Today’s WSJ shares the news that retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has become a ‘flying squad’ judge (my term), filling in for federal appellate court judges around the country.
Unlike the Supreme Court, which cherry-picks only 1% of the 10,000 cases it is petitioned to hear, the appellate court must take an appeal from almost any loser in federal district court. Cases almost never plumb heady legal issues, but instead revolve around some quotidian — some might even say boring — facts. “Some fact-bound criminal case is not of special interest to me, I have to confess,” she says. Most of her caseload is “not particularly demanding, intellectually.”