The Storied Third Branch

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.

December 2014

 J. Michelle Childs"Passion for Justice"

By J. Michelle Childs,
U.S. District Judge, South Carolina

"I recall the days of practicing as a young lawyer in federal court and hoping to have a case before Judge Perry. You knew that you were going to be treated with dignity and respect and that your clients were going to be treated fairly and justly."

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