U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Top 5 Awesome Opinions From the Bench of Judge Richard Posner

News broke at the end of last week that the fan favorite judge of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Honorable Richard Posner, was retiring. Here at FindLaw, we're big fans of the Pos -- after all, he's perhaps one of the most entertaining judges in U.S. history.

To honor one of our all time favorite Your Honors, below, you'll find a few of our favorite Posner opinions.

1. Posner Calls Out Sovereign Citizen BS

If you've ever encountered a person at a cocktail party, or more likely on public transit, that has insisted that they can get out of legal liability because of their sovereign citizenship, Judge Posner's response will probably make you all fuzzy on the inside. In response to a tax evader claiming this fantastical legal theory, Posner said:

"This stuff that you've been shoving at me for the last month about the Stamp Act and about the Sovereign Immunities Act and about the admiralty law and about the Uniform Commercial Code and about the common law, is complete bullshit."

2. Your Research Isn't Good Enough for Posner

In a pro se prisoner complaint over failure to provide medical care related to the inmate's heartburn, Judge Posner went beyond the call of duty and did some Wikipedia research, as well as reviewing the panic inducing literature on WebMD. Fortunately, in reaching his decision, he also relied on more trusted sources, such as the National Institute of Health.

3. Posner Even Benchslapped Pro Se Litigants

While judges will often provide some additional leniency to pro se litigants (including Judge Posner), when it wasn't warranted, Posner made sure it was abundantly clear.

4. Posner Makes Legal Analysis Easy

Why bother to remember the convoluted legal test for discrimination with the multiple elements, triggering events, contingencies, loopholes, and all the rest, when you can just shave it all down to two simple parts? Though he acknowledges that his test isn't the new way, he certainly seems pleased to have cut through some of the steps to get to the same conclusion.

5. Posner Can Admit Fault

It is not uncommon for judges to get it wrong. Appellate courts reverse decisions on a daily basis when they are in session. However, it is a rare day when a judge will actually admit that they were wrong, rather than claim that a new case's facts distinguishes their previous "wrong" decision. But, as you know, Judge Posner is no ordinary jurist, and in a biography explained that he got the Indiana voter ID law decision wrong.

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