The Storied Third Branch
Welcome to The Storied Third Branch
A rich tradition of honorable service seen through the eyes of judges
Untold Stories. With notable exceptions, the public knows little of judges’ work. On those occasions when the judiciary is in the spotlight, the experience is typically short-lived, quickly expiring at the conclusion of a sensational case. Books about the lives of judges are few. Yet history is full of judges who took a courageous stand in the face of contrary popular will. These episodic events have had enormous impacts, but often go unrecognized. More neglected is the story of the Third Branch administering justice on a daily basis. A judge’s life is shouldering the heavy responsibility of making difficult decisions that over a life time affect thousands of individuals.
Judges Provide Unique Perspective. Stories about judges are told by judges who are qualified by experience to provide a unique and personal perspective on the life-work of judges. The Duke Law Center for Judicial Studies is honored to provide a host repository for judges to tell their stories.
Purpose. Our purpose is to inform the public about one of our nation’s greatest strengths by publishing these stories. We will publish three to four essays each month. We expect that most judges in our series will be little known outside the geographical limits of their respective courthouse. It is precisely because of this gap in our national consciousness that we believe that such a history is important. When the “rule of law” is being recognized around the world as an essential driver of advanced societies, establishing this repository now will not only strengthen our respect for the law, but also provide exemplary examples to developing democracies.
Commemorating the Magna Carta
By Avern Cohn, U.S. District Judge,
Eastern District of Michigan
"The 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, justly regarded as the foundation of constitutional liberty in the English speaking world, will be celebrated in 2015. Awareness of the anniversary recalls to me my visit to Runnymede..."
"A Leader of Judges":
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Collings
By Tommy E. Miller, U.S. Magistrate Judge,
Eastern District of Virginia
"When Judge Collings retires in 2014, he will have served as a magistrate judge for the District of Massachusetts for 32 years. Judge Collings has written many published opinions clarifying or explaining the law. One could write at length about his contributions to the development of law. However, as important as these contributions are, his greater contribution has been his leadership in the judiciary. Judge Collings's leadership style is one of patience and persistence. He has led from a wide variety of positions...."