Lawyers, Wealth, and Judges

California Watch has a piece on the chief justice of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Seems he wants poor judges.  I have a problem with that.  Judges come from the lawyer pool, and there are four types of lawyers, listed below by probability of being wealthy:

  1. Honest and competent
  2. Dishonest and competent
  3. Dishonest and incompetent
  4. Honest and incompetent

We hope that judges come from the pool of type 1 attorneys, in which case they will not be poor.  I’d prefer not to have type 2, but they may be hard to distinguish from type 1.  In any event, they are better that types 3 and 4.  Type 3, while more likely to be wealthy than type 4, should be easy to distinguish from type 1.  Type 4s have my sympathy, but we don’t want them to be judges.  Seems to me that we don’t want any poor judges.

Dan read this and wondered about my ranking, thinking that maybe a type 2 is more likely to be wealthy than a type 1.  In the short run, and in some select cases, that is true.  My ranking is based on repeated games and perhaps a naive concept of the universe.

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