Judges must be wise. Sound judicial reasoning requires moral virtue. These sentiments about judging have been lost. They apparently belong to a bygone era. While many advocate self-restraint or prudence as judicial virtues, moral virtue has been conspicuously absent from the list. Except for avoiding obvious vices such as bribery, favoritism, prejudice, sloth, and arbitrariness, conventional wisdom maintains that being a good judge does not require being a good person. Even theorists sympathetic to a relationship between law and morality balk at making moral virtue a prerequisite of judicial decision making. Rather, many contend that judicial decision making is a matter of technical reasoning. On this view, judicial reasoning involves reasoning correctly either about the applicable legal rules or principles or about how the decision achieves an aim or end like economic efficiency. It is an art or a craft rather than a moral enterprise. Still others argue that reason, even with the help of moral virtue, cannot explain judicial decision making but that we must deconstruct judges' reasoning to determine what hidden presuppositions are guiding it such as presuppositions linked to race, gender, or class. On this account, judicial decision making is a matter of politics, not morality.
12 Yale J.L. & Human. 249 (2000).