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From the Publisher: Light at the End of the COVID-19 Tunnel

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Spring 2021 | Volume 105 Number 1 | Download PDF Version of Article
David F. Levi

In reviewing this edition of Judicature, I am struck not only by the breadth of subject matter and the thoughtfulness of our authors, but also the way this journal provides a record of this moment in time. As we begin to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, we are also beginning to examine a turbulent period in our nation’s social and political lives. The election of 2020 during a pandemic, the ensuing litigation, and the January 6 attack on the Capitol posed serious challenges to our political system. A panel of leading scholars of history and the presidency — David Kennedy, Daphna Renan, Terry Moe, and Jack Goldsmith — offer context for understanding the presidency of Donald Trump and suggest reforms that might secure a more perfect union and a better functioning democracy.

Also in these pages, we offer an overview of some of the 2020 election litigation and how admirably the courts responded. It is notable that through the uncertainty and partisanship, the courts held firm. Judges of all political affiliations did what they have sworn to do: They upheld our Constitution; they faithfully and impartially performed their duties, without respect to person or party or external pressures. And while there is work to do to shore up our political and electoral systems for the challenges of our times, all Americans can take pride in our judiciary. For that, we have you — our federal and state judges — to thank.

We also honor retired Massachusetts Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, the 2021 recipient of the Bolch Prize for the Rule of Law and an extraordinary example of a judge who has quietly and persistently devoted her life to ensuring that the law, in both substance and administration, promotes justice for all.

A pair of articles offer international perspectives on another great challenge of our time — the increasing dominance of artificial intelligence in our public and private lives. Philip Sales, justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, considers how the law must adapt — quickly — to anticipate the many questions posed by the pervasiveness of new and poorly understood technologies. Zhuhao Wang offers an overview of China’s bold use of technology, including artificial intelligence, to dramatically transform its court system.

Herbert Kritzer reports on research that attempts to pinpoint what people want in state court judges. Howard Wasserman examines how (and which) federal judicial clerkships might lead to an academic career. Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan, Judge Pamela Harris, and Harvard Law Professor Daphna Renan pay tribute to Judge Harry T. Edwards. And Duke Law Professor Lisa Kern Griffin reviews First, a biography of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor that reminds us all of the virtues of moderation and compromise.

I am sad to note that Alan Mansfield, who had served on Judicature’s editorial board for the past two years and was a wonderful lawyer at Greenberg Traurig’s New York office, passed away earlier this year. We so appreciated his service and will miss his thoughtful contributions to our journal. As we remember Alan, we also express our continuing gratitude to the many judges, lawyers, and scholars who contribute to and support Judicature. Through your efforts, Judicature remains a vital part of our strong judicial culture of independence, professionalism, and commitment to justice. Thank you!

David F. Levi signature

David F. Levi
Director, Bolch Judicial Institute

About David F. Levi

David F. Levi is the Levi Family Professor of Law and Judicial Studies and Director of the Bolch Judicial Institute. He served as the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law from 2007 to 2018. He previously was Chief United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California, with chambers in Sacramento. He has served as chair of two Judicial Conference committees by appointment of the Chief Justice. He was chair of the Civil Rules Advisory Committee (2000-2003) and chair of the Standing Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure (2003-2007); he was reappointed to serve as a member of that committee (2009-2015). In 2014, he was appointed chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the American Judicial System, and in 2015, he was named co-chair of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice. He also is a member of the ALI Council and was an advisor to the ALI’s Federal Judicial Code Revision and Aggregate Litigation projects.He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves as president of the American Law Institute (ALI).