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Judge Jones Nudges Judge Judy

Judge John E. Jones, a former trial attorney and State Liquor Control Board member who now is a federal judge for central Pennsylvania, is also a new phenomenon on the federal bench: a judge who, having made a ruling (e.g., the Dover case), goes on speaking tours and television shows to promote himself, his ruling and -- yesterday -- a PBS documentary on his ruling. Yesterday morning he was on the Today Show. Soon we will be asked to consider his views on the Iraq War or the writers' strike in Hollywood. Maybe he should retire and start a talk show for Air America (where he also has appeared).

There must have been others who have broken from the long-standing customary reluctance of the federal judiciary to risk the dignity of the court by lending themselves out as celebrity promoters. I can't think of any that were comparable. Had he ruled differently on the Dover Case, would his self-promotion efforts have been rewarded -- or would they have been fiercely condemned?

Want a different legal take on Judge Jones' ruling? Listen in to the interview with Phillip Johnson, who clerked for US Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren and is the Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law, emeritus at University of California, Berkeley.