Courier-Journal story by Andrew Wolfson reports Judge Boyce Martin, Jr. with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has announced his retirement, effective August 16, 2013.
In 34 years as a federal appeals court judge, Boyce F. Martin Jr. of Louisville wrote more than 1,500 opinions, including the nation’s first appellate decision affirming what is known as Obamacare and another landmark ruling allowing law schools to consider race in admissions.
He livened his opinions with quotations from Homer Simpson and footnotes citing singer John Prine. And he began a ruling to uphold Maker’s Mark’s rights to its traditional red wax seal with a six-page discourse on the history of bourbon.
“All bourbon is whiskey,” he wrote, “but not all whiskey is bourbon.”
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New York lawyer Christopher D. Barnstable-Brown, one of 150 law clerks whom Martin mentored, said: “He always reminded us that the cases were not just about sterile briefs and legal questions but about the real reason the cases were there — the people involved.“The court of appeals is essentially a cloistered world … and it is easy to lose perspective, but Judge Martin never did,” Barnstable-Brown added. “He taught me that compassion is part of justice.”
Martin’s style both on the bench and in written opinions is characterized by “no-nonsense jurisprudence,” clear and concise writing, and a focus on common sense. He has been cited as an example of how common sense helps “sustain the law, not destroy it.” The purpose of an opinion is to provide justice to the parties and explain the law to the lawyers and the public. To this end, he quickly publishes opinions so that the disputing parties need not wait longer than necessary. He is also known to liven his opinions with the occasional quote about ostriches or Homer Simpson.
On the death penalty:
“I have been a judge on this Court for more than twenty-five years. In that time I have seen many death penalty cases and I have applied the law as instructed by the Supreme Court and I will continue to do so for as long as I remain on this Court. This my oath requires. After all these years, however, only one conclusion is possible: the death penalty in this country is arbitrary, biased, and so fundamentally flawed at its very core that it is beyond repair.”
Moore v. Parker (dissent).
“All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.”
Maker’s Mark Distiller v. Diageo N. Am., 5/9/2012
On Homer Simpson:
“Implicit in this understanding is that the offeree is aware of the significance of the act performed. Without a signal that she understands that a contract is being made, how is one to know if she has truly accepted? 1”
FN. 1. Homer Simpson talking to God: “Here’s the deal: you freeze everything as it is, and I won’t ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. [no response] OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, please give me no sign. [no response] Thy will be done.” The Simpsons: And Maggie Makes Three (Fox television broadcast, Jan. 22, 1995).
On Austin Powers:
1See also Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (New Line Cinema 1997).see Austin Powers in Goldmember (New Line Cinema 2002)), he will be one of the few, if any, criminal defendants, able to argue, consistent with this Circuit’s precedent, that all of his various crimes were “related” for purposes of the Guidelines.
DR. EVIL: Scott, I want you to meet Daddy’s nemesis, Austin Powers.
SCOTT EVIL: Why are you feeding him? Why don’t you just kill him?
DR. EVIL: In due time.
SCOTT EVIL: But what if he escapes? Why don’t you just shoot him? What are you waiting for?
DR. EVIL: I have a better idea. I’m going to put him in an easily-escapable situation involving an overly-elaborate and exotic death.
SCOTT EVIL: Why don’t you just shoot him now? Here, I’ll get a gun. We’ll just shoot him. Bang! Dead. Done.
DR. EVIL: One more peep out of you and you’re grounded. Let’s begin.
Prior to this exchange and then again following it, Dr. Evil describes in great detail the separate crimes necessary to achieve his plan for world domination. Thus, if our Government ever does find Dr. Evil (or chooses to prosecute him despite his recent decision to be “less evil,”
The Austin Powers footnote: Footnote one,of a concurring opinion that Sixth Circuit Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr. <http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/06a0067p-06.pdf#page=16> .