The Chicago Tribune reports:
“Judge Richard A. Posner, one of the nation’s leading appellate judges, whose acerbic wit attracted an almost cultlike following within legal circles, is retiring after more than three decades with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
Posner, 78, is stepping down effective Saturday, according to a news release Friday afternoon from the 7th Circuit. He was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and served as its chief judge from 1993 to 2000.
Posner said in a statement he has written more than 3,300 opinions in his time on the bench and is “proud to have promoted a pragmatic approach to judging.” He said he spent his career applying his view that “judicial opinions should be easy to understand and that judges should focus on the right and wrong in every case.”
Posner’s biting and often brilliant written opinions as well as his unrelenting questioning from the bench have made him an icon of the court for years.
Known as a conservative at the time of his appointment, Posner’s views skewed more libertarian through the years, and he often came down in favor of more liberal issues such as gay marriage and abortion rights.
Lawyers who regularly appeared before the 7th Circuit knew that when Posner was on a panel they had to be ready for a line of questioning that could come out of left field. The salty judge was known to abruptly cut off lawyers who he thought were off-point, often with a dismissive “No, no, no!” delivered in his trademark nasal tone.”
Read the full article at the link.
Here’s a classic Posner comment on the U.S. Immigration Courts from a 2016 case, Chavarria-Reyes v. Lynch:
“POSNER, Circuit Judge, dissenting. This case involves a typical botch by an immigration judge. No surprise: the Immigration Court, though lodged in the Justice Department, is the least competent federal agency, though in fairness it may well owe its dismal status to its severe underfunding by Congress, which has resulted in a shortage of immigration judges that has subjected them to crushing workloads.”
See my prior blog on Chavarria-Reyes:
Judge Posner was always provocative, often entertaining, and eminently quotable. While I found some of his commentary on the Immigration Courts and the BIA, and particularly some of his harsh words about individual Immigration Judges, to be “over the top,” his blunt criticism of the failure to provide due process to migrants and his recognition that the DOJ and Congress shared the majority of the responsibility for screwing up the system was spot on.
He was always a “player,” and he will be missed even by those who disagreed with him. I look forward to a “Posner commentary” on the state of due process in the Immigration Courts in the Sessions regime.