In a recent article, I addressed one aspect of the complex of issues facing federal judges--the problems allegedly attendant upon the "bureaucratization" of the decision-making process at the appellate level. The present paper considers a different set of questions: taking as given the current organization, jurisdiction, and caseload of the federal courts, how might appellate judges alter their habits and attitudes so as to perform better their allotted tasks and how might Congress alter its own practices so as to facilitate the refinement and more effective utilization of appellate adjudication? The ensuing discussion of those topics is divided into three sections. Part I identifies and explicates the postulates of the analysis; it also describes a few salient features of modern federal appellate adjudication that must be considered in any critique of our judicial system. Part II advances four modest proposals for improvement in the "judicial function." Part III examines ways in which Congress might enable the appellate courts to do their job better.
Harry T. Edwards, The Role of a Judge in Modern Society: Some Reflections on Current Practice in Federal Appellate Adjudication, 32 Clev. St. L. Rev. 385 (1983-1984)