Remembering Judge Robert Katzmann

The nation loses an important jurist and legal thinker.


The Honorable Robert A. Katzmann, former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, passed away this past week. He was noted for his illustrious judicial career, as well as his commitment to civics and legal education. He was 68.

The U.S. Courts posted an obituary here. Other remembrances were offered by NYT editorial writer Jesse Wegman and Cornell law professor Michael Dorf. Attorney General Merrick Garland offered this statement.

Judge Katzmann was the author of multiple books, most recently the influential and highly regarded Judging Statutes, in which he sought to offer an alternative to textualist approaches to statutory interpretation. Then-judge Brett Kavanaugh reviewed Judging Statutes in the Harvard Law Review, and Judge Katzmann offered this response. The book, and the exchange, are worthwhile for those with an interest in statutory interpretation.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: June 12, 1967

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  1. From Kavenaugh’s review:
    “Figuring out the best reading of the statute is not always an easy task. I am not a modern-day Yogi Berra, who once purportedly said that there would be no more close calls if we just moved first base.”

    I have to say that baseball analogy is even less useful than the umpires calling balls and strikes trope.

    1. Ninety percent of statutory interpretation is half textual.

      Judge Katzmann comes across as extremely thoughtful and caring during his 2014 interview with Brian Lamb;

      1. Sorry. Stopped listening at the first minute describing his Ivy indoctrination. Big government biased, dunderhead. I am sorry he is dead, but the nation is much better off to be rid of him. Whatever he has to say will be masking ideology Marxist garbage. Let me guess, he wants to read the minds of dead legislators. For example, they did that in saying “person” in the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to apply to black men, not to white women, when denying them the vote. That was statutory interpretation, but really only their personal bias and feeling of the 19th Century imposed at the point of a gun as national policy. Today’s judges are no better.

        Fuck you, dirty traitor, go back to your séance. Leave this country alone. Take all the Ivy indoctrinated scumbags with you to your Venezuelan hell.

        1. Do you stinking lawyers not see that mind reading of the dead is a creepy supernatural power in violation of the Establishment Clause? You are making the country live inside a 1940’s horror movie, you toxic traitors.

          1. This bitch needs to be appointed by Biden to the very next Supreme Court opening. I think she is great, unless, the “clients” are all paid ahead of time to boohoo on cue. Don’t need to magic technique described, just cash. In this audience of 5000 people, is there someone that lost a piece of jewelry? Is there someone who kept the favorite sweater of a father that passed to the other side? She can do real statutory interpretation.


      2. Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem was out drinking with his fellow umps after a game. Something he did with great gusto. One of his peers said: “I calls ’em like I sees ’em.” The second ump said: “I call ’em like they are.” Klem sat quietly for a moment, then said: “They ain’t nothing ’til I call ’em.”
        So much for the balls and strikes theory.

  2. The wikipedia entry has already changed the entry from Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts to some Latin phrases nobody will know or understand. Good job and helpful because Latin is clearly not “white supremacy” or whatever passes for idiocy these days

    1. Julius Caesar was actually black.

      1. He was? Why do you say that?

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