that, and certainly I get the Galt-like default. My question is: If you’re in a position where you know your voice makes a substantial difference, and your absence will result in a significant change in your jurisdiction, and folks detrimentally relied on your moving forward, like FedSoc who helped at the front end and your clerks this term — do all those things add up to some higher duty not to default rightthissecond?
The good folks at IHS would argue that he will fulfill the same (or greater) duty at Stanford that he’s been acting out on the bench, i.e., framing the right-leaning argument in an increasingly
hostile left-leaning environment.
I’m really only framing this as a duty because of ATL’s insinuation that he left bc his Supreme aspirations were dashed. Unfortunately in that category Souter set the bar pretty high for retiring with class: He didn’t hire clerks, so no one’s dream is devastated by his decision to leave (except the Washington-area yogurt market); and he waited until he could be reasonably certain that whoever replaced him would continue a similar jurisprudential timbre (if McConnell went Galt, Souter undeniably went Specter!).
Anyway. Atlas analogies are always a little over-attenuated, but one we’re seeing increasingly often. Does Atlas have a duty to keep his shoulders steady?