Stop-and-Frisk Judge Relishes Her Independence

, New York Law Journal


Shira Scheindlin, who is presiding over one of the most politically charged cases in recent New York City history, says there are too many judges who don't want to deliver controversial rulings. Few court observers would describe Scheindlin as cautious and the judge spoke freely when she sat down to discuss some of her prior decisions and her views on being a federal judge.

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What's being said

  • Mitch

    What a grandiose gasbag. And she has the temerity to denigrate Justice Alito, President Bush, and practically the whole Second Circuit Court of Appeals (including by suggesting it's getting better with Obama appointments).She makes blatantly partisan comments about Bush administration policies. I guess she has no opinion or comment to make about Obama's killer drone policies, or any of his other disastrous policies? Just Bush, eh? This woman is a rambling fool, and an unabashed attention seeker. Yuk.

  • DREGstudios

    “Stop and Frisk” is a breach of civil rights for anyone stopped, regardless of their race. The actions and abuse by the NYPD are filling the very definition of a “Police State” where citizens are under never ending scrutiny in order for cops meet a quota designed to turn profits. You can read much more about our Justice System running amuck and how they’ve violated civil liberties across the country in the name of the almighty dollar at

  • Malcolm Guidry

    I agree with Ravi Batra. Well said.

  • Ravi Batra

    A judge's independence is at her highest, when she has no ambition to seek a higher bench. Just ask Judge Jack Weinstein, who enjoys the awesome power of a trial judge, made nearly non-reversible when credibility-judgment is properly factored in. Judge Shira Scheindlin was always so free, and hence empowered with maximum independence.

    Without judicial independence, we would be a banana republic; but with it, our separated powers regime comes to life and American exceptionalism, sparked by the Declaration of Independence and enshrined in our Constitution, is visible to the blind and the envy the world over.

    The irony has always been, however, that the executive branch, more than the legislative, seeks to crush the judiciary every time a judge dares to say "no" to power - yet applauds and celebrates judicial independence every time it hears a "yes" to power. Even politics, elective and appointive, has learned, albeit, slowly, that judge-birth ought to be of, and from, politics, but once a judge is born, she must fly free of politics so merit, and merit alone, calibrates judicial judgment (with the added benefit that society remains civil and citizens govern-able).

    The greatest danger to justice, and to the society it serves, is when institutional or governmental litigants are granted rights that ordinary litigants could never dream of getting in or out of court - such as specialized parts, special rules, and greater leeway in the name of efficiency in-court and editorial boards at the ready, after secret lobbying outside of court, to freely judge-bash due to judge-protected First Amendment rights.

    More judges ought to grant an interview, as Judge Scheindlin did.

    Dated: May 17, 2013


    Ravi Batra

  • Michael

    I wish the reporter would have delved more into Mayor McCheese's desparate 'hit piece' regarding her alleged bias against police. To even hint that a former prosecutor is somehow biased against those she used to tag-team a joke. She sounds like a reasonable person. I may not agree with all of her decisions, and may think that she doesn't go far enough, but I sincerely don' t find her biased in any direction....although I am only going by the decisions I have read.

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