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.

January 2015

Johnnie B. Rawlinson"A Mentor to All"

By Johnnie B. Rawlinson,
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

"In 1964, Judge Addeliar D. (“Dell”) Guy III became the first African-American to practice law in the state of Nevada. Eleven years later, he was appointed as the first African-American judge on the state court bench in Nevada. By default, Judge Guy assumed the role of example and mentor to the handful of African-American attorneys who began to filter into the ranks of the Nevada State Bar. But Judge Guy didn't stop there. He eagerly embraced the mantle of mentor to all whose paths he crossed, including criminal defendants who stood before him for sentencing... "

Download the article (PDF)

Browse past issues