All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: A Response


  • Keith J. Bybee

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Keith J. Bybee is Paul E. and Hon. Joanne F. Alper '72 Judiciary Studies Professor at Syracuse University College of Law and Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

  • The author thanks the symposium contributors for their thoughtful responses. He also thanks participants in the author-meets-readers roundtables at the New England Political Science Association and the Law & Society Association annual meetings for their valuable comments.

Correspondence may be sent to


The author explains the origins of All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies and the Rule of Law (2010) as a response to a fundamental question posed by legal realism: How can the judicial process be permeated with politics and yet remain an accepted part of a legitimate legal system? The author demonstrates the ongoing importance of this question by examining debates over the place of constitutional law in the law school curriculum and by assessing public perceptions of the Supreme Court's ruling on health care reform. The author then addresses the critical appraisals presented by the symposium contributors. The critiques are taken as road maps for extending the author's arguments in new directions.