Retired Minnesota State Supreme Court Justice Sam Hanson covered a lot of ground in his recent Law & Leadership presentation at Hamline: the issue of judicial activism, the changing role of judicial elections and questions about whether the judiciary has legislated from the bench. He said judicial activism is "a misused charge but one that is often made against judges. It's a bit like being charged with being ‘unpatriotic' in that it creates some pressure on the judiciary to withdraw from its important role in the development of common law."
Justice Hanson, who has returned to practice law at Briggs & Morgan, said he had forgotten about the "adrenalin rushes" a lawyer can experience in private practice. He also shared that he had learned about the "transformative quality of collaborative decision-making" on the bench, which required him to change from being "fairly autonomous" to collaborating with his judicial colleagues.
"I learned to appreciate inquiry and to look for the insight in someone else's questions. If each judge comes in prepared to hear what others are thinking, what perspectives they have, there's a chance to understand a case at a far deeper level, which increases the chance of making a ruling that can stand the test of time," he said.
Listen to Justice Hanson's presentation.