Lawyers Journal

Cass, Cordy debate 'rule of law' at AC 03

Another highlight of Annual Conference 2003 came Friday, Jan. 24 when Ronald A. Cass, dean of the Boston University School of Law, discussed his book, "The Rule of Law in America," with Associate Justice Robert J. Cordy of the Supreme Judicial Court.


Robert J. Cordy
Photo by Roger Farrington
Associate Justice Robert J. Cordy (right) of the Supreme Judicial Court holds up "The Rule of Law in America," a book by Ronald A. Cass, dean of the Boston University School of Law, while engaging in a debate with Cass (left).
Referring to various opinions about the justice system, Cass said judges may appear to "make things up as they go along" but they don't have as much discretion as the public assumes.

"Most lawsuits are about sorting out facts and are not terribly controversial," he said, citing 90 million lawsuits filed annually of which four-tenths of 1 percent are appealed and one-tenth of 1 percent go to the courts on last resort.

Cordy commended Cass' book and said the system of justice is fundamental. "It's about time we stopped wringing our hands over what judges do, it doesn't keep the ball moving forward," he said. Cordy said compliance with the law is the only way to succeed in the world and to maintain a healthy economy even though the system needs to be more accessible, efficient and cost-effective.

"So many countries are trying to model their system on ours," he said. "We need to try to learn from what we know."

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